Many of us are currently without access to a gym. Meaning we are having to adapt our workouts to ensure we are still taking care of both our physical and mental health. To help you stay healthy in lockdown, wherever you are, we wanted to look at one of the most simple tools for both strength gains and weight loss, loaded carries.
The great things about loaded carries is their versatility. Walking with the weights in your hands (farmers walk), carrying the weight in the crook of your elbows (Zercher carry), holding a weight plate, kettlebells, dumbbells, a bag filled with books or even the EDA Aqua Bag above your head, or the pushing or pulling of sleds are all classed as loaded carries.
These movements challenge the body in ways other more traditional strength exercises cannot. During a weighted carry, the body is forced to stabilise the trunk (isometric tension) while performing dynamic movement requiring force to be produced. Because of this, loaded carries challenge every muscle group in your body producing a huge metabolic demand resulting in a serious calorie-burning effect.
The Farmers Walk
The Farmers Walk is the most easily adapted to fit in with the equipment you might have at home. The key ingredient to a successful Farmers walk is going HEAVY. What is heavy? Well, once you have picked up your weights it should be a struggle to make it 50 - 100 meters without dropping or setting the weight back down. That would be the minimum requirement. How far we travel would depend on our training goal, shorter distance with a heavier weight would be done for more strength gains. Longer distance (up to 100 meters or so) would be done for muscular endurance and fat loss.
After picking a weight that’s right for you, you’ll first want to begin your session by picking up the weight safely. To pick the weight up off the ground safely, half squat - half deadlift yourself down to them with a flat back. Take a breath in and brace (squeeze) your belly, grip the centre of your weights, drive through your feet keeping your chest up and extend your hips forward bringing you to standing position. Pin back your shoulder blades and stand tall, don't lean back. Make sure you keep your belly braced throughout the movement. Once here take small fast steps forward to prevent the chosen equipment swinging side to side and bashing into your legs. Always lower the weights, in the same manner, you picked them up and try not to drop them. Another fun variation is the suitcase carry, which is a single-arm farmer carry that forces you to stabilise your midline, this is killer on the abs and obliques. All the same rules apply here. Just alternate hands instead of using both at once.
If body composition or fat loss is the goal work 4-6 sets of 60-100 meters (roughly 60-90 seconds under tension) carries at the end of your work out. If you are trying to add some muscle on top go a little heavier and perform 4-6 sets of 50-80 meters. If you are just looking to get stronger, 10-30 meters at a real heavyweight for 3-5 sets taking 2 or even 3 minutes of recovery between sets will do the job.
The Farmers Walk is truly one of the best exercises for strength and fat loss. Add this move to your training for 6 weeks and I guarantee you will see results in your overall strength and body composition. As always, let us know how you get on or get in touch if you have any training questions.
Fancy a challenge?
Death by farmers walk!
Mark out 10 meters and have your farmers walk weight and a stopwatch handy.
On minute one walk 10 meters.
On minute two walk 20 meters, there and back.
on minute three walk 30 meters.....
Perform this sequence until you can either no longer hold the weights or you fail to finish the set meters inside the allotted minute round. You will be surprised just how hard this will have you breathing. Retest in a few weeks time to track your progress.
If you are looking for a new piece of equipment that can be used in loaded carries or to add more resistance to your workouts check out the newly launched EDA Aqua Bag. This versatile piece of kit can be used anywhere that you have access to a tap, perfect at home or on the road, it can be used for loaded carries, squats, overhead press, bench, Russian twists and so much more. You can learn more about it here.