Farmers walk, one of the best functional exercises which make your whole body work and helps in improving overall fitness and athletic qualities.
Before we get into more technicalities about farmers walk, it’s important to understand what is a functional fitness exercise? Functional training helps your muscles to work together and prepare them for the tasks that we do in our daily life. So functional training improves your body’s capability to perform your daily tasks at home, work or any sports. For example, a squat is a functional exercise that enhances the body’s capability to rise up and down for sitting or any other activity.
Farmers walk is the easiest functional exercise with some exceptional results. Farmers walk comprises of most natural movement of the body, which is to carry anything by your both hands and walk up to the destination.
Farmers walk is a variation of loaded carries and few people recognizes farmers walk as a ‘loaded carries’ too. Loaded carries can be defined as a person moving with any additional weight on himself.
Introduction to farmers walk
Our ancestors have been doing farmers walk since ages, almost every daily works required to lift things with their bare hands and cover the distance. It’s a purely functional exercise because of its requirement for our daily needs. Our ancestors have been doing works like carrying water from well, carrying food items from the market, moving tools around the farms, and many other works.
But technology ruined us, now we are not accustomed to lifting anything with our bare hands and we use technology to make our life easier.
Dan John (strength and weightlifting coach) accidentally discovered the benefits of farmers walk, since then he is been educating the benefits of this exceptional exercise. He uses farmers walk and its variations to improve the performance of professional athletes.
Farmers walk act as a game changer for athletes, these load carries exercises establish serious challenge to core muscle group which have always been under trained by most of the athletes, athletes with stronger core were able to perform better and their numbers were grown up.
Guide: How to train
Farmers walk is an extremely simple functional exercise that can be done anywhere, and due to its natural movement, many people never experienced correct form difficulty. But still, since you are going to put extra stress on your body, bones, joints and spine. There are few pointers that need to be followed in order to perform this exercise without any risk.
Shoulders- it doesn’t matter which variations of farmers walk you are about to perform, always remember to keep your shoulders tight, this will help you with better joint stability.
Back- this is one of the most obvious but important point, each of us knows that we need to keep poor back straight but once you put 100 pounds of stress on it, it could be quite difficult for many people to maintain the right back posture.
Don’t Lean back- in order to push the body for desired distance, many people tend to lean back. Leaning back can put extraordinary pressure on your spine, which could ultimately result in injury.
Grip- hold the weight with a tight grip, this won’t just help you to cover longer distance buy will improve your gripping capacity and core strength. Holding it tight will gain better effects on the core muscle.
Step lightly- don’t think of taking big steps in order to cover the longer distance. Concentrate on short but fast steps. Longer steps can enhance the chances of experiencing jerk.
Chin down- try keeping chin closer to your chest and avoid craning it.
Progression- like any other exercise you should learn to use the theory of progression while farmer walks too. Don’t try to lift too heavy since the beginning for faster gains, learn to respect the exercise in order to experience progressive gains.
Benefits of farmers walk
Since it’s a functional exercise which affects almost every body part, benefits of farmers walk is difficult to cover in a short paragraph. Farmers walk if beneficial for grip strength, shoulders, delts, core, raw strength, more muscle gain and many more benefits. Please click the link below for the detailed article on benefits of farmers walk.
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Variations in farmers walk
1# Side loaded
This is a conventional farmers walk, you grab equal weighted dumbbells or kettlebell with both hands and walk for particular distance.
This conventional farmers walk allows you to lift with your maximum capacity due to its easiest motion. This side loaded farmers walk results in the development of insane total-body strength.
2# Overhead walk
Hold two dumbbells or kettlebell or sandbag over the top of your head and walk. It’s helpful in developing core strength and shoulders stability.
Start with 20 kg of total weight and increase the weight gradually, we insist you to concentrate more on distance and time instead of the weight you carry.
3# Bear hug
We all have seen the strongman competition where they grab a rock and cover a certain distance. Bear hug is performed though grabbing a weight between your both hands like you are hugging it.
You don’t need to have any equipment for this insane workout, grab any heavy object like a sand bag, or a piece of rock or even your girlfriend.
4# Single hand walk
Want to train your abs and oblique? Then this exercise could be the perfect solution for you. Grab a weight with a single hand and walk for a distance then lift the weight with another hand and come back to starting position.
This side hand walk will seriously challenge your obliques and will make your love handles disappear.
Frequency and progression
Farmers walk can we done of 3-4 times a week, but it’s important to make a change in the intensity level. You can pick a particular day for the heavy lift or medium lift or light lift. For example
- – Light day = long distance (100 meters)
- – Medium day = med distance (40-50 meters)
- – Heavy day = short distance (10-20 meters)
Like any other exercise, this farmers walk need to be respected as well. You don’t just need to concentrate on the weight you lift but you need to pay attention to distance and time as well. The more distance you cover while lifting, the more challenging this exercise will be and the better will be your performance.
Additionally, to the farmers walk, pick other variations as well to isolate other muscle groups as well and to develop the stronger core.
Watch Videos attached below for better guidance and idea.