A farmer’s walk may look like you’re just carrying weights back to the rack, but it’s an extremely beneficial whole-body exercise. Also called farmer’s carry, it hits most of the major muscle groups while delivering a first-rate cardio workout.
This is a strength and conditioning workout in which you hold a heavy load in each hand and walk for a designated distance. Stabilizing the weights in your hands while standing tall engages your balance, arms, core and shoulders.
It’s as easy as grabbing a pair of kettlebells or dumbbells and walking. Keep your chest up, head facing forward, and don’t let the dumbbells rest on your body — that would make it easier on your core and arms.
To try this at home, grab two full water jugs and walk.
Your forearms get a workout by challenging your grip, and your shoulders and upper back get a good stability exercise by holding your chest up and keeping your shoulders straight. It also works your abs and strengthens the legs, particularly calves and glutes.
Farmer’s walk is also considered a good, functional exercise because it’s a movement you do in your daily life. Training it can help ensure that you do it safely and efficiently.
Make sure it’s working by using weights that are challenging but not straining. If you’re shrugging, rushing or losing your grip, switch to a lighter weight. As you get stronger, use heavier weights, walk farther or hold the weights up to your shoulders (but not resting on your shoulders).
If you need to stop too often, consider lowering your weights. This is a great cardio workout if you can keep going. If you find yourself stopping too much, lower your weights.
You also can hold one kettlebell in front of you, being careful not to rest it on your chest or make it a suitcase carry by holding a weight in one hand and keeping your body straight.