Better than Cardio
Strength athletes use them. Bodybuilders use them. General exercise enthusiasts use them. But not many think of using farmer's walks for fat loss. This is a mistake.
If you're looking for some new challenges guaranteed to accelerate the metabolism for faster fat loss, do these workouts.
To do a farmer's walk, hold a heavy object – barbell, pair of dumbbells, kettlebells, you name it – and walk a specific distance without ever putting the weight down.
There are a number of ways to carry the weight. The three most commonly used carrying positions are at your sides (suitcase carry), at the shoulders (racked position), and overhead.
Farmer's walk workouts burn fat and increase metabolic conditioning for three reasons:
- They're high intensity. These workouts use heavy loads, which force you to work very hard each time you move the weight. High load = high intensity. The higher the intensity, the greater the metabolic impact.
- They involve the entire body. It's not just about grip strength. You'll brace your entire core to hold the weight while walking. You'll use shoulders, traps, arms, and lats. And all that extra weight will be carried by your legs.
- They demand extended repetitive effort. The workouts can each take over 60 seconds to complete. That's over one minute of high intensity total-body effort. This can accelerate metabolism for up to two days due to the effects of EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption).
They're called the Four Corners Farmer's Walks. There are three variations that you can do to accelerate fat loss, test your mettle, and get the conditioning to outlast the competition.
Each workout requires dumbbells. Use 40-pound dumbbells for each exercise.
1. Bilateral Four Corners Farmer's Walk
Place two cones 20-40 yards apart. Stand at one end holding a pair of heavy dumbbells. Don't put them down until you've finished the entire routine.
- Start at one cone and perform 6-8 reps of a bent-over row.
- Walk to the other end and perform 8-10 cleans. Finish holding both dumbbells at your shoulders in the racked position.
- Still holding the dumbbells in the racked position, walk back and do a set of 6-8 dumbbell front squats.
- Return to the other cone, this time performing 6-8 reps of dumbbell overhead presses. On the final rep, hold the dumbbells overhead and walk back to the start. This is one round.
Perform 2-4 rounds, resting 1-3 minutes between sets.
2. Unilateral Four Corners Farmer's Walk
Use a single dumbbell held on one side of your body. Any time you hold a heavy load on one side of the body, it lights up the core muscles to offset the unbalanced load.
Perform this workout in the same fashion as workout #1.
- Holding the dumbbell in your right hand, perform 10-12 single leg Romanian deadlifts standing on your left leg. Then walk to the other cone.
- Perform 10-12 single-arm bent over rows with your right arm. Walk to the other cone.
- Holding the dumbbell in the single-arm racked position, perform 10-12 reverse lunges, stepping back with your right leg. Return to the other cone keeping the dumbbell in the racked position.
- Perform 10-12 split jerks. Holding the dumbbell overhead, return to the starting cone one last time. That's one round.
Perform 2-3 rounds per arm. Rest 1-2 minutes before repeating the sequence with your other arm.
3. Alternating Four Corners Farmer's Walk
Hold two dumbbells and perform each exercise in an alternating left side/right side fashion.
- Perform alternating single leg Romanian deadlifts, 6-8 each side. Walk to the next cone.
- Perform 6-8 alternating-arm hang cleans. Finish with each dumbbell in the shoulder carry racked position. Walk to the next cone.
- Perform 6-8 (each side) alternating lunges (front or reverse) holding the dumbbells in the racked position. Walk to the next cone.
- Perform 6-8 (each side) dumbbell upper cuts. Walk back to the starting cone carrying the dumbbells overhead. That's one round.
Perform 2-4 rounds, resting 2-4 minutes between.
- Use a weight that's heavy enough to challenge you but not so heavy that you can't complete the entire sequence without dropping the weight.
- Each of the workouts begins in the hip carry position, progresses to the shoulder (racked) carry position, and finishes with an overhead carry. This is done to prevent grip fatigue from interfering with the intensity of the sequence.
- As your grip tires, the carry position of the weight is changed in a manner that requires less from the hands and more from the shoulders and core.
- Take long strides and move as fast as you can during each workout.
- To increase the challenge, either add load to each workout, add reps to each exercise, reduce the rest intervals, or lengthen the distance between the cones.
- Perform these workouts as "finishers" at the end of an upper body emphasis workout.
- Make up your own farmer's walk workouts. The beauty of this system is that you're only limited by your creativity.