Category Archives: Farmer’s Walks

Farmer’s Walks for Fat Loss

Farmer’s Walks for Fat Loss
by Nick Tumminello
Farmer's Walks
Farmer’s Walks are among the most “functional” exercises you can do.
Think about it: pick up something really heavy, carry it as far as you can and drop it, preferably not on your big toe. Easy.
Yet in today’s lazy world of moving sidewalks and motorized shopping carts, dinosaur lifts like Farmer’s Walks have fallen out of fashion. They’re difficult, potentially injurious, and you need a lot of spandex-free space to do them. In other words, they’re about DEFCON 5 on the Planet Fitness lunk alarm scale. Which is too bad, cause they’re also one of most effective fat loss and conditioning tools around, as Coach Nick Tumminello will show you.
— Bryan Krahn
It’s no secret that Farmer’s Walks are a great training option for bodybuilders, strength athletes, and general exercise enthusiasts alike. But not many folks know how valuable Farmer’s Walks can be at accelerating the metabolism for faster fat loss. In this article, I’m going to show you how with a little purposeful creativity, you can use Farmer’s Walks to lose the fat and keep the muscle.
If you’re looking for some new fitness challenges guaranteed to have your heart pounding, lungs burning, and muscles pumping all the way to the finish line, then these three Farmer’s Walk workouts are just what the cardiologist ordered!
What are Farmer’s Walks?           
If you don’t know, Farmer’s Walks are where you hold a heavy object like a barbell, a pair of dumbbells, etc., and attempt to walk a specific distance without ever putting the object down.
There are a number of ways to carry the weight. The three most commonly used carrying positions are at the hips (suitcase carry), at the shoulders (racked position), or overhead. Each of the workouts demonstrated in this article use all three carrying positions to create a more comprehensive and well-rounded workout.
What are Farmer’s Walks for Fat Loss?                          
Put simply, Farmer’s Walks for fat loss are a hybrid of two battle-tested methods of metabolic strength training: dumbbell complexes and the Farmer’s Walk exercise.
Why are Farmer’s Walks for Fat Loss effective?     
Each of the Farmer’s Walk workouts featured in this article is effective at burning fat and increasing work capacity (conditioning) levels for three reasons:
1. They’re high intensity – These workouts use heavy loads, which force you to work very hard each time you move the weight. High load = high intensity. The higher the intensity, the greater the metabolic impact.
2. They involve the entire body – Each of the following Farmer’s Walk workouts is based on what I call the “four corners Farmer’s Walk” concept. This involves carrying the weight back and forth between two cones four times. Each time you turn a corner, you perform one exercise for each of the four primary movement patterns: upper body pushing, upper body pulling, leg dominant, and hip dominant.
3. They demand extended repetitive effort – These Farmer’s Walk protocols can each take over 60 seconds to complete. That’s over one minute of high intensity total-body effort. Again, this has been shown to accelerate metabolism for up to two days due to the effects of EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption).
In short, the combination of these three factors will burn a ton of calories both during and post workout; something that morning stroll on the treadmill simply can’t match.
Farmer’s Walks for Fat Loss Workouts          
These are three of the most popular Four Corners Farmer’s Walk variations that I use with my athletes at Performance U to accelerate fat loss, improve mental toughness, and give them the conditioning needed to outlast the competition.
Each of these workouts involves using dumbbells, and I recommend using no less than 40lb dumbbells for each exercise. (I’m using 50lbs dumbbells in the video demos.)
Workout #1 – Bilateral Four Corners Farmer’s Walk
Place two cones 20-40 yards apart. Stand at one end holding a pair of heavy dumbbells. Don’t put them down until you’ve finished the entire routine!
Step 1: Start at one cone and perform 6-8 reps of a bent-over row.
Step 2: Walk to the other end and perform 8-10 cleans. Finish holding both dumbbells at your shoulders in the racked position.
Step 3: Still holding the dumbbells in the racked position, walk back and do a set of 6-8 dumbbell front squats.
Step 4: Return to the other cone, this time performing 6-8 reps of dumbbell overhead presses. On the final rep, hold the dumbbells overhead and walk back to the start. One round complete! You can now put the dumbbells down and find that lung that leapt from your chest.
Perform 2-4 sets, resting 1-3 minutes between sets.
You can view a video description of the above drill on the right.
Workout #2 – Unilateral Four Corners Farmer’s Walk
This is one of my personal favorites because it involves using only a single dumbbell held on one side of the body. Anytime you hold a heavy load on one side of the body and not the other, it lights up the core muscles to offset the unbalanced load. In short, this workout is metabolic and core conditioning all rolled into one comprehensive protocol!
Perform this workout in the same fashion as workout #1.
Step 1: Holding the dumbbell in your right hand, perform 10-12 single leg Romanian deadlifts standing on your left leg. Then walk to the other cone.
Step 2: Perform 10-12 single-arm bent over rows with your right arm. Walk to the other cone.
Step 3: Holding the dumbbell in the single-arm racked position, perform 10-12 reverse lunges, stepping back with your right leg. Return to the other cone keeping the dumbbell in the racked position.
Step 4: Perform 10-12 split jerks. Holding the dumbbell overhead, return to the starting cone one last time.
Round complete!
Rest 1-2 minutes and repeat entire sequence holding the dumbbell in your left arm. Perform 2-3 rounds per arm. Don’t worry, your arms won’t fall off mid-sequence, although having a good orthopedic surgeon on speed-dial might ease your anxiety.
You can view a video description of the above drill on the right.    
Workout #3 – Alternating Four Corners Farmer’s Walk
This four corners Farmer’s Walk workout involves holding two dumbbells and performing each exercise in an alternating left side-right side fashion.
Step 1: Perform alternating single leg Romanian deadlifts, 6-8 each side. Walk to the other cone.
Step 2: Perform 6-8 alternating-arm hang cleans. Finish with each dumbbell in the shoulder carry racked position. Walk to the next cone.
Step 3: Perform 6-8 (each side) alternating lunges (front or reverse) holding the dumbbells in the racked position. Walk to the other cone.
Step 4: Perform 6-8 (each side) dumbbell upper cuts. Walk back to the starting cone carrying the dumbbells overhead.
Round finished!
Perform 2-4 rounds, resting 2-4 minutes between rounds.
You can view a video description of the above drill on the right.    
BONUS Workout– The Kettlebell Great 8 Farmer’s Walk
Call me Fed-Ex because I always deliver! Here’s a bonus Metabolic Farmer’s Walk workout using a kettlebell for your fat-scorching, lung-burning, and muscle-pumping pleasure!
This Farmer’s Walk workout uses a new kettlebell exercise called “heart beats.” I learned this movement from Dan John in his recent DVD series. Dan always puts out great information and his latest DVD series doesn’t disappoint.
Use the same general structure as the previous three workouts.
Step 1: Perform 8 one-arm KB swings using your left arm. Walk to the other cone holding the KB by your side in your left hand.
Step 2: Perform 8 one-arm KB swings using your right arm. Walk to the next cone with the KB in your right hand.
Step 3: Perform 8 KB Snatches using your left arm. Walk to the next cone holding the KB in the racked position.
Step 4: Perform 8 KB snatches using your right arm. Carry the KB back to the other cone holding it in the racked position.
Step 5: Perform 8 push jerks using your left arm. Carry the KB to the other cone holding overhead.
Step 6: Perform 8 push jerks using your right arm. Carry it to the next cone, holding it overhead.
Step 7: Perform 8 two-arm KB swings. Walk back to the other cone while simultaneously performing KB heart beats.
Step 8: Perform 8 more two-arm swings. Walk back again performing the KB heat beats.
One Round Complete! Have a seat and marvel at the Rorschach test-like pile of vomit at your feet. What would Freud say?
Perform 2-4 sets with 2-4 minutes rest between sets.
Coaching Tips
• Use a weight that’s heavy enough to challenge you but not so heavy that you can’t complete the entire sequence without dropping the weight.
• Each of the Farmer’s Walk workouts begins in the hip carry position, progresses to the shoulder (racked) carry position, and finishes with an overhead carry. This is done to prevent grip fatigue from interfering with the intensity and duration of the sequence.
• As your grip tires, the carry position of the weight is changed in a manner that requires less from the hands and more from the shoulders and core. Furthermore, this change in carry position makes the workouts more comprehensive and well rounded.
• Take long strides and move as fast as you can during each workout.
• Ensure progress each workout by adding load, adding reps to each exercise, reducing the rest interval, or lengthening the distance between the cones.
• These Four Corners Farmer’s Walks workout protocols are best performed as “finishers” at the end of an upper body emphasis workout.
Final Thoughts
Although I’ve provided you with multiple, battle-tested Farmer’s Walk workouts, in no way is this article an exhaustive list of what can be done with this “four corners” idea. The beauty of using this system is that you’re only limited by your creativity.
(Alternatively, you might consider buying my Strength Training for Fat Loss DVD to inject some fat-stripping complexes and a few other tricks into your otherwise ho-hum routine.)
I’ve shown you how to take a great idea (Farmer’s Walks) and make it even better! If you hate doing traditional cardio, or just need a good old-fashioned metabolic shock, then these Farmer’s Walks workouts will add some much-needed variety to your workouts.
Got a question or want to post your own Farmer’s Walk routine? Hop on the discussion thread. I want to hear from you!
Treadmill and elliptical machine junkies often find Farmer's Walks incredibly humbling.
Farmer’s Walks are among the most basic, “functional” exercises you can do.
Chicks can be farmers too.
Chicks can be farmers too.
Treadmill and elliptical machine junkies often find Farmer’s Walks incredibly humbling.
About Nick Tumminello
Unconventional Workout — Triceps
Coach Nick Tumminello is a Baltimore Personal Trainer who trains a select group of athletes, bodybuilders, and exercise enthusiasts. Nick is also the Strength & Conditioning Coach for team Ground Control MMA. You can purchase Nick’s Strength Training for Fat Loss & Conditioning DVD through his Blog website.
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PUBLISHED 06-07-10 08:00
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