With all the equipment available at the gym, it may surprise you that one of the most useful strength moves requires nothing more than a set of weights. We’re talking about the loaded carry, which can be done in a variety of ways—shouldered, unilaterally, overhead. It mimics movements in your everyday life. Hoist a bag of dog food onto your shoulder, or schlep a load of groceries, and you’re doing a loaded carry. And the farmer’s walk is the one to master first.
“By adding it to your workouts, you’ll improve your grip strength, endurance, and overall health,” says Jon-Erik Kawamoto, of JKConditioning in Newfoundland, Canada.
It also works to counteract poor posture—a result of sitting at a desk all day—since stabilizing the weights in your hands while standing tall engages your core and shoulders. The best part about the farmer’s walk may be its simplicity. Just pick up a pair of kettlebells or dumbbells (start with moderate weight, about 40 pounds), and walk. Keep your chest up, head facing forward, and don’t let the dumbbells rest on your body—that would make it easier on your core and arms.
How to Choose the Right Kettlebell Weight
Because it is fairly taxing, both on your muscles and aerobic capacity, save the farmer’s walk for the end of your workout. “Put five minutes on the clock, grab the heaviest weights that you can handle, and walk around as far as you can,” Kawamoto says. “Put the dumbbells down as you need to, but try to rest as little as possible.” Bonus: You’ll notice pretty quickly that all your lifts and rows get stronger. Not bad for taking a stroll.
HOW TO DO IT
1. Stand tall with a weight in each hand. Maintain a tall chest, retract shoulder blades, and keep weights from resting on thighs.
2. Walk forward, using choppy, heel-to-toe steps. Ensure that your head is facing forward and your posture is rigid.