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Farmer's Walk Programming


Pick up something heavy, walk around...I get it.

Anyone here take a more scientific approach? Do you say "if I can curl, press, lunge, squat with X-amount of weight, I carry Y-amount of weight to walk Z-distance"?

Trying to figure out a formula I can apply to this exercise. Thanks for any tips.


The only thing I've seen is the Expected and Game Changer standards from Dan John's article.



Problem is if you have never done these, what fails is not your lifting strength but your GRIP strength. You could single rep 250 each hand, but carrying a distance is the problem.

Why use a formula?

Just do it

then do it again

then oh yea do it again


I can't think of anything particular that would translate so directly since farmer's are such a different type of stress. Maybe some combination of back squat or front squat 1RM and deadlift/RDL for reps to address the total body support and grip strength. But that's just a total baseless guess off the top of my head.

You might have more luck looking over in the Strongman forum, since farmer's are a common event in competition, and see what guys have gotten the most carryover from in training.


I know, it's an odd question. It's for a group workout. Doesn't have to be exact science but it would be nice if there was something I can use in that situation. There are so many variables to consider so I wasn't expecting an easy answer. But if there's a weight to distance scale based on performance while doing certain lifts...I don't know. I'll read through that linked article and try and make sense of it.

If it was just for me, I'd just grab something heavy and walk until I got tired but it's for group training session and I wanted to make the challenge equal for all.


I've recently (last 2 months) started doing farmer's walks on my non-lifting days along with some sprinting both for conditioning and to build strength in a way that I think translates well to real life. Finding a weight my first time was basically by trial-and-error. I wanted a weight that I could carry about 50 yards before my grip gave out and that I could repeat about 6-8 times.

Don't ask where those numbers came from, they just kind of intuitively felt right for me based on the fact that I wanted to concurrently build strength and give my heart a workout. From there, I progressed first by adding a few more passes and then once I got to 10 carries I increased the weight by 10 lbs per hand. I've gone from 100 lb db in each hand to 150 lb in each hand over that time period.

I try not to look too much at what "standards" are for my weight/height/age in different lifts instead, I start at something that's challenging and slowly build from there. Obviously if you are doing them more for conditioning you'll want a lighter load that you carry for longer and vice-versa for strength. I'd just suggest starting light and adjusting as you go. Sorry, I know this isn't scientific at all and probably not what you're looking for but it's worked for me. Great idea though on adding them to your routine, they've worked wonders for me in a relatively short time frame!

P.S. I've always loved your avatar, Bunny is one of the best characters in any war movie out there imo


Just because....I use bodyweight.
All my carries are done with d.bells.

Start with 50% of bodyweight for 100 yards and 75% with one arm for 50 yards, switch arms and walk the 50 yards back. 3 - 6 sets total.


I'd start off with 50% of your bodyweight in each hand, if it's too easy add more weight. I'm 167 and I like to do my walks with an 80 in each hand. Try walking about 30-50 metres at a time


Okay cool, that makes more sense.

Dumbbells are the key.

Just get people to grab them, do one walk and then scale as necessary. I just dont see how you could get a group of people any other way.

Good question.

But as someone who has farmers bars and used them. I have yet to see any correlation to lifts to ability in the farmers walks.


Can't help you on starting weight.
But to keep the heavy breathing going when my grip starts going, I shoulder the weight..
It jacks with core in a different way than just carrying the db.


Thanks for the replies. Body Weight seems to be the standard. A warm-up with 75% might be a good way to see where everyone is at. Depending on how that goes I'll figure distance (50-100 yards) and sets (3-5).


Bodyweight each hand for 100 feet is a good goal to work towards, keep breathing constantly and keep your head up as long as you can, when you head drops the rest of your body tends to follow.


Doesn't the farmers walk negate the need for a deadlift standard in this situation?

200 lb guy

Game Changer deadlift = 400 lbs

Game changer farmers walk = 400 lbs for 40 yards

If you are using dumbbells it is a deficit pull to start, which is a much harder lift than a regular deadlift.


If your using dumbbells it's completely different to actual implements so he weights will be much lower.


What's the difference in terms of actually using them?

Weights will be lower with the dumbbells? Or weights will be lower with actual implements?


Nevermind, I think you meant lower, as in, lower to the ground... not like a lower weight.


I'd perhaps look at what the figures are for the different weight divisions of a strongman comp and use those as stepped levels for whichever weight divion your participants fit into?

It's not perfectly individualised, but it does give them an idea of how they stand in comparison to the top level and somewhere to work towards.

For example the under 90kg australian farmer's walk for A grade (below Elite 1 and Elite 2) is 95kg per hand. So about/around bodyweight per hand isn't a bad place to start, but it also isn't particularly good when you consider Elite 2 is 125kg per hand.


Why not just pick a weight and if it's too easy/hard, adjust from there and make progress like any other lift?


That's just crazy. Every knows you have to go on the internet and some guy will tell you the exact weight you need to use. Experimentation is risky business. Why chance it? BTW next week I'm incorporating zercher squats into my routine. Can someone tell me the right starting weight for my first set?


First set should always be the bar and clips only. Use a full ROM and then add weight for your next 2-3 warm up sets (depending on how strong you are.) Hit 3-5 sets in the 5 to 8 range as work sets. Move on to your assistance work to improve that lift. Add weight next week.


Miss the part where this for group training?