October 16, 2022 9 min read
If it is full-body development you seek, The Farmer’s Walk is the exercise for you. Its range of motion is one of the most unique of all exercises. It pretty much activates every muscle in your body, yet, it does not involve a complicated routine.
All you have to do is pick up two weights by your sides and carry them as you walk a distance. Whether it is a trap bar, barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, or dedicated Farmer’s Walk handles, the choice of how much and what type of weight to carry is yours.
If you have followed the sport where monstrously sized athletes compete in races while they carry massive loads on each arm to earn the title of the Ultimate Strongman, the toughest of them all, you’ll obviously be familiar with this type of exercise.
The Farmer’s Walk is typically one of the items on the program of Strongman Competitions.
In recent years, the health and fitness industry has made great strides. Exercises traditionally limited to hardcore strength builders have evolved and adapted their way into the fitness and workout routines of typical gym-goers seeking fitness and health instead of shredded muscles.
The Farmer’s Walk has become an excellent all-around exercise for pros and beginners.
It hits almost every muscle including hamstrings, quads, shoulders, and forearms.
It has a range of health benefits, including improved posture and ramped-up core strength that benefits lower- and upper-body power.
The weight you carry in the Farmer’s Walk depends on multiple factors, including your experience, body weight, and fitness level. If you’re new to fitness workouts, start with lighter weights, 5 to 10-pound kettlebells, or dumbbells. More advanced sportsmen can try 20 to 50-pound weights.
If bells are no longer challenging, exchange them for a loaded bar or Farmer’s Walk handles for the training.
Short bars or trap bars are generally chosen for a convenient performance.To avoid injuries, beginner athletes are advised to use free weights and add load gradually as they progress. Prolonging the distance can ramp up the Farmer’s Walk until they are ready for heavier loads.
As mentioned, the Farmer’s Walk is not complicated. However, improper posture increases injury risks.
The Farmer’s Walk is a whole-body strength and endurance-building exercise. However, the range of movements targets some muscle groups more than others.
The quadriceps is a muscle group comprising the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius.
It is evident that the quadriceps work double-time during the Farmer’s Carry to help stabilize the hips while also extending the knee during the carrying stage.
The adductors are located in the inner thigh where they help serve as important pelvis stabilizers.
Although your hips do no dynamic flexing and extending during the Farmer’s Walk, the hamstrings still work hard every step of the way. The hamstrings are attached to the pelvis and run posteriorly down the leg.
The gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, or glutes, are mainly responsible for the extension of the hip joint. They form the rounding of your butt but play more significant roles when you do the Farmer’s Walk
The Farmer’s Carry helps strengthen the gluteus medius — a muscle that helps stabilize the torso and pelvis alongside the gluteus maximus.
The calf muscles — most notably the gastrocnemius and soleus facilitate plantarflex of the foot and ankle. That is the movement of pointing the toes down.
The trapezius, mostly known as traps, is large muscles with three divisions, spanning most of your mid- and upper back, all hard at work during the Farmer’s Carry.
The latissimus dorsi — commonly known as the lats — is the largest of the back muscles.
The farmer’s carry fits the criteria of being a more advanced core-based functional exercise — it requires dynamic stabilization, along with acceleration and deceleration.
The core comprises most notably abdominal muscles — Quadratus lumborum and erector spinae.
You may not be aware of the lesser-known function of the biceps and triceps in shoulder stability. Both their long heads attach to the scapula where they aid in humeral displacement.
The biceps are multifunctional in the Farmer’s Walk.
Their contributions include grip strength and arm flexion, smooth movement, and stabilization of the elbow joint.
The triceps provide arm extension at the elbow joint.
They are particularly valuable in the farmer’s walk because they work in collaboration with the biceps in stabilizing the arm, while also keeping the arm extended.
The arms and shoulders work very hard in the Farmer’s Walk, but so do the hand and forearm muscles.’
The intricate muscles of the hands and forearms play a vital role in grip strength during the Farmer’s Carry.
They allow the tight grasp you need to securely hold the dumbbells throughout the walk.
Additionally, when you lift and hold significant loads, the shoulder joints take a large amount of strain.
Muscles like the deltoids in the shoulder help maintain stability around the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulders.
As mentioned, the Farmer’s Walk is a whole-body exercise that stimulates just about all muscle groups. It strengthens the biceps, triceps, forearms, shoulders, upper back, trapezius, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, lower back, obliques, transverse abdominis, and rectus abdominis.
Most beginners carry dumbbells for the Farmer’s Walk, and once they’ve mastered those, there are several other options, some more challenging than others.
Below are some available options for your next Farmer’s Walk, including those performed by bodybuilders
The kettlebell carry is similar to the dumbbell carry.
The kettlebell’s handle diameter is slightly larger than dumbbells, making them a bit harder to manage during the Farmer’s Carry than the dumbbell variation.
If you’re ready for more of a challenge, the kettlebell option is an excellent one.
A significantly more challenging option, typically reserved for experienced strongmen with more dynamic strength.
This version is the one traditionally used in Strongman and Strongwoman competitions.
Farmer’s Walk handles are plate loaded and significantly larger than dumbbells, allowing for significantly heavier weights to be added.
This variation requires more technique than carrying the dumbbell in the Farmer’s Walk. This is because the handles tend to tilt back and forth along with the motion of the walk, requiring a lot more dynamic strength.
The trap bar is trapezoid-shaped, and a specialty barbell, commonly used for performing deadlifts.
However, it can be loaded with weight to be used for the farmer’s walk as well.
The center of gravity of the trap bar is more balanced than that of the farmer’s handles. Therefore, balance shifting is not as big a problem as when walking with the farm handles.
The rickshaw, in turn, is slightly easier to handle than the trap bar. It is a unique piece of equipment typically used by strongmen and strongwomen for the purpose of training.
Unlike the trap bar’s weight plates touching the ground, the rickshaw’s metal frame makes contact with the ground.
That feature provides more stability than the trap bar, particularly during the initial lifting portion of the Farmer’s Walk. However, it is less stable than the trap bar during the walking phase.
The suitcase carry is one of the most challenging Farmer’s Walks because it is a one-handed version.
Only one weight is picked up from the floor and carried for the determined distance.
With all the weight on one side, significantly more core stabilization is necessary to keep the proper straight-up form.
Here are a few tips that might help you master the Farmer’s Walk without injuries.
There are very few exercises that will give you a better entire body workout than the Farmer’s Walk. In fact, it is one of the best full-body exercises you can do for overall strength, balance, stability, and overall development.
Along with building muscle mass and power, additional benefits of the Farmer’s Walk exercise include improved cardiovascular health and endurance.
The Farmer’s Walk works for all. It’s not limited to strength training; it can be an excellent addition to any cardio routine.
However, your success in reaching your goal will be delayed if you don’t combine your exercise regime with proper nutrition. It has been shown that following a high-protein diet can really increase your metabolism and give you more energy to put into your workout routine.
The farmer’s Walk is a high-intensity exercise. If you have a preexisting injury, consult a healthcare professional before adding the Farmer’s Walk to your training program.