T Nation

Begin Every Workout with Farmer's Walks?

#1

Hi Coach.
I like to do some farmers in The begin of every workout (upper and lower body). I feel its really wake me up.
Do you think farmers are highly neurológica demanding? Could be better prepare a workout based on farmers on recovery days? Do you have some insights about it?

#2

I do farmers walks and deadlifts same day. Then day 2 everything else. I found doing full body program too long and couldnt train as hard. Day 3 is off.

FW is my fav exercise. Great strength builder.

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#3

Personally, I prefer farmer’s walks towards the end of the work out as a finisher. But maybe it takes more out of me than you.

#4

How are you performing them?
I’ve done thousands and have really mixed opinions right down to contradicting for the farmer’s walk. **For me when done effectively they tend to fry my connective tissues associated with my joints and lower back, granted I don’t mean damage but a few steps away, so they’re generally best as a finisher if not the soul workout of the day. Also are you using machines or free weights with them.
If I do a day of machines then I can do them as an opener but will pretty much be sore as soon as I make the switch.

I do 3 types.
Moderate loading up a 50 degree incline that’s 100’ per lap for as many laps as possible(up then down = 1 lap)
Moderate loading for a 3 mile round trip walk
Extremely heavy loading for a fixed distance
I prefer the first 2 because the last leaves me feeling chewed up inside

Take note that doing a hill means moderate will be under 100lbs per hand and doing a 3 mile walk means well under 50lbs per hand. I’ve never gotten much out of them in terms of heavy loading for a fixed distance unless I was absolutely maxed out which for me @80’ was 300lbs. @200lbs I could do a dozen 80’ laps and just never saw any results in muscle mass or carryover strength to other exercises.

For some people maybe results are straight forward without toying with methods but at times I would do 100lbs x 2 25x a day @80’ and I swear the only thing they did was burn calories.
Ultimately for putting on actual mass and strength the 3 mile carry with moderate loading has been the all around performer for me.

#5

3 miles! How long does that take you? Do you strap them?

#6

Average is almost always near dead on 90 minutes literally to a few seconds on my timer. Best time was 60 minutes. I do various loading methods but had been doing 30lbs in each hand then with a harness 30lbs on my back and 30lbs on my front. I use scaled sandbags and sometimes combine them with plates. It creates both a yoke and a farmer’s carry giving the traps a beating every damn time!

Towards the fall I ended up switching to a strongman wheelbarrow for the 3 miles which seems like it would be easier but it’s not. It’s weight + plates, blocks and sandbags I usually do 250-300lbs. Initially it’s easier than the raw loaded carry but after about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way the difficulty surpasses the aforementioned.
It builds a great yoke and as long as you keep adding a little weight every week you will feel a new layer of mass every few days vs it just being calorie burn.

I have contradicting opinions on loaded carries.
It’s one of the most useless exercises for strength and mass unless you go as heavy as possible, frequently, so it becomes an unsustainable staple IMO. Go relatively heavy to your max and personally it did nothing for me. On the other hand go for extreme distance with moderate loading or go up a steep hill for max reps; even my pecs were swollen yesterday from doing 120lbs @50 degrees for 500 feet; 250 up 250 down.

#7

What kind of gains are you talking about when you say “new layer of mass every few days”?

#8

I’m sure I made the results sound more fantastical than they are lol.
It’s on par with an extreme full body workout where you do push, pull and legs in a single day then, for me anyway, about 48 hours later you get a gradual sense of having filled out a bit more because it’s quads, calves, chest, glutes, shoulders etc.
You aren’t suddenly blowing up in a few select areas but instead pretty much everywhere gets a new “shroud” you can feel it quite obviously.

The upper limits are obvious regarding how much you can load yourself with safely so to keep progressing it’s more about time under tension by increasing distance and I’m not sure what is feasible…5 miles?
It’s really common at about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way I need something to eat due to glycogen being spent and sometimes that walk home is grueling.

Calories to recover, potential to sabotage intended fat loss or maintenance, the impact on regular gym workouts, too frequently you lose hypertrophy etc.; it’s a great workout for both gains and fat loss but it has to be used strategically. I workout everyday to every other day and try to implement a day of some type of loaded carry, and nothing else, once or twice a week.

#9

Why do you do them then?

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#10

What? If you’re doing that kind of distance for a loaded walk, use a weight vest.

What? Why are you doing anything 25x a day.

I have to question your methods. Why not follow a protocol from CT or Dan John rather than this craziness.

#11

Consider there isn’t context to what you’ve highlighted in shock lol.

To answer Baumbodies I do them because it’s a nice change from exercising indoors. It’s also a way to avoid skipping leg day when you’re burned out on squats, leg raises, calf raises etc.
It’s a great challenge and the discipline to push yourself that 3 miles or up those flights of stairs or the sled hill with music blasting in your ears is downright addictive.
Ultimately remember our ancestors worked this hard as a means of survival and another huge factor is after you do it often enough your body adapts. High frequency isn’t the best tactic for building and maintaining mass but the conditioning it produces has insane carryover to gym workouts. Finally a closing point; it’s insanely intense cardio in a short amount of time if you do hills, stairs or that 3 miles.

antiquity it’s really not crazy if you read that above reasons.
You must have missed where I said earlier I’ve done thousands of loaded carries and with a wide variety of criteria…or maybe it was another thread. For a traditional farmer’s carry I was up to 300lbs @60’ but I never gained mass and didn’t have any carryover to my squat and deadlift.
That 3 mile carry, as in maxing out time under tension, which varied depending the day from 80 to 120 lbs, I made gains every week.

So at this point I consider myself an expert on the farmer’s carry!
You also must have missed for that 3 mile walk uses a harness that I made from thick webbing that is better than a weight vest; it holds sandbags with straps or plates firmly against your body. It loads the traps and delts, you load the hands with a couple more strapped sandbags and it’s what I’ve named The Farmer’s Yoke.

Anyway I personally don’t respond to the tradition of very heavy loading, low reps/distance on a lot of exercises outside the big 3; farmer’s carry is one of them. After I’ve progressed from moderate loading and high reps well indeed there’s a change in training and I switch to progressive overload dropping reps and increasing weights per set but I still ultimately start out with about 20-25 reps and descend to 6-8. I mean I can strict curl 50lb dumbbells for reps of 6-8, 3-5 sets but all it does is tire my arms out vs deeply fatigue the muscle and progress my mass and strength
If I do 2x 25lbs x 40 for 2 sets, 40lbs x 10 x 2 then 50 x 6 x 2 I look like Popeye afterward.
You seemed to assume I don’t know what I’m doing but it’s quite the opposite.

#12

Unless you’re walking really slow, 60 feet wouldn’t give you much time under tension. Can you please quantify “I made gains every week”?

You look like Popeye because you did over 100 reps of curls. You’ll have a pump that just won’t happen from sets of 6-8 reps.