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WARNING – Farmers Walks Will Wreck You!

After correcting some really poor form in a few recent finishers with my athletes, I had the idea for this article. I knew if my athletes were having problem, that many trainers or people who love to train, might be having the same problems.

Tell me if you’ve seen this?

It is the end of the workout and your athletes are tired. They’re running the conditioner at the end that includes farmers walks.

Their moving the weight and going through the motions, but something isn’t right. They’re shoulders are slumped and rounded forward. They’ve lost integrity and stability in the upper back and they’re missing one of the major benefits of farmers walks.

“Fatigue makes cowards of men.” – Vince Lombardi

Yes, farmers develop insane mental toughness and dynamic support grip strength. But what about strength endurance of the upper back stabilizers, reinforcement of good thoracic extension, and development of good diaphragmatic breathing under stress.

Assessment of the athletic is not only when they walk into your facility or during their warm-ups, it happens continuously throughout the workout. As fatigue sets in, you HAVE to make sure you are always cuing them back to good form.

Sure, the set starts off great with good posture and with the athlete confident.  But watch closely, as they get tired, the shoulders start coming forward.

Let’s look at a fatigued athlete performing farmers walks.

He is loose across the upper back and he is letting his shoulders fall forward. What are the ramifications? Reinforcing bad posture, preventing proper respiration, lost of proper position of the scapula, potential rotator cuff inflammation? So much stuff is happening just because the athlete got tired and lost his position.

Also, think about this. If you perform farmers walks correctly, they will help to improve your posture. Cuing the athlete to pull their chest through and shoulders back will immediately improve their position. It will also get the low traps firing better to dynamically stabilize and improve the positioning of the scapula.

“Fatigue makes cowards of men” but it will also wreck your sh*t if you’re not careful. Always be looking at how the athlete’s are performing exercises especially near the end of the set or end of the workout. Focus on quality over quantity and terminate the set if proper positioning and technique cannot be maintained.

To help train proper posture, here is a simple posture correction drill I came up with using elastic bands.

Simple Posture Correction with Elastic Band

By on July 13th, 2012


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Comments (6)

  1. Posted by - Trlyvere on July 13, 2012

    Is it true that the actually help shoulder health when done right.

    • Posted by - Smitty on July 14, 2012

      Of course it is true. They help to dynamically engage the scapula stabilizers and provide tractioning of the fingers, wrists, elbows and shoulders.

  2. Posted by - Lou on July 14, 2012

    Jim, great and very timely article! I cue my athletes in the same manner for shrugs and its many variations as you do here for farmers walks, just wondering if this was correct. So often ppl perform shrugs with rounded shoulders, wrist straps, and move the bar what seems like a milimeter and let it drop back down. every athlete gets so sad when i have them drop the weight, put on fat gripz (no straps), utilize correct posture and hold the top position for at least 2 seconds.

  3. Posted by - Jeremy on July 14, 2012

    Great point and I have seen this with those that want to keep pushing after being fatigued.

  4. Posted by - Anaerobic Warrior on February 12, 2013

    My gym does not have room for Farmers Walk. So I just hold two heavy weights(I call it “shopping bags” or “suitcases”) and I feel great. Actually get the V-shape and pump like rows or pulldowns.

    Sometimes I stand in front of dumbbell rack and take ten steps each leg, one backward, one forward each leg to mimic walking. Best I can do at small crowded gym.

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