5 Tips to Use Farmer’s Walks for Mass Gains

If you want to use farmer’s walks to increase your muscle mass, the first key is to perform 30 seconds of walking with a weight equal to half your maximum deadlift. Studies have shown that the keys to a good farmer’s walk are to take longer, faster strides and reduce your time spent with both feet on the ground. This provides a much greater challenge for your muscles and drives hypertrophy. If you can perform 5–6 sets of heavy farmer’s walks with these rules in mind, you’ll see increases in your muscle mass.

Farmer's walks for mass

Can You Build Mass With the Farmer’s Walk?

The farmer’s walk is an excellent mass-building tool. However, for those of us used to counting sets and reps, dialing in the right weight, duration, and sets of farmer’s walk can be challenging. After all, how can you be sure you’re walking long enough to trigger muscle hypertrophy rather than pure strength or endurance? By carefully controlling time, stride, and speed, the mass-gaining benefits of farmer’s walks can be unlocked.

  • Although it is not a typical “reps” exercise, the farmer’s walk can be optimized as a mass training tool.
  • You can build mass with farmer’s walks by working in half-minute bursts with heavy weight.
  • Farmer’s walks encourage mass increases in your lower body, forearms, and traps.
  • Deadlifts and farmer’s walks work well for compound-movement workout routines

Not only are farmer’s walks great for core strength and grip strength, but they also build mass in your quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, traps, and forearms. Because they work a similar set of muscles as deadlifts, do both exercises on the same day for an excellent lower and upper body mass-building workout.

What is a Good Weight for Farmers Walk When Building Mass?

If you want to maximize the amount of mass you put on with farmer’s walks, start by carrying a weight equal to one-half your maximum deadlift. If you need to calculate your one-rep-max, use this calculator. If you can complete your farmer’s walk workout at this weight, increase it next time you perform the exercise.

  • Start your farmer’s walk at a total weight equal to ½ your maximum deadlift. You will be carrying ¼ your max deadlift in each hand.
  • Increase the farmer’s walk weight in following workouts to drive increased muscle growth.

You need to put your muscles under a heavy load to trigger growth. The standard farmer walk will work your entire body, so you can carry quite a lot of weight. Half your max deadlift may seem like a lot now, but you’ll get more effective at the farmer’s walk as you blend it into your training routine.

What is a Good Distance for a Farmers Walk?

75–100 feet is typically a good total distance for a farmer’s walk. For mass gains, it’s more important to work for a certain length of time with the farmer’s walk rather than cover a specific distance. By walking faster, you increase the amount of work performed. You’ll get a better workout by doing a 100-foot farmer’s walk than a 50-foot farmer’s walk at the same weight.

  • The ideal farmer’s walk typically covers 75–100 feet.
  • The duration of the farmer’s walk is more important than the distance covered.
  • Your farmer’s walk doesn’t have to cover a straight line. It’s okay to turn around during the walk

You may not have 100 feet of straight path available to you in the gym. That’s okay. You’ll still get the same benefits of the farmer’s walk even if you have to turn around once or twice during the exercise.

How to Build Mass With Farmers Walks [5 Tips]

If you’re looking for mass gains, it’s important to dial in the right techniques for your farmer’s walk. Muscle hypertrophy is all about moving heavy objects for the correct number of reps, which exhausts the muscles and triggers them to increase in size. Here are the keys to building mass with a farmer’s walk:

Work for the Right Period of Time

Don’t worry about the distance. Instead, time yourself. 30 seconds is the ideal length of time to perform a farmer’s walk. At heavy weights, this is a grueling exercise. However, the benefits you’ll see in core strength and muscle mass will make it all worthwhile.

Take Longer Strides

A study on the biomechanics of strongman exercises found that higher-performing athletes took longer strides during the farmer’s walk. So, if you want to incorporate functional training practices into your muscle hypertrophy routine, take steps that are as close to your normal walking gait as possible. Longer strides require your muscles to work much harder during loaded carries. If you cover 100 feet of ground with long strides, you’ll get a far better workout than if you take short, choppy steps.

Walk Faster

The same study of athletes who compete in strongman competitions also found that the highest performers moved faster during their farmer’s walk. This is why the duration of your farmer’s walk is far more important than distance. Either way, you’re working for 30 seconds, but if you walk faster and further you’ll work harder. This hard work during loaded carries will push your muscles to their limit, driving increased mass gains.

Reduce Ground Time

This tip goes hand-in-hand with moving faster—spend less time with both feet on the ground. If you’re pausing to steady yourself during your farmer’s walk, you’re taking the strain off your lower body muscles. This cheats you of a workout. Move quickly without pauses. By spending more time on one foot as you walk, your muscles will work harder.

Optimize Sets and Rest

How many of these 30-second, long-stride, fast, no-pause farmer’s walks should you do to build muscle mass? Aim for 5–6 farmer’s walks with 1–3 minutes of rest between. Fewer walks will focus on strength with fewer mass gains. Performing more than 6 farmer’s walks—or walking for more than 30 seconds—will increase physical endurance but won’t make your muscles bigger.

How Do You Use Farmers Walks for Muscle Hypertrophy?

Functional exercises like the farmer’s walk can be tricky to dial in when your goal is increasing muscle mass. However, these simple guidelines will turn farmer’s walks into a hypertrophy super workout:

  • Start by carrying ½ your max deadlift.
  • Perform each farmer’s walk for 30 seconds.
  • Take long strides—aim for strides as close to your normal walking stride length as possible.
  • Walk faster. More speed makes for a more intense farmer’s walk.
  • Reduce time spent with both feet on the ground for a better workout.
  • Perform 5–6 farmer’s walks. Rest 1–3 minutes between walks.

By carrying heavy weight for this duration, you’ll drive your muscles to increase in size. The farmer’s walk isn’t just a strongman exercise—it’s great for bulking as well.

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