Though they might sound like leisurely strolls by the countryside, farmer's walks are actually strongman competitions. Also known as the farmer's carry, the strongman event involves carrying heavy dumbbells while walking. Though the walk itself is simple, it is the bearing of the weight, which is usually nearly the weight of the contestant, which is considered difficult.
This competition has been a popular event since its inclusion in the 1983 World's Strongest Man competition. At the time, it was known as the Fergus walk. It can be conducted at all levels of general competition, from small country fairs to worldwide events.
During strongman competitions, a farmer's walk usually consists of carrying 275 to 375 pounds (125 to 170 kg) throughout the walk. In addition to dumbbells, the farmer's walk may also involve carrying a large, heavy frame with handles. Aside from strength and grip, the competition is supposed to measure agility and mental composure.
Bodybuilders use the exercise to prepare themselves for competition, as well as to strengthen their forearms. The farmer's walk is also a good way to develop a strong grip in preparation for holding other weights in competition. Some people also use farmer's walks as a part of their workout routine. In addition to stronger forearms, farmer's walks are good for acquiring a stronger back and abdominal muscles. Other benefits of the exercise include increased muscle growth and coordination, as well as an overall increase in body metabolism.
To perform farmer's walks, one should first acquire two heavy dumbbells. These should be equal in weight. Exercisers should not lift weights that are too uncomfortable to bear; beginners should start with a smaller weight set and work their way towards a heavier pair of dumbbells. For this reasons, adjustable dumbbells are ideal. After selecting a pair of dumbbells, the exerciser should select a spot in the room to be his or her destination point.
The exerciser can then begin the farmer's walk by placing each weight on the ground, one at each side of the body. The weights should then be slowly and safely lifted until they are at the weightlifter's sides. He or she can then walk toward the selected spot, carrying the dumbbells at his or her sides. As with any exercise, farmer's walks should always be done with a spotting partner present.
A farmer's walk should resemble normal walking. When the walker reaches the destination point, he or she then turns around and simply walks back to his or her original spot. If the weights are heavy, they may be set down on the floor after each walk in order to prevent injury. A full walk should take 30 to 70 seconds.
In order to increase muscle size, bodybuilders can alter the workout to make it more difficult. They may add more weight until the dumbbells are as heavy as they can bear, which should be done under the supervision of an experienced fitness instructor. They can also add length to the walk used during the workout.