5km Farmer’s Walk

As part of my 12 events in 12 months series, raising money for Cancer Research, I will be trying to complete a 5km Farmers walk with 20kg dumbbell in each hand this afternoon.



The Farmer’s walk is simple – pick up something heavy in your hands, then carry it for a set distance or time.If you are looking for a “functional exercise” to add into your training programme then look no further! Picking up heavy sh*t and being able to move it is pretty handy in all aspects of life and will make carrying the shopping home a breeze!

This move puts the majority of your body’s muscles under major amounts of tension for the duration of the exercise. At 5km I imagine that I am going to be challenged!


As your forearms control your grip on the weight. Both biceps and triceps will be put under stress to stabilise your arms and prevent them your elbows and shoulders being ripped out the sockets. So hand, forearms and arms will be getting pounded!

Back and Shoulders

The muscles in the back and shoulders are heavily targeted, particularly the traps. Your entire upper back has to work against pulling your shoulders, acontinuous contraction to keep your shoulder blades together and down and your chest from collapsing. These muscles must work together to keep your shoulder joints stable.


On top of all that your core has to work to keep you from breaking and crumpling like a £5 note. This is a way to get tighter, stronger abs without doing an ab-specific exercise. The core muscles are hit hard during a heavy farmer’s walk, your back and abs must work to support your torso and the additional weight. Keeping your abs braced is necessary to protect the lower back and stop.


Because the farmer’s walk requires you to walk, you will need your legs to get the weight moving and your cardiovascular system will take a beating if you push yourself.


Typical farmer’s walk events you may encounter are:

  • Max distance covered in 60 seconds (scored by distance)
  • A single timed run of anything from 10 meters up to 40 meters (scored by time)
  • A medley of farmer’s walk mixed in with other carries or events (scored by time)

As you can see from above this is usually quite a short duration exercise with a heavy weight. I am going against the grain here and trying to maximise distance with a moderate weight (20kg each hand). I have no idea how long this will take, how much it will hurt or if I can even manage it. But I will try and try. I have my lifting straps for when grip starts to fail and duct tape just incase I literally have to tape my hands to the dumbbells!

Now you don’t have to go to the extreme to make this exercise beneficial. Generally a good starting point is to divide your weight between your two hands and try this for short distances, aim to improve distance or weight thorughout the weeks. After 6 – 8 weeks you should notice a big difference in your weight, the weight you carry and the distance you travel. Give it a go and improve your general lifting, fitness and grip strength. This is the route I will be following this afternoon, you may find me here for a while!



Thanks for your support and LIFT, LIVE, LEARN

Euan MacNeil


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