By Stephanie Van Ness, CSCS
The loaded carry - a general category of which the Farmer Walk is part - vastly expands athletic qualities by developing powerful legs and hips, core strength, a strong and stable back, and phenomenal grip strength.
Programming can vary to maximize the benefits, so sometimes you might carry a light weight a long distance (40-60m), while at other times you might carry a very heavy weight a short distance (10-15m), for instance. According to many strength experts, carrying 0.75 x your own body weight in each hand is a good initial goal for both men and women.
To achieve such a carry, proper technique is crucial. Here are some form tips, reprinted from BreakingMuscle.com, a respected Strongman/strength training resource:
Technique Tips For The Farmer's Carry
Center yourself - Although it might be tempting to "grip it and rip it," make sure your hands are central on the grip. Being a little out of position with the hands can translate into the weights tipping forward or backward substantially. At best, this will tire your grip as you try and get balanced. At worst, one side of one or both of the walks will hit the floor and bring you to a dead halt.
Get solid - Once you center yourself, get solid through your whole body. Squeeze the glutes and brace the core. Get the chest up and sit your weight through the heels. Drive through the floor to pick up the weight. If you pick the handles up in a disadvantaged position, then you'll be at a disadvantage throughout.
Get tall and straight - Get tall by standing up, making sure the hips are open and the shoulders are pinned back. Get straight by making sure standing does not end up looking like hyperextension through the back. Squeeze the glutes and tuck your ribcage in to straighten up. Look straight ahead.
Take small, fast steps - Taking small steps will help to stop the equipment from swinging by your side. But small doesn't mean slow. Move the feet quickly!
Drop carefully - Make a judgment call depending on the type of farmer's walk handles you have. When you get to the end of your run -- with your shoulders burning, arms about to fall off, and grip about to give -- the overwhelming urge is to just drop the equipment. However, if you have to turn around and pick everything up again, taking a second to put the bars down under control so they are in a good and even position to pick up again could be time and effort well spent.