I remember being a kid and always wanting to help my mom bring in the groceries. I was always that kid who wanted to do more than they really could or should be doing. Asking for more bags. Something about carrying as many bags in each arm up the stair without having to come back for multiple trips was oddly satisfying for me. Little did I know, I was training myself for one of the best movements any athlete can do, the farmers walk or farmers carry.
You see it often nowadays. Memes and pictures of people saying “no second trips” with a guy carrying 6-7 bags per hand. And if you are into fitness, in general, you know that groceries trips tend to mean dozens of bags of groceries and there is nothing more humiliating than having to go back to the car for a second trip. It has to be done in one trip and preferably by one person. All jokes aside the farmers walk are one of the best conditioning movements that any athlete can do to improve overall performance and we will dig into what the farmers walk is, how to do it, and how to include it into your programming.
What Is The Farmers Walk
The farmers walk or farmers carry is traditionally seen in world strongest man competitions, You know that massive dudes lifting outrageous weights. Doing crazy movements that no one ever thought of. The amazing thing about that is how functional they are. Farmers walk is one of the most functional. I laid out a real-world scenario with the groceries. However, the farmers walk is simple. It is the act of taking a weight in each hand, standing up with it and moving over a certain distance or for a certain time. It is that simple.
Why Do The Farmers Carry
The farmers walk is a full body movement. The entire posterior chain (hams, glutes, lower back, upper back, and even neck) have to be strong in order to get the most out of the movement. Core activation is extremely important because you are moving a heavy load over distance, that creates a possibility for balance issues, so your entire trunk must remain stable. Here is a list of benefits from the farmers walk or farmers carry
- Core activation
- Posterior chain development
- Motor neuron development
- Grip strength
- Mental toughness
How To Do The Farmers Walk
If you are using traditional farmers walk handles then this is a good way to set up for the movement.
- Feet inside shoulders
- Use the meaty part of your hand to grip
- Grip slightly behind center
- Keep your back flat on the pickup
- Use quick step to maintain balance
- Breath often, don’t hold your breath
How To Program The Farmers Walk
If you are looking to add the farmers walk or farmers carry into your program then here is a simple way to do so. Depending on what your sport is will dictate how you add these into your programming. If you are a strongman already then it should be part of your training anyways. But here is a quick guide
- If you are training for football add it in once a week during the season with moderate weight. In the offseason do it 2-3 tiems a week during conditioning
- For general physical preparedness, you can do these after or before squat/deadlift days. It can also be done daily if the weight selection is nailed down.
- If you are new to doing the farmers walk it is always best to start or slow. Use less weight and go for further distances. Once you have gained some experience you can add weight and play with the distance.
- There is no strict training protocol to this movement, have fun. Test yourself. Get stronger.
The farmers carry or farmers walk is one of my favorite movements period. Strongman introduced it to me outside of the grocery store and it has always been a major part of my training. This movement can be done in a variety of ways from traditional handles, to dumbbells. The most important thing is that you add them in. They will increase your fitness, strength, mental toughness, and your ability to help mom with the groceries.