What could possibly be dubbed the single greatest exercise? Running? Barbell back squatz? Snatch grip Klokov complex on a Bosu ball? Not even close, I do however present the winner:
How can the most basic fundamental of bipedal human locomotion be the greatest exercise ever? Well there existing two simple reasons, first it is the most basic movement pattern (yes Virginia, more primal than squatz), and second it is infinitely scalable. Anyone, barring the completely infirm, can and should walk. The bigger question is how does one scale walking for an athlete?
The Farmer’s Walk, infinitely scalable for time, distance and weight. Every single voluntary muscle below the jaw line is used, and held in anatomical position. If sufficient weight is used, the facial muscles and scalp will also contort into faces of ecstasy.
“Not for the weak or fainthearted.”
The beauty of the Farmer’s Walk lies both in it’s simplicity and it’s efficiency. Pick it up and walk. Keep your chest up, shoulders down and back, quick feet, and breathe. Heavy walks will test your mental fortitude, when hundreds of pounds of weight hang from your arms, threatening to tear themselves free. When your head hangs low and your shoulders cave forwards. Your breath short and fast. Every muscle and fiber of your body urging you to drop the weight. Then you will know your strength of will.
Anatomy of a Walk
I was planning on writing up a nice long sufficiently academic review of the anatomical processes involved in Farmer’s Walks. Something about erector spinae of a stegosaurus and the wings of a golden eagle. Add in some crap about axial loading of the spinal column and reduced rates of injury via anatomical alignment of the trunk and shoulders. But I’m lazy, you probably don’t care, and just go lift the damned thing.
Go heavy for short distances, like 25-50m, with multiple reps. Go light for long distance or time, 100m-200m, or maybe 1-2 minutes. Can you use it for HIIT or Tabatas? Why yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
Inappropriate short shorts, Check. Approving looks from the neighbors, Check. Double bodyweight, double check.
Build your own.
I built my own handles with an electric drill, 1/2” drill bit and a hacksaw, all for about $70. I used 10 feet of 1-1/2” pipe (cut in half), (2) 1/2” x 2′ all thread bolts, (8) 1/2” nuts, (2) 18” x 1” pipe (or 3/4” for lady hands). I used (4) 1-15/16” shaft collars from eBay for the flanges. Apply common sense to build the thing, I’m not going to make a SolidWorks model for you.
Disclaimer: Farmer’s Walks will not turn you into a farmer, as evidenced by my pitiful herb garden.
– Ian Visible