Monday Mayhem: the Farmer's Walk

This Week's Exercise Pushes Your Limits

The beginning of the week can sometimes bring about that urge to call out of your beginning of the week workout regiment with a bad case of the Mondays. But fear not! Monday Mayhem is here to help you from hitting the couch instead of the bench after work with fresh and exciting exercises to get you up and out, and smashing through your week ahead!


This Week's Mayhem: the Farmer's Walk

Shirtless man doing farmer's walk with two dumbells

Photo courtesy of Brandan Schieppati & Rise Above Fitness

A top choice for strongmen and crossfit trainers for working out forearms, the Farmer's Walk is one of the simplest of exercises in its class, and yet, one of the most challenging when done with enough resistance. 

Performed with and named for the same motion made by farmers for centuries while moving heavy equipment, the Farmer's Walk is traditionally done with long bars and plate weights. However, at facilities where long bars are not available, or where space is limited, dumbbells can also be used to complete the exercise. 

Choosing either a pair of dumbbells or long bars with plates, the Farmer's Walk is done as follows:  Begin with the palms of your hands facing each other, and at the side of your hips. 

  1. Resting the weights on the ground at either side of you, begin by squatting down to grip the bars or dumbbells with your palms facing inward. 
  2. Raise the weights using force from your heels and legs as you would with a dead lift or clean and jerk. Make sure to keep your back straight and head up.
  3. Keeping the weights at about waist level to maintain the tension in your forearms, take short and quick steps. In competition, the exercise is usually done over a course of about 50 feet, so a few laps around the gym will do.
  4. Avoid sharp turns and sudden stops while performing the exercise to avoid excess strain on your ankles and wrists.
  5. When finished, return to squatting position to place the weights back on the floor.

Since most long bars start weigh about 45lbs. on their own, it is generally recommended to start at or above this weight, especially with dumbbells, to get the full effect of the exercise.

When using dumbbells, the Farmer's Walk can transition into, or out of, leg based exercises such as lunges, side steps, dumbbell squats, or step ups, to include a solid forearm workout in a longer superset.

In addition to increasing the weight, another way to keep an eye on your progress is to time yourself. Start with walking nonstop for thirty seconds and go up from there with each attempt. One minute of movement may not seem like a long time, but doing it with 75lb. weights in each hand can make sixty seconds seem like eternity! 

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