The Farmer's Walk – Build Muscle and Grip Strength
The Farmer’s Walk is a great lift for athletes and general strength enthusiasts.
It is great for building Grip Strength, and that is something that is important for all sports, as well as many other lifts in the gym.
The Farmer’s Walk also strengthens the upper back and shoulders, and improves the posture in addition to improving your conditioning.
Farmer’s Walk Technique
If you don’t do the Farmer’s Walk correctly, you can hurt yourself, so it is important to know the right techniques.
Someone recently wrote me asking about how to properly execute the turn in the Farmer’s Walk and I finally got the chance to shoot this video this week. While I shot it, I also covered some other basic technique points to consider to maximize your performance while minimizing your risk.
Here’s a list of key points for your Farmer’s Walk training, in case you’d like to print them out:
1. Equipment Set-up: When you add plates, make sure they are tight. Loose plates shift around and can throw your technique off. Tighten them with collars, Pony Clamps, Wrist Wraps, or something else that will keep them tight.
2. Stance: Make sure you take not of how you set up your feet. Have the handles right by the legs and place the feet equidistant from the handles. Stand near the center of the handle, or maybe even slightly forward of center, whichever feels best for you.
3. Grip Position: Depending on how you pull and how strong your grip is, you will either want to grip the handles right in the center or shifted slightly back. It is better to have the handles leaning down in front than down in back. Slightly down in front shifts the emphasis to the first two fingers. Down in back shifts it to the last two (and weakest two) fingers.
4. Chalk: Chalk up well. Chalk the inside of your palm and fingers as well as the thumb and the back of the fingers.
5. Thumb: Wrap your thumb up over your index finger, middle finger, or both, depending on what is comfortable. This contact will secure your grip and it is also why you want to chalk on the back of your fingers. If they are wet, your thumb will slip and that is no good.
6. Heels and Glutes: Push the heels into the ground when you pull the handles up, just like you would a narrow stance deadlift. When you near lockout, fire the glutes instead of the lower back. You’ll last longer this way and be able to do more sets.
7. Short Choppy Steps: Take short choppy steps when walking, especially the first few. This allows you to conserve energy and stay balanced during your stride. Once you pick up momentum, you can take longer strides, but it is almost always easier to maintain control with short choppy steps.
While I had the implements out, I decided to try something I never tried before, a One-Arm Deadlift with the Farmer Handle for a max lift.
Support Grip is one my areas of opportunity at contests, so it was interesting to try it out. Not sure how much my Farmers weigh – Maybe 25 lbs? I ended up getting 4 plates and a 25 per side, left-handed.
I loved the feeling of this lift, but I the knurling is a killer. After the Farmer’s attempts, Grippers felt ridiculous, but I worked them anyway.
My hand skin felt like a ran a cheese grader over my callus lines and fingers, but I kept on going…they felt like trash when I was done with my workout…
Today they felt just tremendous.
All the best with your training,
Check out our STRONGMAN TRAINING DVD:
Ultimate Forearm Training for Baseball | How to Bend Nails | How to Tear Cards | Feats of Grip Strength Explained | How to Build Your Own Equipment | How to Lift Atlas Stones | The Sh*t You’ve Never Seen | Sled Dragging for Athletes | The Road to the Record DVD
Articles You Might Also Like:
- The Farmer’s Walk – Build Muscle and Grip Strength
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- Continued Progress with the Double Inch Deadlift
- Fat Gripz Experiment: How Much Do They Affect Your Lifts
- DVD Review: CRUSH – Total Gripper Domination
Tags: farmers walk, grip strength, grip training, strongman training
September 30th, 2010 at 8:14 am
I do a lot of farmer’s walking with our athletes and they are just a tremendous exercise not only for strength but for physical endurance. Great point about touching the plates together for the turn. Thanks!
September 30th, 2010 at 4:28 pm
Hello thanks for this very interesting post. But I still dont understand the second part though!
September 30th, 2010 at 9:12 pm
Sure thing man. Keep up the good work.
September 30th, 2010 at 9:17 pm
The second part is just a one hand lift on a farmer’s handle for max weight.
It is simply a way to trigger support grip strength. It is very challenging.
October 4th, 2010 at 6:45 am
Love the Farmers Walk, it is an awesome exercise.
Great to read through the coaching points you have!
May 16th, 2011 at 5:31 pm
Jedd, How often can I do the Farmers Walk? I have been doing trap bar deadlifts on Mondays and the farmers walk on Thursdays. Thank you. Bob Lasher. Matthews, North Carolina.
May 16th, 2011 at 6:57 pm
Bob, I’d say twice a week is pretty doable. It really depends on how well you recover. You have to take into account the ability of your hands to recover as well as your body, since the whole body is used…
May 16th, 2011 at 7:19 pm
Thanks Jedd!! Appreciate the advice.