In modern strength disciplines – bodybuilding and powerlifting – the basic multi-joint elements are bench press, squat with a barbell, deadlift. Let’s take a look at the undeservedly forgotten, but no less effective complex exercise called the “farmer’s walk.”
Which muscles work
The main load is given to the core muscles:
- lower back;
Quadriceps are directly involved in the movement. Indirectly involved:
- the muscles of the forearms and hands.
Benefits and contraindications
The farmer’s walk exercise is the movement of heavy shells from one place to another.
Due to the strength character, the main advantage of the element is the stimulation of the production of testosterone – a hormone responsible for muscle growth throughout the body, increasing strength and reducing body fat.
Therefore, the farmer’s walk is used by strongmen – athletes participating in power extreme. Exercise has other benefits that bodybuilders and crossfitters will appreciate:
- Strengthening the grip. The farmer’s walk has a positive effect on the development of the muscles of the forearms and the strength of the hands, which is useful in other strength elements, for example, in the deadlift.
- Working out the central part of the body. The core muscles are involved in all movements of the athlete, helping him to overcome heavy weights. If you want to progress in basic exercises, do the farmer’s walk.
- Muscle growth. Prolonged forceful action during “farm” walking contributes to the hypertrophy of muscle fibers. The increased hormonal background helps to restore muscles, add mass and volume to them.
- Improving body balance. During the exercise, the small muscles are used, which are responsible for stabilization and coordination. It develops the athlete’s mobility and sense of balance.
- Increases endurance. Exercise helps to strengthen not only muscles, but also the ligamentous apparatus of the legs, arms, back. The athlete becomes less susceptible to power loads.
A farmer’s walk involves holding and moving heavy implements at the same time. This means that the exercise negatively affects the lumbar spine and knees. Therefore, the element is contraindicated for athletes with pathologies of the musculoskeletal system.
You should also be wary of “farm walking” when:
- shoulder ligament sprain;
- disruption of the vestibular apparatus;
- serious diseases of the cardiovascular system.
The exercise uses various shells:
- special beams with handles;
- trap barbells;
- unusual options: bags, buckets and even live pigs (yes, just like on a farm).
The farmer should not walk with a loaded bar on his shoulders, as this creates a dangerous compression load on the spine and can lead to a fall.
Prepared athletes sometimes ride with one dumbbell in hand. This technique allows you to emphasize the load on the oblique muscles of the press.
For beginner athletes and girls, we recommend performing a farmer’s walk with dumbbells. It is necessary to choose the right weight so that the element has the necessary effect and does not harm. There are two ways to do this:
- Each dumbbell should be equal to 20% of the athlete’s body weight.
- The athlete takes such apparatus that he can hold while walking for 35-40 seconds.
- Sit down and grab the dumbbell bars with your palms.
- Keeping your back straight, rise.
- Take short steps forward.
- After 30-40 meters, stop, turn around and repeat the pass.
- When squatting behind the dumbbells, keep the deflection in the lumbar region. This will prevent injury when lifting heavy equipment.
- Do not lower your chin to your chest. Otherwise, after a while, the upper back will involuntarily “round”.
- Do not place your feet wider than your shoulders, otherwise the dumbbells will touch your hips. This will make it difficult to perform and may cause the projectile to fall.
- Bend your legs slightly as you move. The farmer’s walk on straight limbs puts a dangerous strain on the knee joints.
- Keep your back upright. Do not lean forward while moving, as this may cause a fall.
- Avoid swaying. When moving with a “farm” step, try to minimize side bending of the body.
For beginners and girls, we recommend using sports accessories: wrist straps to improve grip and a weightlifting belt to protect the lower back.
If you are doing at home, try doing a farmer’s walk up the stairs. To do this, you will need light dumbbells (6-10 kg) or improvised items (for example, two two-liter water bottles or two identical backpacks filled with books). Take a load in each hand, go out into the entrance and make 5 ascents up the steps to 3-4 floors. This way you will be able to qualitatively load the muscles of the legs and buttocks.
In CrossFit, the farmer’s walk is a basic exercise that can replace other strength elements for the lower part body: squats, lunges, leg press. We offer two WOD programs using farm walking. The first is called “Lavier”:
- Push the bar up from the chest – 5 times (43 kg).
- Raising the knees to the elbows in the hanging position on the horizontal bar – 15 times.
- Walk of the farmer – 150 m (weight of dumbbells – 32.5 kg each).
The program is performed in 5 circles. The task is to minimize pauses in order to complete the workout as quickly as possible.
The second variant of the crossfit lesson – “Weston”:
- Working on a rowing machine – distance 1000 m.
- Farmer’s walk – 200 m (dumbbell weight – 20 kg each).
- Walking with the right hand holding the dumbbell overhead – 50 m (20 kg).
- The same walking, but with the left hand – 50 m (20 kg).
The program involves performing 5 circles. As in the first case, it is necessary to complete the lesson as quickly as possible.
In bodybuilding, you need to regularly change the training plan, as the muscles adapt to monotonous exercises, and stagnation occurs in the results. We suggest using “farm” walking to create an unusual load on the muscles of the legs and buttocks. The program may look like this:
- Calf training in the vertical trainer – 4×25.
- Farmer’s walk – 4×50 (dumbbell weight – 30 kg each).
- Leg press – 3×12-15.
- Extension in the simulator for quadriceps – 3×15.
- Flexion in the simulator for biceps of the thigh – 3×15.
- Curls on the press on an incline bench – 4×20.
If the gym is small, do “farm” driving for a while. Take the dumbbells in your hands, take 10 steps, turn around and repeat in the opposite direction. Continue for 40 seconds (4 sets).