A Couple Of Quick Thoughts On Farmer’s Walks and Safety

by Kilo on May 6, 2011

Since I got my Stronger Grip Farmer’s walk handles a few days ago, I have done little else. The fact that I can’t leave them alone has forced a couple of questions on me, that I think could benefit anyone who is doing heavy loaded carries, or plans on getting into it in the future.

Note: picking up a weight in any fashion and walking with it is a loaded walk. Most of what I’ll discuss below is particularly focused on the walk while holding a weight at arm’s length.

1. Shoulder alignment

I try not to let my shoulders get yanked forward, or allow them to creep forward on me. If I do it, my neck starts to jut forward and I get dragged onto the balls of my feet. This happens when I get more fatigued than I plan on, so I try to set things down just before that begins to happen.

Getting dragged too far in the other direction doesn’t feel great either.

2. Neck alignment

When you start going heavy I would either film yourself or ask someone to watch where your head sits. This is just a generalization, not a discussion of “perfect” form. But when I have 200 lbs in each hand and my neck gets too far ahead of my body, when I put the weight down the base of my neck aches.

Again, too much neck extension isn’t good either, so don’t let the weights get away from you, knock your balance off, and suddenly find yourself staring at the sun while carrying hundreds of pounds.

The feet

So far, my feet are more sore than my traps. I usually wear Vibram Five Finger shoes when I lift, but they haven’t treated me well with the loaded walks. The next day the soles of my feet and the balls of my feet were feeling like they had taken some pressure bruising.

The weight wasn’t as heavy as when I deadlift, but there are so many steps, and so much bilateral resistance during the act of walking that they were obviously exposed to something they weren’t used to.

I don’t feel it nearly as much with my Chuck Taylors.

Achilles Tendon

If I go too heavy, my steps get very plodding. There’s probably about a millimeter of space under my feet when I walk. If I got knocked off balance or decided to make things more challenging by trying to elevate my heels, my achilles would absolutely scream at me when I would finish.

So now I am experimenting with weights that let me comfortably go into plantar flexion (think pressing the gas pedal) and cuts down on the clomping, my-feet-are-cinderblocks effect when the weight gets heavier.

As always, experiment, test, find out what works for you, and avoid any unnecessary pain.




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