From resistance bands and special grips to Bulgarian bags and the newest four-movement exercise to target your rear delts, working out can often contain a few complexities here and there – sometimes too many. With all of the newest technology and year-long fads crowding our minds, we can often leave the simplest movements by the wayside. To make your entire body stronger, bring up imbalances and get some conditioning in while you’re at it, there is one old-school, simple strength training movement to add to your repertoire: the farmer’s walk.
The farmer’s walk is as easy to understand as carrying your groceries inside – only much, much more physically taxing. To perform this exercise, simply grab two heavy (for seasoned gym-goers, half your bodyweight in each hand should be a good starting point) weights – dumbbells, kettlebells, trap bars, plates, etc. – let them hang down at your side with your palms facing your body and start walking. Make sure to focus on keeping a good posture and tall spine, keep your grip tight and take short steps – the weight will handle the rest. For more strength and hypertrophy (muscle growth) benefits, focus on heavier weight and shorter walks – longer walks will help you improve cardiovascular performance and have an effect on the nervous system similar to a set of sprints.
Benefits of Strength Training with the Farmer’s Walk
“It’s just walking, right?” If that thought crossed your mind, you’re not wrong, but that is the beauty of this exercise. Walking in a controlled manner with extremely heavy weight comes with a ton of benefits, even being cited as a safer alternative to the deadlift. Your arms will take a beating keeping the weight inside your hands and at your sides, your shoulders and back will be taxed from maintaining proper posture, your core will struggle to keep everything together and your legs and glutes are pumping with each step. If you’ve heard the term “functional strength training” thrown around in the gym, this is it. A single, heavy exercise that will improve your musculature and translate to increased athletic performance in every aspect and generally better fitness.
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