Farmer’s Walks (How To, Muscles Worked, Benefits)

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.

Farmer’s Walk Benefits

Farmer’s walks are a simple but effective exercise that can provide a number of benefits, including:

  1. Improved grip strength: Farmers walks require a strong grip to hold onto the weights, which can help improve grip strength over time.
  2. Increased full-body strength: Farmers walks involve multiple muscle groups, including the legs, back, and shoulders, which can help increase overall strength and muscle mass.
  3. Improved cardiovascular endurance: Farmers walks can be performed at a high intensity, which can help improve cardiovascular endurance and increase the body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently.
  4. Improved core stability: The act of carrying heavy weights in each hand forces the core muscles to engage and maintain balance, which can improve core stability.
  5. Improved mental toughness: Farmers walks can be physically and mentally challenging, which can help improve mental toughness and determination.
  6. Improved functional strength: Farmers walks involve carrying weights through space, which can help improve functional strength and everyday movement.

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


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

Farmer’s Walk Alternatives

Need an alternative for Farmer’s Walks? Here are a few exercises you may be able to use as a replacement:

(Need more options? Here are 10 Farmer’s Walk alternatives)

Deadlift Holds

Deadlift Hold

One of the key components of Farmer’s Walks is lifting a heavy weight off the ground and maintaining that hold.

Deadlifts Holds work the same muscle groups, particularly your grip strength, lower back, and hamstrings. They’re fantastic for overall strength and can be easily integrated into any training program.

Towel Pull-ups

This variation takes the standard Pull-Up and kicks it up a notch in terms of grip strength.

By gripping towels hung over the bar, you’re working your hands and forearms much harder than in a standard Pull-Up. This is an excellent way to mimic the grip challenge presented by Farmer’s Walks.

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