It is said that everything eventually comes a full circle, and so is now the case in the world of exercise and fitness. From the basics such as walking to the development of high-end exercise machines that work every muscle of the body, and back to the simple farmer's walk, exercising is now coming back to the basics to keep fit and healthy.
One such basic exercise is the farmer's walk, which is usually identified by a farmer walking while carrying two heavy buckets of grain or animal feed or water in either hand. This kind of walking is known to provide a total body workout, tone the muscles, and keep the body fit and injury free.
Here, we will discuss the exact benefits of this kind of workout, and the method of performing it effectively.
Performing the Exercise
You don't have to go to a farm to be able to perform this exercise. All you need are two heavy weight dumbbells, each of which you hold in each hand, and walk a reasonable distance. The following steps will tell you exactly how to perform the exercise.
- Choose an area to walk on that has a flat, even surface. It should be free of any obstructions.
- Ideally, the weights that you carry should be equal to your body weight. However, to begin with, carry weights that are slightly heavier than those you are comfortable with, so that you can feel the pressure. You may use dumbbells or kettlebells to perform the exercise. As you perform this exercise regularly, you should increase the weight you carry.
- The idea is to carry any kind of weight. You too can carry two buckets of water or sand if you don't have dumbbells at your disposal.
- Place the weights on the floor. Keep your shoulders and back straight, with your feet shoulder's width apart. Now, bend your knees while keeping your back straight, and pick up the weights in your hands by your side. Avoid slouching or you may develop back problems. Wear shoes that can absorb the pressure you are putting on your knees and feet.
- Start walking on the even obstacle free surface up to a distance where you can no longer hold the weights. Ensure while walking that you are exercising your gluteal muscles (muscles in the buttocks) rather than those in your lower back.
Some experts suggest just dropping the weights when you cannot hold them any longer. However, you have to be careful while doing so. Leave the weights, rest for about 30-45 seconds, and start the entire process again. Once you have walked the desired distance, walk back to the starting point in the same manner.
The distance or the weight you carry does not matter as long as you find yourself progressing over time. You will have to start with shorter distances and light weights and then ensure that you increase the intensity of this exercise once you get comfortable with the weights you are carrying and the distance you are walking.
- The first benefit of the farmer's walk is that it strengthens the core muscles. Strong core muscles equal a strong body that is less prone to developing injury.
- You develop a great sense of balance and control over your body by performing this exercise.
- Your stamina and metabolism only increase as you continue doing this exercise regularly.
- The exercise utilizes muscles all over the body. These include those in the arms, shoulders, abdominals, legs, glutes, and back.
- It can be performed by men to develop muscle mass by using heavier weights, and by women to tone their bodies by using slightly lighter weights.
- The farmer's walk also helps develop ankle and grip strength.
To make the most of this walking exercise for physical fitness, combine it with a good, healthy diet, appropriate amount of sleep, and be patient while you wait for the results to kick in. You are bound to achieve results with this great exercise that provides a total body workout.
Disclaimer: Always consult a physician before starting any physical fitness program in order to reduce the risk of injury.