Tip: The Vertical Grip Farmer's Walk

Loaded carries are essential. Here's a new way to make the farmer's carry even more challenging.

A Better Way to Walk Like a Farmer

Being strong means being able to manage heavy weight. That's why the farmer's walk is the foundation for many programs. This loaded carry can be done with anything from dumbbells to kettlebells, but there are two common problems:

  1. Garbage posture. Reinforcing a slouched walk doesn't make you look like a badass in the gym. You end up walking through life looking like Gollum from Lord of the Rings.
  2. The weight isn't being controlled through the walk. Farmer's carries should be like sneaking back into your parents house at 3AM when you're 17 years old: slow, controlled, and light on the feet.

The best way to get good at it is to use a hex bar or trap bar. The bar fixates where your arms should be to focus on the carry. And you can load it up as heavy as you want. The hex bar promotes a proper line of pull on the traps and shoulders and better engages the lats.

Start off your workload with 4 set of 25 yards (two times down and back) with your 15 rep hex bar deadlift weight. Focus on standing tall with shoulder blades in their natural position. A common mistake is to retract the shoulder blades too far back.

If you're looking to really test yourself, try out the vertical farmer's walk.

Rotating the bar will test grip strength, anterior/posterior balance, and scapular stability. Because the hex bar freely rotates in this position, the challenge is stabilizing the weight. Use around 65 percent of normal farmer's walk weight with same distance and set requirements.

David Otey is a strength and conditioning specialist based out of New York City. David has been featured in several major fitness publications on the topics of strength and conditioning. Follow David Otey on Instagram