Farmer’s Walks (How To, Muscles Worked & More)


One of my favorite exercises to work on core strength, grip, and posture, the farmer’s walk is a must for almost all lifters. Farmer’s walks are a unique option that challenges us to stay in control and keep our muscles rigid as we walk. This is a great option to use as a finisher at the end of a session as well.

In this article I will go over how to do the farmer’s walk, coaching points, muscles worked, and a fun finisher that burns so good!


How To Do Farmer’s Walks


Equipment Needed

Farmers Walk Bars
You definitely do not need specialty bars to do Farmer’s Walks, but if you’re ever in a Strongman Gym I highly recommend giving them a try!
  • 1 kettlebell or dumbbell if doing single arm carries
  • 2 kettlebells or dumbbells if doing both arms
  • A trap bar is also an awesome implement for farmer’s walks

FYI: There are also very-specific pieces of equipment (shown above) designed almost solely for Farmer’s Walks. If you ever find yourself in a Strongman Gym, you may run into some of these. They can be a blast to train with.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  • For the sake of these instructions, I am going to assume you are carrying 2 kettlebells or dumbbells. The single arm and trap bar options are essentially the same movement with slightly different benefits. I will talk more about these options in the coaching points
  • With the kettlebells at your side, hinge at the waist and bend at the knee until you can pick them up. Remember to always lift with a nice flat back, neutral spine, and a tight core.
  • Hold the kettlebells slightly away from your sides.
  • Keep the core tight, shoulder blades back, and posture up tall.
  • Walk with extreme control. Generally, I prescribe walking 20 yards out and 20 yards back for a set but longer distances are fine as long as the form remains intact.
  • Focus on crushing the handles with your grip. Avoid any trunk deviation side to side or front to back. Try to walk as controlled as you possibly can.

Coaching Points

Choosing an appropriate weight is critical here. The focus is to keep the core tight and perfect posture. So if you go too heavy and your form deteriorates, you won’t get the full benefit of the exercise and may hurt yourself.

You also don’t want to go so heavy that you can’t hold the dumbbells slightly away from your sides. The reason this is important, is you don’t want your legs constantly bumping into the weight as you walk.

The single-arm variation is an awesome challenge. Because the weight will be pulling your center of mass laterally, you will have to focus on resisting this lateral trunk flexion. I typically would program 20-yard walks with one arm and switch arms to return 20 yards.

The Trap Bar Deadlift Bar (also known as a hex bar) is a great implement to use for farmer’s walks. Because you stand inside the implement and the handles are to the side, you don’t have to worry about your legs bumping into the weight.

Also because the entire implement is connected, there is less variability in the movement that you would see with dumbbells. Therefore, generally, you can go heavier. This is a great option for strength sports athletes.


Muscles Worked


Whole body movement with a focus on:

  1. Forearms
  2. Traps and upper back
  3. Abdominal core muscles (Rectus abdominis, Serratus anteior, Obliques)

Farmer’s Carry Circuit


This is a carrying circuit utilizing the single arm variation.

Grab a kettlebell or dumbbell that you are able to carry with perfect posture. This also needs to be a weight that you can comfortably press overhead and walk with as well.

Farmers carry: at your side

Front rack carry: shoulder height

Overhead: locked out overhead, sometimes called the waiter’s carry

Circuit: 

Right arm farmer’s carry x 20 yards

Left arm farmer’s carry x 20 yards

Right arm front rack carry x 20 yards

Left arm front rack carry x 20 yards

Right arm overhead carry x 20 yards

Left arm overhead carry x 20 yards

Rest 1-2 minutes. Repeat for 2-4 sets.


More Links and Info


Looking for some more great exercises to take your exercise regiment to the next level? Check out our core exercise library and crush your goals!

Share This

ChristianG

Christian Gangitano has 6 years of experience coaching collegiate sports performance. He coached field and court sport athletes at Longwood University, University of Richmond, and Elon University.

Recent Posts