If you train with me there's no doubt you do farmer walks or some version of them.
This post will focus on the how top properly execute a basic farmer walk (carrying weight in both hands at your side). But before we move on to that, let's re-talk the benefits and why we do farmer walks. First, it's one of the simplest and safest exercises you can do. It's literally picking up something heavy and walking. Second, it helps build capacity and grip strength at the same time like not many other exercises can do. Third, it builds a strong foundation buy building both core and shoulder stability. And finally, once you start carrying some serious weight, it gives you a whole new appreciation for just how strong you actually are.
And if you're interested, let me also share with you some strength standards. A challenge I do involves carrying their body weight (for males) on a hex bar as far as possible in 20 yard increments, meaning they have to turn back around at 20 yards. Females do the same carrying 75 percent of their body weight. Typically 100-120 yards have been the farthest I've seen this weight carried. Dan John has game changer standards where males carry their body weight per hand, and females carry 85 pounds per hand.
But, like all great exercises, if they aren't done correctly they are just another pointless way to make you tired, hurt or both. To perform a correct farmer walk, do the following:
1. Pick up the dumbbells or hex bar using your legs and hips. When picking up the weight extend through your hips and exhale, stand tall and move your body into correct posture. Think of the walk as a moving plank. You want to maintain a neutral spine.
2. As your walking, squeeze the bar or dumbbell handles. This will help increase tension in the core. Pack your shoulders down and back to maintain posture.
3. Remember it's a farmers walk not farmers jog. When the weight starts getting heavy, you'll see people move in to a kind of half run, half jog movement. You can move your feet quickly, but take small steps. If you are using heavier weight this is more important, longer steps can get the weight swinging and harder to control.
3. When turning around take it slow, this is the hardest part for most people. If you are holding a hex bar, because the weight it farther away from your center, as you turn the momentum can cause the weight to swing a bit and make it harder to control. So turn slowly and controlled as possible.
4. Start with carrying for 40-100 yards. A good starting point for males is males can use a 50-100lb dumbbell range while females can use a 25-60lbs range.