Whenever we hear about “Farmer’s Walk Workout”, the first thought that comes to our mind is a farmer who is carrying hay with both of his hands and walking to the nearest market to sell his hay. If you have seen The World’s Strongest Man (a strongman competition), they use the same method to compete for the title by carrying an absurd weight of 160kg in each arm.
These movements are generally performed by hardcore strength athletes who possess incredible strength, stamina, and a behemoth physique. But now, the Farmer’s Walk workout has sneaked its way into the health and wellness industry and has become one of the best full-body workouts you could try.
In this article, we will review the farmer’s walk exercise, its benefits, how to perform it, and several other variations. So, let us begin!
What is a farmer’s walk or Farmer’s Walk Workout?
The farmer’s walk, also referred to as farmer’s carry, is a strength-building exercise in which you hold a heavy load in each hand while walking for a selected distance. This exercise hits most of the major muscle groups while providing an excellent cardiovascular stimulus.
This was popularized by strongmen/women, and is now a popularly used exercise by athletes, and people all around the world. It is a great functional exercise that applies to direct activities in life.
How to perform a farmer’s walk?
This exercise is easy to perform and appropriate for most people. Always start with lighter weights, then slowly advance to a more challenging load.
You’ll need dumbbells of various weights, open space to walk freely in a straight line.
- Start by selecting appropriately weighted dumbbells and placing them on the ground on either side of your body.
- Reach down, bending at the hips and knees, and grab the dumbbells in each hand.
- Deadlift them up by extending your hips and knees, keeping a neutral spine the whole time.
- Hold the dumbbells at your side with a stiff grip. Stand straight, keeping your shoulders, back, and core tight.
- Initiate the movement by walking forward at a good pace together with your eyes focused straight before you.
- Complete the specified amount of steps, come to a stop, and place the dumbbells down while keeping a decent core and neutral spine.
- Rest for a minute or two and repeat until you reach your required amount of sets.
Don’t try to complete the steps too hastily as chances of injury may increase. Also, if you can’t find dumbbells, then try using water bottles. Smart, right?
Benefits of Farmer’s walk
1. Improves posture
Many of us have desk jobs for more than 8 hours a day. So, maintaining a good posture is out of the question. The farmer’s walk benefits your posture by forcing you to think about your form. This creates stability and removes imbalances in the body (because of two weights used at the same time), thus, leads to a better posture by default.
2. Improves grip
If you are into strength training then, a weak grip becomes a nightmare for you. It helps to strengthen your grip by working your hands, wrists, forearms, shoulders, and back in unison. With regular practice, your strength will rapidly increase because of the pressure placed on your wrists, hands, and forearms (with proper posture, obviously).
3. Reduce chances of injury
If you start with lightweight dumbbells, the chances of injury are slim if you keep proper form and focus on what you are doing. We are born with the ability to carry things from one place to another. So, this would be a walk in the park for anyone who tries it. Remember, every exercise comes with its risks, but a farmer’s walk is less likely to injure you.
4. Encourage fat loss
Ok, everyone has to like this point. In the lockdown, most of us have gained weight. As this exercise works all the major body areas, it subsequently melts extra fat. It requires constant focus and effort, and is an intense burst of activity for the entire body, and works wonders for burning fat and speeding up the metabolism.
Athleticism includes general fitness levels, agility, strength, and endurance. If you are a sportsperson or looking to improve your overall physique, then this exercise is for you. Physical endurance isn’t the only kind of endurance that the farmer’s walk benefits.
Your mental endurance will improve in terms of pushing through high-intensity and strenuous situations. Farmer’s walk has shown an increase in aerobic capacity, reducing the risk of various cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke.
6. Toning of muscles
The farmer’s work is a full-body exercise that builds muscle strength and endurance. The pressure provided on the muscles ensures an increase in athleticism.
Farmer’s walk variations
We have listed a few variations you could try after you have mastered the above technique:
- Kettlebell Carry: This is similar to the dumbbell carry. You carry a kettlebell instead of a dumbbell. The larger handle diameter of the kettlebell makes this movement a bit harder.
- Farmer’s Walk Handles: Farmer’s walk handles are a bit larger than dumbbells and are plate-loaded. More weights can be added and are most often used by competitive strongmen/women.
- Rickshaw Carry: The term “Rickshaw” is quite famous in South Asian countries. The rickshaw features a metal frame that contacts the bottom. This variation provides a bit more stability during the initial lifting portion of the movement. Nevertheless, the walking portion is a bit unstable.
- Suitcase Carry: In this variation, one weight is picked up from the floor and carried for a distance. We all do this regularly, so this is not something new to us.
The farmer’s walk has shown an improvement in cardiovascular health, endurance, and increased muscle strength and power. If done correctly, this exercise is the most beneficial. The risk of getting injured is low (start with the lightweights, then move on to the heavy stuff) and if you have a preexisting injury, contact your physician before adding this to your training list.
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