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Talk to me about the farmer's walk.

Posted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:12 pm
by ApolytonGP
I have lately been kind of "stealing" a little bit of a farmer's walk.* It's really only about 200 feet or so. but I actually tolerate it ok. what does it work and is it good or bad and should I maybe incorporate it more?

*carrying the dumbells for my weird anterior tibialis toe balancing (40-55ers) out to the cardio step area. Instead of carrying the step into the freeweight room (feel better since it is a bit of a balance thing doing it where I'm not going to fall over on someone doing preacher's curls or deadlifts (we lack room in freeweight room)

Posted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:19 am
by stuward
There's no part of the body it doesn't work but it's mainly for the grip. If you pick a weight where your grip fails at around a minute or so, you will get stronger. You will likely see an improvement in all your pulling exercises. Static holds will work you grip as well, but farmer's walks include a dynamic component that hits all your core muscles as well. Expect to feel it mostly in the traps.

Posted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:20 pm
by ApolytonGP of the disadvantages of doing an UB/LB split is that there are excercises like this (or deadlift) that hit both body parts. I guess this is why Eliott Dardington argued for whole body lifting days.

Would it be wrong to do the farmer's walk on LB day? I am too burnt out on UB day as it is. I would just start with the weights I use for anterior tib (coupla 50s about). I guess I need to figure out a route (keep it in the free area or safe to go in the tiled areas?), measure how long it takes to get exhausted, and figure out how to fail (actually drop the weight)?

Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:38 am
by Han
Doc, make with the Stephen Johnson quote. Stat!

Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 3:20 am
by KPj
When we do it, it's at the end of a lower body day and almost always on a DL day - I class DL as 'lower body'. Most BB's class it as 'back'. It's both. Doesn't matter what day you put it in, really.

Our DB's onnly go up to 110lbs. The good thing about them - in a way - is that when you get to the ~90lbs DB's, the grip on them is almost twice as thick, for whatever reason. So it makes the jump from 88lbs to 92 lbs seem a lot bigger than it is but it's great for grip work.

We've started doing more one armed farmers walks though. The way our gym was set up is, if you can imagine one big area full of rows of cardio machines, then in the corner there's a free weights area, all open plan. Free weights area was almost big enough to park your car in. We would just walk out of the free weights area, down to the front of the CV machines and around them, then back, full circle, to the free weights area. Was quite a nice route. We train DL on a friday night so the gym is nice and quiet.

It's just been upgraded now and the weights area has been partially partitioned off so we'll probably need to walk out of it, up to a certain point, turn around, and walk back now.

We're not in the habbit of failing with them. If it gets to the point where we think we're going to drop them, we'll lower them first.


Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:58 am
by ApolytonGP
Cool sharing, Kpj, thanks. (Put down the quote, Doc. :wink: )

Would you feel OK walking through a tiled floor area? There is a good circuit I could make from free area, out around lobby and back. Freeweight area has some hard rubber matting, lobby is tiled. I assume that I would not push it that close to failure over the tiles. Makes sense?

Doing them on LB day would be cool with me. logistically the easiest would be about mid workout (after DL, but before yes/no and LE/LC). I could also just do them at the very end...

I guess a single minute sounds reasonable?

I'm kind of OK with hitting the traps, even on legs day, since I don't shrug on arms day (and really don't want to).

Stronger grip would help me with DB curls also as I am lifting enough that it is hard to just rest the top of the dumbell on my hand. KInd of have to actively grip the handle.

Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:18 am
by stuward
1 minute is about right. Once you can 1 minute, put the weight up next time. I stick to the free weight area just because I know I will drop them occationally. They're used to me doing that. People get out of my way now.

Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:22 am
by wilburburns
In a Typical Commercial gym, why would you "DROP" the weights and completely go to failure with a Farmers Walk.

Just do as KPJ said and when you are near failure, err on the safe side and lower the weight to the floor.

I fully realize that I'm a light weight, but the only exercise I usually feel the need to even drop/lower quickly is the Deadlift. And then it's still a controlled lower and not a full out drop. I could likely lift more if I didn't control lowering the weight, but what's the point, I'm not training for competition.

Keep in mind all of the above goes completely out the window if training for competition in a "Training" facility/gym, or actually in a competition. At that point, you would need to know exactly what your limits are and try to push them farther each time.


Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:27 am
by wilburburns
stuward wrote:1 minute is about right. Once you can 1 minute, put the weight up next time. I stick to the free weight area just because I know I will drop them occationally. They're used to me doing that. People get out of my way now.

Do you drop from normal walking height, or do you do a controlled drop/lower.

If it's a full height drop, then my previous statement may be null and void.


Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:35 am
by stuward
If I'm doing a farmer's walk and my grip starts to go, I will attempt to take it to the ground under control. Sometimes it drops a few inches. When you're carrying weight close to your failure limit, attempting to control a drop may be more dangerous than letting them drop so if I'm in doubt, I just let go. If I'm doing an overhead walk and I start to lose control, I use my free hand to catch it. I never do a 2 handed overhead carry. When doing kettlebells I sometimes miss a hand to hand switch when doing slingshots and the bell goes rolling. No one complains since it's a small group that uses the (military) gym and we're all regulars. Overall It's not dramatic. That said, I think doing farmers walks, overhead lifts or kettlebell work on anything other than rubber matting or grass is asking for trouble.

Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:40 am
by KPj
On walking on the tiled floor(??? - commercial gyms crack me up), they may not like you doing that. Personally I would advise just doing it anyway and see if they tell you to stop it or not, as opposed to asking. I would be much more cautious about failure if walking over a tiled floor, too. Ours is wooden but my gym has had years to get used to my weirdness anyway.

Also, technically you could just walk up and down our small weights area. It's more convenience that make us do the trip around the cardio area. The looks are priceless, too, particularly when doing waiter walks.


Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:44 am
by Jungledoc
Han wrote:Doc, make with the Stephen Johnson quote. Stat!

Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:13 am
by ApolytonGP
I've seen other people farmer walk across the tile. They wouldn't stop me. If I start (or do) drop the weights and do damage, that would be an issue.

Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:07 pm
by ApolytonGP
what would be a good weight to try first? To get a minute. I am 165 and 5-8 and 10% bf. Probably not that strong in grip or traps relatively, given I don't deadlift much.

Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:15 pm
by Jungledoc
Always start farmer's walks with 7.5 pounds. Then increase by 2.25 pounds each month until you limit out. Then reset and try again.

Seriously, this is not a question anyone but you can answer! Why do you persist in expecting us to do your work? Pick up some weight and see how it feels. Do it. Just do it.