Do Farmer's Walks Like This to Get Ripped

by Christian Thibaudeau

This loaded carry beats everything when it comes to metabolic conditioning and fat loss. Here's why, plus two ways to do it.

Some people love the Prowler or sled to keep fat at bay. But the farmer’s walk or trap-bar carry is better. First, you’re less likely to be limited by metabolic factors. The Prowler or sled causes the greatest oxygen debt in the least amount of time. This is in part due to the high demands of the exercise, but also because it’s hard to breathe when pushing it!

While the farmer’s walk is also metabolically demanding, at least you can breathe properly when you do it. As such, you can carry big weights for longer than you can push big weights and you recover faster between sets. That allows for a greater density of work (doing a lot of work in a short amount of time), which is important when trying to get as lean as possible.

Second, the farmer’s walk involves a greater number of muscles. The Prowler or sled might hit the legs a little harder, but you don’t get the same traps, arms, and abs involvement as the farmer’s walk. You’ll also experience growth in those muscles because of the occluded stretch you create, which makes the farmer’s walk a bigger bang-for-your-buck movement.

  • For fat loss: Bouts of 2 minutes with 1 minute of rest.
  • To build muscle and lose fat: Go heavier for 1 minute with one minute of rest.
  • To build size/strength while keeping the excess fat off: Go very heavy for 20-30 seconds with up to 2 minutes of rest between sets.



How many rounds would you recommend per goal per week?


given this was written 8 years ago, I wonder if tib would stand by it. and if so, if he could clean up the prescription with how many rounds/sets, approximate weight to use (% of body weight or…?), how often, during what part of a workout etc?


That was published as a “tip” but it was actually part of a more complete article.

Here is a table I use for loaded carries prescriptions:


The load to use can’t really be based on body weight. It’s like prescribing a squat, bench or deadlift (or any other lift) on body weight. People just vary widely in strength even at similar body weights.

And with stuff like prowler and sled pull it’s even harder to use a body weight ratio as the load you can move is also highly dependant on the surface you are pulling on: some surfaces provide more friction, which increases resistance and makes the same load harder to move.

All I can tell you is that for most of these goals, use the most weight you can use for the distance/duration given as long as: 1) you are able to maintain good form/posture and b) you do it unbroken (not putting the weights down during the set or stopping).


awesome. thank you for the response.

Which perscription would be just to stay in shape, maintain/build muscle and could be used in a Best Damn Workout format? Not looking for Hypertrophy or to be shredded. Just staying in good shape in my 60’s. Right now, I use between 60 and 90 KBs in each hand at varying distances.

I’d go with a duration target. For that goal the actual duration doesn’t matter much, it’s the work:rest ratio that is key

Shoot for a 1:1 ratio.

So for example, if you carry the KBs for 1 minute, rest 1 minute between sets.

If you carry them for 90 sec, rest 90 sec between sets.

If you carry them 30 sec, rest 30 sec between sets.

At first, you might need a 1 to 1.5 or even 1 to 2 ratio, but the goal is to eventually do it with a 1 to 1 ratio.

I like a total of 3 to 6 minutes of work. (e.g. 3-5 sets of 1 min ; 2-4 sets of 90 sec ; 2-3 sets of 2 min, etc.)


Thanks Coach. I will adjust. Adding these and shoulder hanging for 3 sets of 20 sec have made a huge difference in shoulder health, which is how I orginially found farmer’s walks. I think it was a T-Nation article as well.

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