Breaking Down Strongman Exercises: The Farmer’s Walk

Stride with power:

A Strongman staple, the farmer’s walk can transform your workouts, providing benefits that extend into functional movement patterns and your day-to-day habits. Let’s take a look at the benefits of this exercise, how to perform the farmer’s walk, and some quick tips for beginners.

Benefits of the Farmer’s Walk

Increased Grip Strength: If you’ve been struggling to increase your grip strength, the farmer’s walk will change all of that. While it sounds easy, holding a heavy dumbbell or barbell and walking forward for a recommended length is going to challenge your grip, forearm, and upper arm. Keep at it for a few weeks and you should see a noticeable difference in your grip strength.

More Muscle Mass: You build muscle by maximizing the time under tension. The farmer’s walk is an exercise where your muscles are under constant tension. This will help to trigger muscle mass growth, especially in the arms, traps, and core.

Improved Core Strength: Speaking of the core, get ready for one hell of a core workout. In the farmer’s carry exercise, all of the weight is held on one side of the body. This unequal distribution of weight is going to kick your core strength into high gear, especially in the obliques and hip flexors. Just don’t forget to do the exercise on both sides of your body.

Better Posture: The farmer’s walk can improve your posture. In order to perform the exercise correctly, you must adopt a proper posture with your chest up, core tight, and shoulders back. Adding this exercise to your weekly routine can help to cement your postural habits. What’s more, between the increased core strength and better posture, your risk of injury will decrease.

Great for Aesthetics: Finally, the farmer’s walk can help you achieve your physique goals. It is a great way to add definition to your arms and traps while sculpting your obliques.

How to Perform the Farmer’s Walk

Ready to perform the farmer’s carry? Below, you’ll find a complete start-to-finish breakdown of the exercise. We recommend reading this a few times then watching a video demonstration. This will help you understand the following instructions.

Once you feel confident to give it a try, begin with a light dumbbell or simple barbell without additional weight plates.

Step 1: Warm up your body with 10 to 15 minutes of cardiovascular work. A few options include Jacob’s Ladder, stair climber, and jogging. However, if you’re about to perform a farmer’s walk, we’re big fans of the rower because it activates the same muscle groups. Follow up with a dynamic stretching session and you’re good to go.

Step 2: As far as equipment, there are two options for performing the farmer’s carry: with a dumbbell or with a special barbell that has a handle. The latter is a bit harder to come by unless you’re training in a Strongman gym. The form and execution of the exercise applies to both types of equipment, but we’ll reference dumbbells throughout.

Step 3: Place a dumbbell on the ground. Stand next to the dumbbell so that your right foot is parallel with the dumbbell.

Step 4: Bend your knees and kick your hips back. Keep your chest up. Reach down with your right hand and secure a tight grip on the dumbbell. 

Step 5: Engage your core and keep your back straight as you stand up with the dumbbell in hand.

Step 6: Maintaining a tight core and upright posture, walk the recommended number of feet (or yards) or until your grip fails.

Step 7: Once you’ve reached your distance goal, stop, bend your knees, kick your hips back, and squat towards the ground. Place the dumbbell down.

Step 8: Turn around so that your left side is next to the dumbbell and repeat the process. Always perform the exercise on both sides of your body.

Tips and Tricks for Beginners 

If you’re just starting out with Strongman exercises like the farmer’s carry, consider the following tips to shorten that learning curve:

Go Light to Go Big: It’s tempting to jump into carrying massive dumbbells or loading up the barbell with a few 45-pound plates on each end. Fight this urge and start slow. Trying to go big too soon can increase your risk of getting hurt, ensuring you’ll be out of commission for weeks or months.

Protect Your Wrists: If you have prior wrist injuries or you notice that the farmer’s walk makes them a bit more sore than usual, consider using wrist wraps. They offer support for performance and they keep your wrists safe.

Build an Insane Grip: Do you really want to take your grip strength to the next level? Wrap an alpha grip around the handle of the dumbbell or barbell, then perform the farmer’s carry. You’ll notice an immediate difference in difficulty so be sure to go light with your weight selection.

Strongman Exercises: Do You Use the Farmer’s Walk?

Do you already use the farmer’s walk in your Strongman workouts? Have a picture of video of you setting a new personal best for a farmer’s walk? We want to see it! Tag us on our Instagram so we can share!