I’ll cut right to the chase and tell you the answer is yes – you can AND SHOULD do farmers walks every day. The farmers walk is one of the best exercises you can do on a daily basis. People who do farmers walks regularly always seem to have huge traps, forearms, and calves – coincidence? Not likely!
In fact, when I’ve ever been trying to help someone pack on overall mass and strength, farmers walks is something I include in their routine every single time with great results.
But what makes farmers walks so good?
What muscles get worked?
Does doing farmers walks every day mean you’re “over-training” those muscles?
Will doing farmers walks every day not cause joint problems?
Are there any good alternatives?
In this article, I’ll explain exactly why I love the farmers walk so much, why you should do it every day, and how to do it daily without experiencing joint pain or over-training.
Why do the farmers walk?
I have already explained what the farmers walk is in another article. Basically, it’s where you pick up a heavy object in each hand and walk, like a farmer carrying two bails of hay. That’s it.
While it is a very simplistic movement, the farmers walk is extraordinarily effective for building overall size and strength.
First of all, there’s the muscles directly worked doing the farmers walk: your traps, forearms, and calves. If you’re doing farmers walks properly – with a moderately heavy weight for a good distance – then these muscles will be in absolute FLAMES by the time you’ve done 4-5 sets.
Then there’s the muscles worked indirectly by the farmers walk: your shoulders, abs, obliques, lower back, lats, rhomboids, triceps, and quads. Not many people really feel these muscles being worked then they do farmers walks, but they most certainly are being worked. Try doing heavy farmers walks after training your legs and abs, and you’ll feel the strain in your quads and core alright!
Then there’s the movement pattern the farmers walk teaches: moving under load. This is not something your average gym-rat trains. Everything is extension and contraction. Even static holds are rarely done in your average gym.
Farmers walks therefore train a movement pattern that your body is not used to, but one which is incredibly useful in real life, and one which will lead to new growth if utilized.
Placing the body under load, maintaining tension in a few muscles to keep the load where it is (tightening your core and gripping the handle), and then moving – this is a movement your body will not be used to unless you do heavy manual labor. As such, the new stress placed on your muscles will stimulate new growth.
Not only will the new kind of stimulus lead to new muscle growth, but placing your body under heavy load like this will promote stronger bones and stronger connective tissues.
This might sound counter-intuitive, which brings us neatly onto the next section.
Farmers walks and joint health
Do farmers walks damage your joints?
Intuitively, it feels like they would. But if done properly, farmers walks can actually promote stronger joints and stronger bones. You just need to make sure you’re doing farmers walks correctly.
Follow these steps and you’ll avoid joint pain while doing farmers walks on a regular basis:
- To begin with, choose a sensible load
- Pick a load you can walk with for 25-50m – THIS ISN’T THE DEADLIFT!
- Make sure you pick the weight up from the knees, and keep your back straight while
- you walk – NO HUNCHING!
- Execute your muscles while doing farmers walk to ensure they are taking the brunt of the strain
- Head up, eyes front the whole way
- Shoulders pinned back
- Once your muscles are exhausted, stop; don’t let your connective tissues start taking the strain
- Increase the weight in tiny increments only after you have successfully increased distance
- Once weight is increased, reduce distance and work back up to 60m MAXIMUM
Stretch after training, and warm up properly with other movements
Following these steps will ensure that maximum load is placed on your musculature and not your joints.
So does this mean farmers walks are safe to do every day? Is it even beneficial to do farmers walks every day?
Doing farmers walks every day
I strongly recommend doing farmers walks every day for building muscular size, muscle density, tensile strength, and bone density.
Plus, being able to carry heavy things for long distances is about as manly as you can get – be honest, that’s why you want to train farmers walks!
Doing the farmers walk every day (or every training day at least) will give you a nice full body movement to finish off your workouts.
It offers a way to train slightly different movement patterns than the rest of your workout probably focused on.
This will promote muscle growth and muscle fiber density growth in a whole new way, as well as developing a different kind of strength.
You just need to make sure you are doing farmers walks correctly – see my checklist above and you’re all set!