A farmer’s stroll, likewise known as a farmer’s carry, appears more like a square dance step or a country song title than like a exercise, but do not let the name trick you. This movement demands overall body strength and will increase your heart rate – yes, it’s like sneaky cardio – with just one repetition (just ensure you have mastered the proper form for the farmer’s stroll). “The farmer’s carry seems so unassuming and yet delivers a powerful blow,” says Heidi Jones, TRX-certified Fortë trainer and founder of Sweat to Change TV.
You will not regret learning the movement: “It’s one of the simplest and finest exercises you can do in the gymnasium because it’s something we do in real life constantly,” says Lisa Niren, ACE-certified head instructor at FITURE. But before you add it to your regular routine, get the information regarding the correct farmer’s walk form, demonstrated above by NYC-based trainer Rachel Mariotti.
Farmer’s Walk Advantages and Variations
The greatest advantage of the farmer’s walk? It’s a highly functional movement. “You can never underestimate the value of grip strength and the ability to hoist and carry heavy objects over distances,” says Jones. “This might be the most ‘functional’ of all exercises and it doesn’t receive nearly enough attention,” she adds.
“It’s a great movement for anyone who desires improved posture, a stronger posterior chain (also known as the back of your body), solid grip, and enhanced conditioning,” says Niren. “However, if performed incorrectly, it can result in back and shoulder injuries and reinforce poor movement patterns and posture,” she notes. Pay attention to the farmer’s walk form suggestions below and, when unsure, start with lighter weights so you can master the movement before adding more weight. (FYI, here’s how often you should be engaging in heavy weight lifting workouts.)
You can perform the farmer’s walk with virtually any equipment – from dumbbells or kettlebells to farmer’s bars, sandbags, or even gallon jugs of water. (Hey, you can even consider carrying your grocery bags home as a pseudo-set of farmer’s walks.) For an extra challenge, try holding a weight on just one side: “This will cause you to engage and brace the core more extensively, delivering a knock-out blow to your abs,” says Jones.
(And possessing a robust core is crucial for numerous rationale.)
How to Perform a Farmer’s Walk
A. Position yourself with your feet hips-width apart between two kettlebells. Bend at the hips and knees with a flat back to lower yourself and grab hold of the handles of the kettlebells.
B. Tighten your core and straighten your hips and knees to stand up, keeping your arms extended and the weights at your sides. Draw your shoulder blades down and back and stand upright to begin.
C. Walk forward, taking small steps and minimizing the movement of the weights.
Continue for 45 to 60 seconds. Aim for 3 sets.
Tips for Proper Form in the Farmer’s Walk
- Pull your shoulder blades down and back in order to maintain stability and keep your shoulders in a “packed” position.
- Securely grip the weights to enhance the activation of your core and latissimus dorsi (muscles in your back).
- Ensure that you hold the weights slightly away from your body and slightly rotate your shoulders outward to prevent them from hitting your sides.
- Draw your ribcage down to avoid any excessive arching of your back. Engage your core muscles.
Thanks for your input!