Happy Monday. Last week’s post was all about making epic burgers with other meats when you’re tired of beef. This week we’re back to gaining a workout edge with one of my many favorite exercises – the Farmer’s Walk.
I’ve come across my fair share of lifters who are lazy about their core work – but your trunk is the thing you want to develop and strengthen most, as it transfers to better lifts everywhere else. This exercise doesn’t just help strengthen your core though – it hits several other muscles along with improving cardiovascular performance.
Meaning it’ll be more use to you than just making it easier to carry groceries to your car.
Let’s get started.
Generally when people refer to core work, the first thing people think is abs, or rectus abdominis, but your core is much more than that – think along the lines of 5+ muscles.
Back to what other muscles the Farmer’s Walk engages.
It’s an all-rounder – an adequately loaded Farmer’s Walk will torch your arms, legs, core, back, and your shoulders, along with making your lungs feel like they’re on fire. If you find sprints, rowing, or skipping getting too easy or monotonous, this classic exercise will kick the motivation and love for conditioning work right back into you.
It’s also a great grip trainer – if you find you’ve got a weak grip, this is one of many go-to exercises to train it. Bear in mind, if you’ve been using Fat Gripz as I suggested in my workout guide, your grip will be pre-trained, meaning you’d have to go heavier with the weight as your grip will already be pretty strong.
This doesn’t mean you get crazy, nor make this an ego trip. Start light and work your way up to get a feel for your own ability. Besides – going light means you can walk for a greater distance – while torching fat at the same time. As you progressively go to heavier loads, your body will adjust accordingly and start to pack on muscle to carry whatever weight you increase as time goes on.
The Farmer’s Walk is essentially you holding and walking with a weight that will make you feel like your shoulders want to separate from their sockets, so if you’ve reached a point where you can train with roughly 50% percent of your body weight (per hand), you’ll want to use weightlifting straps as it’ll minimize injury and the well known long-term issue of tendonitis.
How you walk with the weight is just as important. You want to walk tall – as in tall spine. Imagine you’re the Goliath of today’s time, with your chest being held up by a fish hook; nice, confident posture – no slouching, chicken necking, or tucking here – only locking. Brace yourself, forcing your core to engage, throughout the entire walk.
Bracing your core will force both your posterior and anterior core muscles (your back and your abs) to work together in order to stabilize yourself under the weight while walking, as this will naturally prevent vertebral injury, taking stress off the lower back.
For those of you who think everyday is arms day, there’s obvious benefits that transfer over into engaging your upper body as well.
Your biceps and triceps, just like your core and back mentioned earlier will serve as anterior/posterior antagonist to each other, ensuring stability and preservation of your shoulders and elbows.
Those puny forearms of yours you’ve been trying to build will be thoroughly engaged, desperately trying to make sure your elbows maintain the connection between upper arm and forearm.
For those of you who love a good back pump, you’ll get plenty of it.
Because of the movement and stability the Farmer’s Walk requires, and the pressure gravity forces upon you, your traps and other back muscles will work to stabilize your shoulder joints (who doesn’t like good looking traps?).
The constant contraction required from these muscles during loaded walking means they’ll keep your shoulder blades together – just like that therapist keeps your marriage together every month.
The Farmer’s Walk is the epitome of simplicity but effectiveness. You can do this exercise with dumbbells, kettlebells, Farmer’s bars, or any heavy, awkward object (like the summer of 2012 when I replaced my truck’s transmission and thought “now what can I do with this empty shell…”). The list goes on.
Tag it onto the end of each workout, remembering to progressively increase the weight and distance, and you’ll increase your ability to shred fat and pack on muscle faster than a cow can say “moo” (come on – I had to add one farming joke – entertain me).
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