The farmer’s walk exercise is an exceptional routine that works many major muscles, but few men, and practically no women, actually include this routine in their training.
The farmer’s walk is always an event in a strongman competition. It should be a regular event in every muscle-building enthusiast’s program because it delivers the potential to build incredible mass, overall body strength and fat-burning.
This exercise is simply that of walking while holding weights at your sides, palms facing in, arms straight.
Farmer’s Walk Benefits Are Practically Endless
1) Super Mass Builder
If you apply progressive overload to this exercise, your entire body will become stronger. And with increased strength comes increased muscle mass (hypertrophy).
Man in strongman competitions carry superhuman amounts of weight in the farmer event. These guys are HUGE.
The following body parts are engaged with this exercise: shoulders; upper, middle and low back; forearms and wrists; buttocks, legs and abs.
Imagine the mass you’d build if you trained your body to conduct this exercise with 200 pounds in each hand (which would have to be done with farmer’s walk handles).
Don’t assume you must carry 200 pounds in each hand in order to start building mass.
Hypertrophy is a process that occurs over a period of time, so as you become stronger with this workout over time via progressive overload, your muscle fibers will get bigger.
2) Improves Performance With Other Routines
Because the farmer’s walk strengthens forearms and grip, for instance, imagine what this will do for your deadlift!
This is especially applicable to a deadlift done with a hex bar, since the palms here face inward. In fact, it will improve your pull-ups and lat pull-downs, even barbell and dumbbell rows.
The farmer’s walk exercise is a variation of a weighted walking lunge, and hence, will enhance your training with walking lunges.
In a weighted walking lunge, a person often holds weights at his or her side with straight arms. Remove the lunge part of the walk, and you have the farmer variation.
3) Works The Legs
Whether you have “chicken legs” or “thunder thighs,” this type of workout is an inviting diversion from the more common routines that are done for legs.
4) King Calorie-Burner
If you do several, as-heavy-as-possible sets in a training session, twice a week, imagine the fat-burning effects, since so many major muscles get taxed.
5) Has Applications In Real Life
If you become strong with this routine, imagine the carryover with daily living. You’ll be able to walk interminably at an airport while holding heavy luggage in each hand.
Trust me on this: You will not have to set those suitcases down to rest. Imagine knowing that no grocery bag can ever be too heavy to carry straight-armed across the biggest parking lot.
6) Risk Of Injury Is Exceedingly Low
Because you are walking, i.e., your body is doing what nature designed it to do, the risk of damaging a joint or tearing a muscle is negligible.
Because the arms are straight during this activity, there is practically no chance that you will strain an elbow or shoulder tendon.
The back is straight; very unlikely you’ll throw out your low back or strain it in any way. It is non-impact; there is very little chance of a knee or hip injury.
7) It’s Super Easy; Anyone Can Do These!
Just pick up the weights and walk. That’s all there is to it.
Adding Excitement To The Farmer’s Walk Exercise
Though this routine is so simple to perform, there are different ways of performing this exercise.
If you’re a novice, just use lighter weights; start with 25 pounds. The walking duration can be anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes.
1) Holding Dumbbells
This works really well, but you may reach a point where holding dumbbells becomes a problem due to the thickness of the handle.
Dumbbells in excess of 100 pounds have very thick handles and this can tax the grip long before the rest of the body is ready to quit.
Another issue with big dumbbells is that their width forces you to keep the arms out a little, and this can get very uncomfortable.
2) Holding Weight Plates
Plates solve the width problem, but there are two limitations with plates.
Depending on the make, they are poorly structured for carrying straight-armed at your sides, and your fingers will burn out quickly.
Another make allows you to comfortably carry plates at your sides due to openings in the plate.
But the second limitation is that they only go up to 45 pounds. After that, you’re forced to use dumbbells and barbells.
3) Holding Kettlebells
These offer a different kind of handle design that trainees may find more comfortable than even the plates with the openings.
4) Holding Barbells
This is awkward because even with relatively light barbells, there is a balance factor.
The handles mentioned previously are actually part of a special kind of barbell that’s made just for this exercise.
The handles are built into the barbell and go a long way at stabilizing the implement.
5) Walking Up An Incline
Find an incline and just go. Be an animal and perform this exercise up a medium-grade grassy hill.
Why just walk when you can trot? Take the exercise into your gym’s basketball court, empty fitness class room or just around a clear path in the free weight area.
7) Walking Up Stairs
Start at the top and trot down the stairs holding the weights, then at the bottom go right back up. If the weights are heavy enough you will not be able to trot.
However, nothing wrong with adjusting the weight so that you can execute a very labored trot. You will be ravenously panting at the top of a long staircase (which some gyms have).
Don’t wait another day; make the farmer’s walk exercise a permanent fixture in your training, whether you want to build lots of mass, moderate mass, or look more like a swimsuit model.
You’ll find very helpful information about other hypertrophy routines that are part of an excellent 29-week program in No-Nonsense Muscle Building Program by trainer and fitness model Vince DelMonte.
The programs are for both beginner and intermediate/advanced, and will show you step-by-step how to safely progress to lifting very heavy weights for your leanest, best physique ever.photo credit: elitefts.net
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