The farmer’s walk is one of the best core strengthening exercises, and is usually one of the many challenges in the strongman competition. Like the deadlift it works several muscles at once but is much more effective for the legs since you are moving.
How to do it properly
First you must prepare some weights. Dumbbells/barbells, buckets filled with sand or water or bags with heavy stuff in them are all good. The important thing is to have the same weight on both sides to keep balance.
Put the weights on your sides and grab them with a tight grip. Then just lift them up and walk to the targeted spot. The pace should be normal: not too quick but not too slow either. If you find it easy to do the farmer’s walk with the current weights then I recommend increasing the weight and/or distance rather than increasing your speed.
That’s pretty much it. It’s a very simple exercise to perform and the benefits are numerous.
Farmer’s Walk Benefits
Grip Strength – Many people think of hand grippers and pull ups when it comes to wrist strengthening exercises but the farmer’s walk is very good for your grip as well. Your grip needs to be strong enough to hold the weight and as you increase that weight your grip will become stronger and stronger as long as you don’t use straps to lift.
Shoulders – The weights pull on your arms and your arms pull on your shoulders, therefore the shoulders are strengthened.
Trapezius – If your traps are weak you can feel quite uncomfortable when deadlifting or doing the farmer’s walk. This is because both exercises put a lot of pressure on the shoulder blades which are held together by the trapezius.
Lower back – Even though the weight is held on the sides instead of in front of you as with the deadlift, the lower back is still affected. It is the lower back which stabilizes the upper body and prevents it from moving forward or backward under that heavy weight.
Legs – The hamstrings, quadriceps and some other leg muscles are strengthened as well. The legs are the foundation of the body so each time you lift something you are technically working them out. However walking with something heavy is far better and that’s why the farmer’s walk is one of the best leg strengthening exercises along with the squat. It should also help you to run faster.
Abdominals – The abdominal muscles are part of your core, and the farmer’s walk targets all of your core. It does not work your abs more than the sit up but it certainly does work them out.
The list above is precisely why it’s a great exercise. It targets several muscles and is relatively easy to perform. No wonder it’s one of the strongman’s favorite workouts.