13 Farmer's Walk Benefits: Why Every Athlete Should Do Them (2019)

farmers walk benefits: optimal posture

So, you’re wondering what the farmers walk benefits can do for you and your fitness programme… 

Don’t sweat. We’ve collated the 13 top farmers walk benefits that can make a real difference to your physical appearance and wellbeing, regardless of your goals! 

Looking to kick-start your career in fitness? Check out OriGym’s Personal Trainer certifications and fitness instructing courses before you crack on with the article. 

Also, feel free to download our FREE 16 Week Home Strength Training Programme before jumping in.

Farmers Walk Benefits 

#1 - Improves Posture 

farmers walk benefits: optimal posture

When many of us are sat in desk jobs for 8+ hours per day, it’s no wonder that we develop bad habits in terms of our lifestyle and how we treat our body. 

Bad posture is an issue that we see creeping into many people’s lives, yet also something that can be rectified with proper exercise habits (or an Office Fitness routine). Enter the farmers walk!

The farmers walk benefits your posture by increasing your awareness of your muscles and body in general and forcing you to think about your form. As well as this, it creates stability and eradicates imbalances in the body (especially if two weights are used at a time), which leads to better posture by default. 

So, if you’re struggling with bad posture you should give yourself the chance to feel the farmers walk benefits! 

#2 - Strengthens Grip 

farmers walk benefits: climbing

A weak grip is certainly something you want to fix before you start taking deadlifts or other strength training techniques seriously. If you don’t focus on your grip then you’ll never be able to reach your maximum potential with free weights, or even in sports! 

Luckily for you, the extensive list of farmers walk benefits includes improved grip strength. The farmer's walk strengthens your grip by working your wrists, hands, forearms, shoulders, and back in unison, as all of these muscles can have an impact and support grip strength when they are properly trained. 

Your wrists, hands, and forearms, in particular, will be strengthened rapidly with regular practice of the exercise due to the pressure that is placed upon them (with proper form), and you’ll be pushing through your deadlifts and overhead lifts without the bar slipping from your hands! 

#3 - Reduces Chance of Injury

farmers walk benefits: elbow pain decrease

If you think about it logically, the farmers walk (with lighter weights perhaps) is actually quite a natural movement for our bodies. We were made with the ability to carry objects manually from one place to another, more so than we were to lift and hold them over our heads! 

When you start small and work your way up, the chances of injury are slim if you keep proper form and focus on what you’re doing.

While there’s a risk with every exercise, one of the farmers walk benefits is that it’s less likely to injure you in comparison to the more strenuous weight lifting movements. 

Worried about getting your form right first time? Click here for Buff Dudes farmers walk tutorial

#4 - Rapidly Builds Muscle Mass 

farmers walk benefits: flexing

The farmers walk works surprisingly well for building muscle mass despite being more of a hold than a lift. This may be refreshing if you’re only used to frequenting deadlifts and back squats in the gym! 

They work your muscles in slightly different ways to your typical strength training exercises, which makes them the perfect addition to your routine in terms of introducing variation. 

Rather than requiring your muscles to push upwards against gravity, the focus is on lifting the weights and then carrying them without the use of momentum

Momentum is not always used during deadlifts and overhead presses when proper form and technique is used, but one of the farmers walk benefits in this scenario is that they make it very difficult to cheat.

They build muscle mass most effectively through progressively loading, walking short distances with heavy weights, and when used in conjunction with powerlifting movements

Our top tips on building muscle mass with the farmers walk are:

  • Work on your grip first  - start out with slightly lighter weights and longer distances (this will help you out when carrying the heavy weights) 
  • Progressively load up on weights, just as you would during strength training with barbells or dumbbells
  • Do them in conjunction with powerlifting exercises for optimum results - they act as a great finisher and really challenge your stabiliser muscles! 

#5 - Encourages Fat Loss 

farmers walk benefits: losing body fat

Fat loss is always an added bonus when it comes to discovering new exercises. Whether you’re a bodybuilder, powerlifter, or brand new to fitness, shedding excess fat is likely one of the farmers walk benefits you’ll want to take advantage of. 

The farmers walk is good for fat loss as:

  • It’s a high-impact exercise - you carry a heavy weight, which makes it impossible for you to slack off during the exercise! Your muscles will work overtime and subsequently melt extra fat 
  • It’s a full-body exercise - your entire body is put under strain, making it an intense and calorie-destroying workout as well as building muscle mass in all areas (and therefore burning the fat around them) 
  • It requires constant effort and focus - usually, farmers walks are performed in around 60 seconds or over, which is certainly an intense burst of activity for the entire body and works wonders for burning fat and speeding up the metabolism. It’ll certainly get your heart pumping, and is a high-intensity cardio workout (which are notoriously good for melting fat) 

#6 - Develops Core Stabilisation

farmers walk benefits: core stabilisation

When you think of the farmers walk benefits, you probably assume that it works best for the shoulders, arms, and upper back. We wouldn’t blame you for thinking this considering how the exercise looks! 

However, what you can’t see when you watch farmers walk videos on the internet is the strain (good strain!) that it puts on the core.

To gain the most that you possibly can from the exercise including a workout for the core and improved core stability, you should always engage your abs before beginning the walk. 

If you keep your core engaged throughout, not only are you improving your chances of toning the area but you’re also developing stability in it, which will ultimately improve your chances of mastering more intense strength exercises. 

Need more core strength for barbell moves? Use the benefits of farmers walk to your advantage! 

#7 - Boosts Athleticism 

farmers walk benefits: running

Athleticism includes general fitness levels, agility, and strength amongst other elements. 

If you’re into sports or want to get fitter for everyday situations (maybe you struggle to make the train after work?), you should definitely focus on this as it is one of the main farmers walk benefits!

Fine-tuning your focus, coordination, mental endurance, balance, etc. will give you all the characteristics of a powerful athlete, and you’ll be conditioned for whatever life throws at you, be it an intense sports game or chasing the neighbour's dog when it escapes… 

#8 - Enhances Power and Strength

farmers walk benefits: back squats

We’ve already talked about core, but it’s so true that building a strong core is important to excel in every exercise or activity out there. Without good core strength, which is thankfully brought to you as one of the long-term farmers walk benefits, you limit both your power and overall strength. 

Not only will the farmers walk build strength in your core and subsequently boost your power and strength altogether, it will also enhance this in all other areas of the body. 

Because your core will provide a better base for the rest of your body when it is strengthened, it means that you will be able to better engage the rest of your muscles in the correct way (rather than loading too much pressure on them at once). 

They’ll grow tougher as a result of this, especially as you progressively overload them whilst your body adapts to the exercise. 

We’re sure you’ve heard of performing moves in a ‘powerful’ or ‘explosive’ manner, which relates directly to muscular power and ‘speed-strength’. To train the power of your body, your muscles need to be used at maximum force. 

Is there any other exercise that utilises the maximum force of your muscles than the farmers walk? We doubt it!

The heavier you manage to go, the more strength and power you will build. Perhaps this will push you to master your form and get started on the path to carrying your own body weight and more! 

#9 - Optimises Endurance

farmers walk benefits: cycling

In terms of physical endurance, the benefits of farmers walk are almost unlimited. If you want to train more for endurance over power, then practice the farmers walk with slightly lighter weights and go for a longer walking distance.

It should still be challenging for your muscles so that they can adapt to enduring the weight and distance as you progress, but not so straining that you’re unable to carry them safely across the set distance.

Physical endurance isn’t the only kind of endurance that the farmers walk benefits include, which is a good thing!

Mental endurance is developed during the exercise, thankfully through both methods (whether you select a shorter distance/heavier weight or a longer distance/lighter weight).

If you go with the shorter distance option, your mental endurance will improve in terms of pushing through really high-intensity and strenuous situations when it comes to sports or heavy lifting. 

On the other hand, if you choose to go a longer distance with a lighter weight then your mental endurance will improve in terms of pushing through longer yet lower-impact periods of strenuous activity. 

This may be more relevant to everyday life, like carrying your shopping home if you don’t have a car! 

#10 - Builds abs and obliques 

benefits of farmers walk: abs and obliques

It’s time to get more into the toning side of things. After all, who doesn't want to hear about how the farmers walk benefits their physical appearance before using it in their training?

Abs and obliques are two of the most sought after goals by those interested in fitness. The problem with actually achieving them is that most people are misinformed and spend all their efforts training the muscles in the wrong way. This leads to disillusionment and little to no results…

Thankfully, this is where the farmers walk benefits come in, especially alongside a varied strength training programme. Ditch the 100 sit-ups a day and try this instead!

The most important element of training your abs and obliques when doing the farmers walk is to engage your core. If you don’t engage your core, this area won’t receive much of the strain and will be missed out of the workout.

You’ll also risk injuring your lower back without taking this step! 

If you want to see the full farmers walk benefits in your abs and obliques, remember to engage your core properly during the exercise. 

#11 - Tones Forearms 

farmers walk benefits: farmers carry

It’s rare that we see many exercises that have a significant impact on the forearms. Mostly, people just focus on the biceps and triceps and leave the forearms to fend for themselves… 

Not anymore. The farmers walk benefits the forearms by placing extra pressure on them in comparison to other weighted exercises such as deadlifts or overhead presses, especially due to the fact that it is more of a hold than a lift and working in the direction of gravity. 

Developing your forearms with the farmers walk will be beneficial to other exercises as your grip strength will improve with stronger forearms. As your forearm strength improves, you’ll be able to ditch lifting straps and maintain a better grip on barbells, dumbbells, pull-up bars, etc.!

Another added bonus is that your forearms will gain muscle mass and appear more toned, which is always a good thing when putting all your effort into every exercise. 

#12 - Tones Traps 

benefits of farmers walk: shoulder muscles

We all know that ‘isolation training’ is controversial, but there are definitely exercises that work best for training certain muscles. 

When it comes to training traps, those pesky muscles that only seem to grow for hardcore bodybuilders, the farmers walk is actually the most popular and effective exercise to choose! 

During the walk itself, the traps are trained the entire time as they remain contracted. Many say that the farmers walk benefits on the traps are crucial, especially when used alongside the likes of dumbbell shrugs. 

In other trap exercises, the muscles are only trained in certain parts of the movement. This means that the farmers walk takes the gold medal in this area, and we give it our seal of approval! 

#13 - Strengthens Back and Shoulders 

farmers walk benefits: flexing back

The upper part of the torso can be hard to train when a lot of exercises focus on the biceps, triceps, anterior muscles, posterior muscles, etc. 

This is why the farmers walk benefits have a lot to offer to those looking to work their shoulders and upper back. 

In terms of developing a strong upper back, the farmers walk does this by forcing the traps to contract and support the shoulder blades in the correct position for the duration of the walk. 

Holding the correct form, i.e. shoulder blades together and in their lowest position, the traps will work hard alongside other muscles in the upper back to ensure that your shoulder joints are stable. It’s this action that works them and ultimately strengthens the entire area. 

As the deltoids’ function is to allow the rotation and abduction of your shoulder, it feels the benefits of farmers walk for the entirety of the exercise. 

This will give you shoulders a nice round appearance, and allow you to gain significant muscle mass and strength in the area with heavy weights, and alongside an existing free weights routine. 

Before you go! 

You should have a good idea of farmers walk benefits by now, and be ready and raring to go! 

Looking to start an exciting career in Personal Training? Go check out OriGym's Level 3 PT course, or download our latest prospectus here!  

Written by Chloe Twist

Fitness Content Manager, OriGym

Join Chloe on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Chloe graduated with a BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University and prior to OriGym worked at J&R Digital Marketing Agency on the Liverpool 'Female Founders' series. Since joining the company, she has become a qualified Personal Trainer and advanced Sports Nutrition Specialist. Chloe’s professional interests intersect content-development and the world of online fitness, especially across social media and YouTube, and Chloe has herself contributed pieces on fitness and weight loss to sites including the Daily Star and The Express. Outside her day-to-day role, Chloe enjoys playing the guitar, gaming and kettlebell training. 

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