Get Strong With Farmers Walks!

As I’m on my journey to get stronger and improve my overall fitness, I’ve improved my squats and deadlifts tremendously over the past year. One exercise I give a lot of credit to is the Farmers Walk exercise. I’m speaking from personal experience but I’m confident you’ll see improvements in those lifts if you start to incorporate Farmers Walks to your routine.The Farmers Walk is part of the weighted carries movement group. Done primarily in Strongman Competitions, anyone can benefit from this move.

There are countless benefits to doing the Farmers Walk. It builds great core strength because you have to stabilize the weight you’re holding on both sides. Your grip will improve sue to holding heavy weights for long durations. You do have to hold the weight tightly or else it’ll drop. Your legs get a good workout since you’re using your legs to walk. Your traps, lats, and others will be worked as well. This is a great total body exercise. The only training days I wouldn’t reccomend doing them are days you do heavy grip work, like deadlift days.

You can use Farmers Walks for any goal you want. You just have to adjust the weight, distance, and rest period for your specific goals. When focusing on strength, go heavier for a shorter distance, with long rest periods. For a cardio focus, go lighter, walk for a long duration, and have a short rest period. Hypertrophy would be medium weight with middle to long distance, and short rest periods. If you’re feeling ambitious, go heavy and walk a long distance.

Another way to utilize the farmers walk is to hold a dumbbell on only one side of your body. This move is called the suitcase carry. This move builds serious core strength because your core is walking hard to prevent you from tilting on one side. The heavier you go, the more engaged your core will be. I’ve been doing this move for the past couple of weeks and notice a difference in my core strength.

 

Strong Core, Strong Body

Some lifters believe you get enough core work from compound lifts like squats and deadlifts. However, I’m a huge fan of doing direct core work. Doing core work isn’t only about having a beautiful six pack. Good core exercises will give you a stable mid-setion and protect you from injuries when performing lifts. A strong core also allows you to generate more power in sports. The core exercises I do allows me to not only have nice abs but they give me a strong base when lifting heavy weights or performing sports movements. Here’s a list of my favorite core exercises:

Ab-wheel: The first step is placing the ab-wheel in front of you while holding it firmly with both hands. Start off by kneeling on ttop of a mat. The mat is there to keep your knees comfortable. With your hands firmly on the wheel, slowly lean forward til you have a straight torso. Then slowly get back to the starting position.I usually aim for three sets of 10. To take this move to another level, do five second pauses at the bottom position. You can also use a barbell with weight plates on each side if you don’t have access to an ab wheel.

Photo credit: Surge Lifestyle via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

Farmer’s Walks: There’s many variations of farmers walks. The way I do them is grab a pair of dumbbells and walk. It’s that simple. You can manipulate weight and distance depending on your goals. If you want to focus on strength, you should pick heavy dumbbells and walk a short distance. You can pick lighter dumbbells and walk longer distances if you want a good cardio workout. It’s important to maintain an upright posture. You’ll feel your abs the next morning.

Leopard Crawls: Get on all fours and have your knees slightly above the ground. Keep your hips low and look up the whole time. When crawling, you’ll be moving with opposite limbs at a time. You’ll move your right arm and left leg at the same time and vice versa. Try moving forward and backwards to engage your core in different ways.

Gymnastic Based Core Movements: Gymnastics are pound for pound one of the strongest athletes in the world. I believe a major reason for this is their amazing core strength. I’ve seen benefits from basic level gymnastic exercises like alternate leg raises and half L-sits with one leg still on the ground. Imagine the results you’d get if you master moves like the full L-sit, Planche, and Levers .

I promise you if you use any combination of these core moves, you’ll develop a strong and attractive midsection. These moves will transform your fitness and your life. All your lifts will improve and you’ll look better.

Note: Don’t do crunches and sit-ups unless you want back problems. Planks are a good start but you’ll need more dynamic core exercises if you want to take your body and performance to the next level. Also make sure to brace your core during all these movements.

Top Photo via VisualHunt.com

Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/94822773@N08/8669791068/”>Surge Lifestyle</a> via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re/b22a01″>VisualHunt</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”&gt; CC BY-SA</a>

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