Muscles Targeted:

The kettlebell farmer’s walk involves several different muscle groups, making it an excellent strength building exercise to include in your CrossFit workout. Since it involves gripping two kettlebells throughout walking portion of the movement, the muscles in the forearms (flexor muscles) and wrists are given a significant workout. Continuing with the arm muscles, the shoulders (deltoids) and upper back muscles (trapezius) are developed as they stabilize the kettlebells. In the middle of your body, the core muscles contribute to the exercise by helping bear the weight of the kettlebells. Finally, several large leg muscles are involved while performing this exercise since you are walking during its entire duration. The gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves all work together to enable you to successfully complete the motion.

Exercise Instructions:

  • Start with the kettlebells on the floor, spaced apart so that you can stand comfortably in between them, without having to reach too far sideways to pick them up.
  • Stand, with your legs shoulder-width apart.
  • Keeping your back tight, reach down and grab the handles of the kettlebells.
  • Hold the kettlebells by keeping your arms completely straight and letting them hang down at your sides.
  • The kettlebells should be held at the same height so that one is not higher or lower than the other.
  • While keeping the correct posture with your shoulders back, chest out and back flat, begin walking forwards for a predetermined distance that is adequate to your level of fitness (this might be 20-100 feet depending on the space available).
  • Once you reach the end of the specified distance, turn around and walk back to your initial starting position.
  • Upon your return, place the kettlebells back on the ground, ensuring that you keep a straight back while doing so.
  • This completes one full repetition. If you will be doing multiple repetitions, do not place the kettlebells on the ground and simply keep walking with them to complete all of the reps before placing them on the ground.

Things to Avoid:

When lifting any heavy weight, doing so with incorrect posture, such as bending the back too far forwards (rounding the back) places too much pressure on certain sections of the spine and can cause injury. Therefore, when lifting the kettlebells up from the ground, it is important to keep your back straight and tight. It is also important to keep the shoulders back and well supported while walking with the kettlebells. The weights involved demand a lot of work from your shoulder muscles. To support the shoulders adequately, activate your upper back muscles and keep your biceps and triceps contracted (flex them) while doing this exercise. When walking back to the initial position, it is important to remember to keep your back straight and place the kettlebells carefully on the ground after all of the repetitions have been completed.

Reps and Sets:

There are two factors to consider when planning your kettlebell farmer’s walk workout routine. These are distance and weight. Beginners should always begin by choosing kettlebells that are very light weight. This will allow the beginner to concentrate solely on developing proper technique. Maintaining proper posture, which means keeping your shoulders back and not crouching over while doing the exercise, it extremely important. Furthermore, a light weight enables the beginner to walk a longer distance, which benefits the cardiovascular system even more. One option is to choose a relatively light weight, and walk 40 feet (20 feet forwards, 20 feet back) for a total of 3 sets. Once you are comfortable doing this distance with this weight, you can increase the distance to 45 feet during your next workout. Choosing a heavier weight with this movement will help to develop strength while engaging the muscles in the upper body and lower body while also increasing grip strength.