Observations After One Week Of The Farmer’s Deadlift

by Kilo on May 9, 2011

Farmer's deadlift

My pal Sally Moss - Farmer's Deadlift

Yes, more yakking about my Farmer’s walk handles from Stronger Grip. But today I’m going to branch out slightly and tell you about a couple of observations I have made in the farmer’s deadlift, which I have been doing with the handles.

I’m not sure if there is actually a distinction between what I am talking about and what is usually called the suitcase deadlift. In the SD you have one or two weights on your side or sides, you reach down, grab them, and stand up with them. This can be done with kettlebells, barbell, dumbbells, etc.

But as I look around online I see that the farmers deadlift seems identical, with the possible exception that you specifically user handles made specifically for loaded carries.

Either way, here are a couple of notes:

I can lift a lot more on this thing that in conventional pulling

My best deadlift is 560. I suspect that I would be back at about 500 right now if I were to pull a conventional max.

But on the handles I can easily pull 500 for reps.


For one, it is a pull from 17″, verses the approximately 9″ that my bar is from the ground when loaded with a couple of 45 pound plates. Shorter range of motion = more weight. Think rack pulls.

It also allows for a lot more leg drive, especially for taller lifters. I have a hard time “getting under” the bar on the conventional pull. I’m able to stay much more upright while pulling.

Will this carryover to my conventional or sumo deadlift? I have no idea, but we’ll find out. I’m also eager to pull a max with this setup, I just don’t have enough weight at home to do it. I would predict that I’d be able to hit 600 without much trouble, as long as my grip can handle it.

Hand care

The one inch bars without knurling are tricky when the skin bunches up. It is easy to lift heavy weight and see that you’ve been bitten without realizing it until you put the bar down. So far I have not torn any calluses, but I’ve come close without realizing it.

Like most things, this will be a matter of paying attention.



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Patrick Tracy May 9, 2011 at 1:09 pm


I would suppose that experiencing the heavy weight might help someone who had a hitching/ramping problem, but it might not do much for drive off the floor. Because the farmer’s handles swing around a little, I bet they stress all the carriage ligaments and tendons a bit more. Sounds like great fun, in any case.


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