DIY Farmers Walk/Carry Handles

After tweaking my back and starting a push-only program which has a lot of accessory movements, I’ve been all about unilateral movements. Constantly using the barbell for lifting can create a lot of imbalances. One of the movements we do a lot is a Farmers Carry with kettlebells or dumbbells. Options get limited if you want to go heavier though. Picking up a barbell in one hand, or even a barbell in each hand, never works well. It’s not easy to balance an empty 7 foot long bar, let alone when you have some weight on it.

img_8965Companies sell handles you can attach to a barbell, bars with integrated handles, and straps you can loop through weight plates. Most of the barbell solutions I’ve seen cost $150+ and a nice set of strap handles can be $70!

I wanted to come up with something on my own, so I made a trip to Home Depot. I found a 4-pack of 6 foot tie-down straps for $9.97. In the plumbing department they sell 2 foot long pieces of PVC pipe in various diameters. I bought a piece of 3/4 inch for $1.97 and had an employees cut it up.

That’s what I call a successful shopping trip.

Works pretty well. For less than $13 I was able to make a set of handles for myself and a set for a friend. In the video I had no problem using a couple of 55 pound competition bumper plates. I tried two 45s and a 55, but the width of the plates was too much for me to get the handle back through the loop. Two 35s and a 55 might work. If you use thin metal plates you’ll have plenty of strap length and with these rated for 466 pounds, the limitation will be how much you can lift.

8 Replies to “DIY Farmers Walk/Carry Handles”

    1. I’ve used them a few times with up to two 55# competition style plates on one handle and there is no issue with supporting the weight.

      The thickness of 2 bigger plates in proximity to your leg is a bit awkward since there is some lean after you pick it up. The plates can rub your leg a little bit as you walk. It’s much better than trying to do farmers walks with a barbell though.


    1. Mine are 6″, so I got 4 handles out of it. It’s pretty ideal, especially for the length of the straps I used. Longer handles would use up some of the slack and mean less room for plates. Shorter handles could make the straps too long and have the plates hitting the ground.


  1. Late to the party on this but have been thinking of doing something similar myself. You can do this even cheaper if you buy just the webbing straps on eBay since you don’t need the hardwear anyway. Simply make two loops (tie the webbing with a water knot, other knots don’t work properly with flat webbing) with the pvc threaded on them then attach them to the plates like you have here. For here in the UK I expect that to cost about £5 total if not less!


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