10 Walking Renegade Rows
The Benefits of the Farmer’s Walk
On the surface, this movement looks rather archaic. Make no mistake about it, it is. In fact, I would venture a guess that this was the first form of exercise in which man ever partook, except it was called ‘survival’ and not ‘training’. Farmer’s walks are among our most effective forms of isometric training despite the fact we are moving the entire time. For the purpose of motor unit recruitment and strength, isometrics (95%) trump both eccentric (88%) and concentric (89%) phases of movement in terms of the percentage of total motor unit recruitment, (1). Simply put, we are most activated and in use when we are holding weight.
Another reason why isometrics such as farmer’s walks are incredibly beneficial is the amount of time spent under tension (TUT). Farmer’s walks are essentially non-stop near maximal recruitment of motor units with no eccentric or concentric phase, a huge reason why farmer’s walks will help improve just about every lift across the board.
Farmer’s walks are also excellent for our alignment and for the health of our shoulders, specifically our rotator cuffs. They are also the most basic and effective form of grip training one can do, and grip is critical if one has any aspirations for heavy deadlifts, snatches or cleans.
As a core movement, farmer’s walks fit right in with the rest of this list as they are basically planks on steroids as far as tension creation goes.
In my humble opinion, there is no greater tax on the Central Nervous System than the farmer’s walk, making it an almost unparalleled strength movement but also one that should be performed strategically. Understand going into a workout that this will need to be the king of the day and have most of your attention and energy set towards maximizing it.