Form Friday: The Suitcase Carry


by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Exercise: Suitcase Carry

Muscle Groups: Forearms, Obliques

Importance: While this exercise exudes simplicity, it targets muscles that often get overlooked. It is a great movement for grip strength and overall stability, functional strength, and is surprisingly challenging.

Proper Form:

  • Start with a heavy dumbbell on the floor next to you, feet shoulder width distance apart (the dumbbell should be heavy enough that it is a challenge to hold onto)
  • Flex your knees and hips to descend to pick up the dumbbell. Maintain a neutral spine.
  • Grab the dumbbell and re-extend your knees and hips to deadlift the weight up
  • Holding the weight at your side, walk forward to a selected distance while maintaining an upright posture
  • Once you have reached your desired distance, slowly lower the dumbbell to the floor in the same fashion that you picked it up (keep your core braced)
  • Repeat on the opposite side


  • Keep your core braced throughout the entire movement from picking the dumbbell up to setting it down
  • Do not sacrifice your posture at all during the movement, remain upright!
  • Make sure you keep your breathing steady, as it is easy to hold your breath when bracing

Sample Workout (5 rounds):

  • Suitcase Carry (R)-Down and Back
  • Suitcase Carry (L)- Down and Back
  • 15 Squats
  • 10 Burpees
  • 5 Push-ups