Treadmill farmer’s walk: How to do it and benefits of building strength by walking with weights | Tom’s Guide
Treadmill Farmer’s Walk:
Advantages This exercise targets a spectrum of muscles, including shoulders (deltoids), arms, back, chest, core, hip flexors, glutes, and legs. Few muscles remain dormant when walking with added weight; gripping a kettlebell (or equivalent) in each hand transforms a simple walk into a full-body workout.
So, what happens when you introduce a treadmill into the equation? The treadmill introduces an element of control to the farmer’s walk, enabling you to experiment with speed, interval training, and incline/decline settings. Limited space? No problem. You can extend your walking distance or duration, making it an ideal fit for home workouts.
Moreover, the treadmill allows for a targeted approach to muscles. On an incline, your hamstrings take center stage, along with posterior chain muscles such as the lower back, glutes, and calves. On a decline, the focus shifts to knee extensors and quads, complemented by stabilizer muscles that aid in descent control. Depending on your treadmill’s capabilities, you can essentially replicate a hike while holding weights.
If you’re new to this exercise, opt for lighter weights to ease into it or prefer brisk walking for cardio benefits. Alternatively, challenge yourself with heavier weights for strength training.
Whether on a treadmill or not, the farmer’s walk epitomizes functional training and compound exercise, targeting multiple muscles simultaneously and reinforcing movement patterns and posture essential for everyday activities like carrying bags or groceries. If you appreciate isometric and isotonic exercise, the farmer’s walk offers both—activating shoulders and core without lengthening or shortening (isometric contraction), while your legs propel the movement (isotonic contraction).
Curious about my week-long experiment with the farmer’s walk? Here’s what transpired.
How to Execute the Treadmill Farmer’s Walk Follow these steps:
Stand on your treadmill, grasping two kettlebells (or equivalents) in each hand.
Engage your core, lowering both shoulders to create a sturdy pillar with your body.
Set an incline or decline percentage (if available) based on your preference.
Aim for a speed of 2-4 mph and commence walking with control, maintaining a braced stomach without rounding your back.
Common Mistakes in the Farmer’s Walk Avoid these pitfalls:
Tucking the pelvis
When struggling with the load, individuals often make the mistake of rounding the upper back and tucking the pelvis. In such cases, reduce the weight and focus on maintaining a long spine. Imagine someone pulling a string from the crown of your head as you walk.
As the farmer’s walk challenges shoulder muscles and forearm/grip strength, fatigue can lead to rounding shoulders (internal rotation). Counter this by keeping shoulders down, opening the chest, and promoting good posture during the walk.
Resist the temptation to lean to one side, especially if using unilateral training. Stabilize your hips, avoid weight dragging, and maintain an upright chest. Decrease weight if necessary.
Variations of the Farmer’s Walk Experiment with these variations:
Incline Treadmill Farmer’s Walk
Increase the treadmill incline and ascend uphill. Maintain proper posture to target hamstrings, elevate heart rate, and achieve strength and calorie-burning benefits.
Decline Treadmill Farmer’s Walk
Opt for a decline to emphasize quads and front-load your body. Control the descent to activate stabilizer muscles, including core, hip flexors, and glutes.
Backward Treadmill Farmer’s Walk
For an added challenge, turn around and walk backward with weights. This engages the glutes, enhances joint stability, and reduces pressure on the knees. Experiment with incline or decline if feeling adventurous.
Single-Arm Kettlebell Treadmill Farmer’s Walk
Walking with weights unilaterally improves coordination, balance, and strengthens both sides independently. Avoid excessive leaning and choose a weight suitable for both sides.
Final Thoughts As you age, prioritizing robust bones, joints, and muscles becomes vital to counteract age-related conditions. The farmer’s walk facilitates this by loading bones and muscles, prompting a response that adds mass—known as bone loading.
To incorporate the treadmill farmer’s walk into your routine, set a target for steps, distance, or time. Explore multiple sets, incorporating rest breaks for recovery and reset. If partnered, alternate between the treadmill and farmer’s hold (holding weights in a stationary position) for a comprehensive workout. This dynamic approach allows for seamless transitions between isometric (non-moving) and isotonic (moving) exercises, promoting overall strength development.
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