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7 Benefits of Farmer’s Walks

The farmer’s walk is about as simple as an exercise/movement can get. That being said, the benefits of this movement are anything but simple, many of which can be amplified by the lifter’s ability to lift heavier loads or carry things for prolonged periods of time.

In this article, we will discuss seven reasons why every athlete and fitness goer should perform farmer’s walks with a variety of loads, objects, distances, and timed sets.

Strengthen Grip

Farmer’s walks are an homage to many men and women who have used their hands and bodies daily to the fullest. The ability to grip, pull, and hold anything in your hands is key to strength movements such as the deadlift. By increasing grip strength, people can often grip and rip heavier barbells and objects while maintaining proper technique and control.

Gain Muscle Mass and Hypertrophy

Increasing the time spent under load (with controlled tension) can increase systemic hypertrophy and hormonal output. The ability to load for prolonged periods of time (also with heavy weights) can impact one’s ability to gain size and strength.

Increase Postural Strength and Control

When carrying loads during walking and/or moving in various environments, postural control and strength is needed to allow for proper integrate movement to ensure efficiency and integrity of the vulnerable aspects of the body (spine). By doing loaded carries, you are able to train the deeper tissues around the spine. Doing so can enhance movement patterning, postural strength and control in movements like squats, presses, and deadlifts.

Enhance Core Stabilization and Bracing

If you have ever done heavy farmer’s walks you will know how challenging they can be to your spinal stabilizers. The ability to resist spinal rotation, flexion, and extension is key to injury prevention and force production, leaving the farmer’s walk a great way to challenge the body in an open environment that can have high transferability to real life and more fixed situations (squats, deadlifts, pressing, etc).

Develop Athleticism

Improved movement under load, enhanced balance and coordination, and the mental grit and focus needed to maneuver with carrying heavy dense objects can really impact sports such as functional fitness, strongman, American football, tactical training, etc. Often, strength and power athletes become VERY sagital in their movements, and farmer’s walks are a great way to add some non-linear movement (walk in circles, around cones, etc) to help keep the brain and motor units sharp.

Improved Work Capacity

Movements like sled training, weighted walking, Yoke carries, and farmer’s walks are all amazing ways to improve muscular and mental endurance without sacrificing your hard earned muscle and strength. Farmer’s walks can be done with light to moderate loads for prolonged periods of time, or heavier and shorter. Each can be used to increase muscular performance and work capacity for strength, power, and fitness athletes. I recommend either doing them heavy at the end of a session and/or taking some time to carry lighter loads for longer periods of time (90 seconds) to induce muscular hypertrophy and endurance.

Maximize Pulling Strength

The stronger your hands, forearms, and back is during deadlifts and other pulling movements, the better. Farmer’s walks are a great way to add additional pulling volume into training sessions to add quality muscle mass, improve grip strength, and enhance overall pulling abilities for lifters of all levels.

Time to Get Strong!

Check out some of these tops articles by some of our strongest coaches and athletes, each dropping some knowledge and insight on how to become even stronger, powerful, and healthier.

Featured Image: @oluwatofunmi_exito on Instagram

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Mike Dewar

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.

In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.

Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.

Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.

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