Farmers walks: the underrated strength builder

During my years in the gym I have seen many people benching, squatting and performing deadlifts, compound lifts to reach a range of muscles.

One really underrated exercise I don’t see many people perform is the farmers walk.

What is it?

A farmers walk is a compound lift which has benefits to your grip, core, arms, legs and stability.

The advantage is it’s quite easy to perform – simply grip two heavy objects of the same weight at each side and walking a set distance or set amount of time.




Definition: Compound exercise
A weight training exercise that targets more than one muscle group.

The opposite  is the isolated exercise which focuses on one muscle group (such as the bicep curl).


Flexible by nature

Whether you have a gym membership or workout at home the farmers walk is an affordable and safe weight training exercise.

It doesn’t matter what weight you carry by your side as long as it is equal weight to avoid imbalances.

To get started, use kettlebells, dumbells or simply fill two buckets with water and get moving!


Farmers walk demonstrated using buckets – really easy and flexible to adapt using household items


Tip

Although there is nothing wrong with performing this over a distance (many strongmen and Guinness records are set this way), my personal preference is carrying weight over set time.

This is because:

  • It avoids the temptation to start sprinting when the weight beginning pulling on your forearm, making sure I keep to a more sensible weight.
  • It’s difficult to perform distance walks with limited space.  By keeping myself timed I can walk a small distance and adapt to my surroundings until the timer goes off.

Routine

I keep training for this relativley simple having two timed approaches – heavy and light.  I vary between these one week on heavy, one week on light, carrying out the movement once a week.

Please see my current routine:


Light
3 sets – 1 min walk, 30 sec rest

Heavy
3 sets – 30 sec walk. 1 min rest

Results

Performing these with deadlifts, bent over rows, pullups and shoulder shrugs I have seen growth in my forearm thickness.

Overall, a lot of the results are more passive, but as I am aiming to get better deadlifts, the grip gains from carrying out the farmers walks mean this a must to keep in my training arsenal.


If you do farmers walks, please let me know how you find them in the comment box below.

And if you enjoyed this post you can join my mailing list or follow me on Twitter.

Happy training!

 

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