The Exercise You Should Be Doing: The Farmers Walk

You’ll have seen people doing it, but nearly always with a personal trainer. It’s one of the few exercises people choose to add to their own workout, making it potentially one of the most underused and forgotten exercises: the Farmers Walk. Go to your local gym and we’re certain no-one will be doing it, yet there will always be guys bench pressing or working on their biceps.

For those of you that haven’t even heard of the Farmers Walk, it’s relatively easy and you simply pick up a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells and start walking around. You could walk up and down the gym, in circles, whatever you fancy and for as long as you can cope with the weight. If you’re able to walk outside it’s probably easier to keep track of the distance you’ve travelled. If you can’t track distance you could use time as your measure instead.

It’s one of the few exercises people choose to add to their own workout, making it potentially one of the most underused and forgotten exercises

The idea behind the exercise is to walk as far (or as long) as you can before you have to put the dumbbells (or kettlebells) down, keeping your chest up and shoulders back to maintain a good posture. You can choose your own weight. As a rough guideline, we suggest guys should start with 16Kg bells and the ladies 8Kg. The weight will usually dictate how far you can walk.

These farmers walk handles from Bulldog Gear can take 100Kg of weight, each side

At Short Motivation we recently purchased a set of Bulldog Gear Farmers Walk handles. Solid equipment designed for one purpose and to use instead of dumbbells or kettlebells. Loadable up to 100kg per side, you won’t have to fight off the big guys for the heavy dumbbells, just stick as many plates on as you want and start walking.

Where’s the benefit?

The Farmers Walk is a great full body exercise putting most of your muscles under tension. You will find that your grip strength is put to extreme test and this is often the first part which requires you to release the weights.

Ensure there’s no swinging whilst you walk by keeping your shoulders strong and retaining a fluid walking movement. Whilst it’s a great exercise for the entire body, building leg strength, your grip, shoulders and more, on a practical level it will certainly help with those heavy bags in on the weekly shop. Always a bonus.

Challenge yourself

Why not make the exercise more challenging by walking up or down a hill. This is only recommended for people who are a bit more experienced and can handle the extra strain from a change in elevation. Walking up hill too easy? Next, why not try the stairs!

 Olly is wearing the Leonardo in white training top from Orlebar Brown, Bellamy in black from Orlebar Brown, Metcon 2 from Nike and using the Mini Farmers Walk handles from Bulldog Gear.
 Do you Farmers Walk? What do you use? Tag us on social media to show us how you’re using the Farmers Walk. Alternatively, leave us a comment below.


About Author

Olly is the Short Motivation fitness and training advisor. He is a level-3 PT instructor, specialising in TRX and kettlebell instruction, and manages his own gym in the United Kingdom.