The Farmer’s Walk Hack to Forge an Iron Grip

By Don

August 10, 2022


Reading Time: 3 minutes

Stronger Steps With a Farmer’s Walk


The farmer’s walk, also called a farmer’s carry, is as simple as it is effective. Pick up an object with some weight. Hold it with your hand(s). Go for a walk. Try not to set it down. Repeat often. Build serious functional strength and an iron grip.

You can use kettlebells (my preference), dumbbells, sandbags, a trap bar, water buckets, etc… Whatever the weapon of choice is, find something with weight and take some steps. Or if you’re like this guy, carry two Dinnie Stones (combined weight of over 700lbs) as far as you can. He made it 14 feet, 10 inches, setting a world record. 

The farmer’s walk utilizes your entire body. You develop core stability, lower and upper body strength, and a powerful grip. Walking with additional weight also strengthens your cardiovascular system and improves proprioception, which is your body’s ability to sense and react to movement, action, and location

The “As You Go” Option

If a farmer’s walk is incorporated into an exercise routine, it’s typically over shorter distances with heavy weights. The challenge with this is that if you exercise at home, or have a scarce selection of equipment in your gym, you are limited with the weights you can use. And frankly, why pace back and forth in a gym when you can carry weights outside? 
Turn a routine walk into a farmer's walk
I’d like to suggest that you try an “as you go” option, which is to incorporate the farmer’s walk into regular walks you take outside. If you take morning walks, pick up a weight and take it with you. If you already go for walks with your wife, pick up a weight and take it with you. If you go for a walk with your children, pick up a weight and take it with you. If you don’t walk regularly, now might be a good time to start. Be sure to grab that kettlebell on your way out the door. 
For this “as you go” approach, you will need to start with a manageable weight that you can carry over long distances. For men, I’d recommend either a 12kg or 16kg kettlebell to start. Use the same weight for a period of time, either several weeks or up to a few months. Your body will adapt to the load over time, and once the weight “feels easy”, increase the load. While this seems overly simplistic, this “feeling easy” is exactly what will happen when your body adapts to the weight. This is the diligent and patient approach to building both strength and endurance over time. 
This approach has worked in my own progression of the farmer’s walk. After a few months of regularly carrying one 16kg kettlebell during my personal and family walks, the weight started to feel lighter. Then I progressed to a 20kg kettlebell and carried that weight for a few months until that weight felt easier. And now I’m working on a 24kg kettlebell, which is a 50% increase from where I started. 
This “as you go” approach is vastly underutilized but it delivers and is simple to implement. Some ideas: 
  • Start with one weight to carry. For men, I’d recommend either a 12kg or 16kg kettlebell to start, depending on current strength levels.
  • Rest by alternating hands as the grip on one hand fatigues. Try not to set the weight down. 
  • Target 10-20 minute walks while carrying your weight. 
  • Continue with the same weight until it “feels light”. This might take a few months.
  • See if you can get up to 30 minutes. 
  • Add in exercises periodically. I.e., every 2-3 minutes perform 10 swings, or 10 cleans, or 10 around-the-worlds, etc… 
  • Start over with a heavier weight, and begin with 10-20 minute walks. Continue with this weight until it “feels light”. See if you can get up to 30 minutes. 
  • Remember this is “as you go”. I’d recommend 3x a week to start. 
    • Walk in the morning before work to prepare for the day.
    • Walk during your lunch break if you’re working at home. 
    • Walk in the evening to unwind and clear your head.
    • Pray while walking, recite Scripture, listen to a sermon/podcast, etc… 
    • Take your dog, kettlebell in one hand, and leash in the other. 
    • Walk with your wife. Maybe she’ll want to join (my wife will carry her kettlebell occasionally!). 
    • Walk with your family. Push your kids in the stroller in one hand, and farmer’s walk with the other. 

Remember to just start. Get outside, and move!

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