Dumbbell overhead carry exercise
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Dumbbell overhead carry

Exercise details

  • Target muscles: None; see synergists and important stabilizers
  • Synergists: Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Adductor Magnus, Soleus, Gastrocnemius
  • Important stabilizers: Anterior Deltoid, Lateral Deltoid, Triceps Brachii, Upper Pectoralis Major, Erector Spinae, Rectus Abdominis, Obliques
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Stand tall, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Press up the dumbbells so that they are above the level of your head. Your elbows should be straight and directly above your shoulders.


  1. Making sure that your elbows are not locked out, breathe normally as you walk in a straight line for the prescribed distance.
  2. At the end of the walk, lower the dumbbells down to the ground first before turning and walking back to the starting mark.
  3. Repeat until you have completed the total prescribed distance.

Comments and tips

  • The dumbbell overhead carry is a whole-body exercise that develops the core while increasing overall strength and functional fitness. Benefits in core, shoulder and back stability that result from this exercise can carry over into daily life activities, like carrying groceries or bringing objects down from a high shelf.
  • Do not fully lock out your elbows as this will stress the joint and may potentially be injurious.
  • For your safety, especially if you are lifting heavy, make sure that you put the dumbbells down before turning around to walk back to the starting position. Do not turn while walking.
  • Compared to the dumbbell farmer’s walk, the dumbbell overhead carry is more difficult. This is because carrying the dumbbells over your head moves your center of gravity higher. A higher center of gravity is less stable, making your muscles work harder.
  • See also the dumbbell suitcase carry, dumbbell farmer’s walk and trap bar farmer’s walk.

Dumbbell overhead carry video


ExRx.net, Hip Articulations

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