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Thursday, August 1, 2013


One of the best (and worst) things about the internet is the ability to "meet" people from all over the world who share your own particular interests and obsessions, which is especially cool when those people turn out to be quite different from you in ways other than your shared interest and you'd have never crossed paths in any other fashion.

Thus it is that your blog hostess, a city girl so bone-urban that she can tell you how to get anywhere on the T and who is deeply uncomfortable when there's not a CVS in walking distance and who thinks that living far enough from one's neighbors that they wouldn't hear you scream if an ax-wielding maniac broke in is deeply unwise, has become online friends with a lovely weightlifting lady who lives on a farm in Texas and recently asked if she'd ever tried "uneven farmers walks."  Not yet! your blog hostess replied, but they're on the list after reading this article.  Come to find out, Actual Weightlifting Farmer didn't know uneven farmers walks were actually "a thing."  She's only forced to do them when feeding her pigs, because she's carrying a bucket of grain and a bucket of milk and the milk invariably weighs more. Her degree of difficulty is added to by the random cows and chickens that get in her way, attempting to hijack her buckets.  Which is probably more charming than the clueless teenage bros who step right in front of one while farmers walking in the Y.  But I say that as a clueless city girl. Maybe cows and teenagers are equal in their ability to be annoying.

Anyway! I've been farmers walking like it was the key to besting ax-wielding maniacs, kids.  I started a couple years ago when Liz suggested it as a grip enhancer. I continued because it was fun.  I ramped it up after surgery when, as documented, any kind of deadlift movement was off the plate because of my ab weakness and I was looking for ways to add direct trap work.  Heavy farmers walks blast my upper traps in such a way that I swear they are more responsible for my liking how my shoulders look these days than anything else.  My basic move is akin to this guy:

Then, in my quest to build my core strength back up, I discovered the waiters carry:

And then a friend, knowing how enamored I am with the above, sent me that T-Nation article I linked y'all to and since then it's been ALL OVER. I'm doing the one-armed variations.  I've tried the uneven farmers walk (as vouched for by actual farmers, yo!)  And after I reported one of my workouts in number of steps and another friend said she at first misread that as my having farmers-walked up stairs, I've been experimenting with that too.  Yesterday? Up and down a (13 step) flight of stairs ten times while carrying two 25lb kettlebells. Objectively speaking, I gotta say I'm impressed with my bad self for carrying 50lbs up and down 10 flights of stairs without, y'know, having to die afterwards.  I also impressed myself last week when I realized that 4 laps around the perimeter of my gym while carrying the 35lb kbs lasts about minute more than White Wedding, a 4:11 song.  Walking for five minutes straight while carrying 70lbs?  When you weigh 118 pounds yourself?  NOT BAD.  That's not even humble bragging, kids, it's straight up bragging. Deal.

Also? Do farmers walks. They really will help make you strong and fit.



  1. Andrea, this is ABSOLUTELY awesome and thank you so much. In the hope that you have not been reading the silly comments I've left, as I've been reading in chronological order, I cannot tell you how timely this is!

    For reasons that do not bear repeating here, I do not want to go to a gym. I do not have the room in my house to have a gym and I had hoped to be able to make alternate arrangements for some strength training, strictly for the purpose of keeping my bones from turning to dust at an age when that would be truly unfortunate. Long story even longer, my attempt to get a "mobile gym/trainer", failed miserably so today's post is just perfect for me. The videos also help a lot, because I would definitely not want to injure myself. It would keep me from doing the things I actually enjoy.

    See, I thought I was reading your blog just because I like your style but it is becoming so much more. I truly am grateful for help I am getting with a part of my life that I knew I needed to address. I have been procrastinating because it does not appeal to me on any level. Sounds to me like this exercise may meet my needs with a minimum of equipment. Best part, I don't need to interact with anyone (ahem, not that there is anything wrong with that, you know, for those who care for that sort of thing). Thank you!
    As for your ability to carry that poundage around and ALSO up and down stairs, hats off to you! You should hear the language when I have to heave a 50# bag of well, ANYthing, just over the edge of the trunk and drop it at my feet. No way in hell can I actually lift it, not with both hands, not bending, not squatting, not in any way. Wherever it needs to go next, it is dragged on the ground. Maybe in a year or so, that can change.

  2. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah! Strength training has lovely aesthetic benefits and is great for your bones, but having actual functional strength is THE BEST.

  3. OK, I'd heard of the farmers carry thing but wasn't really sure of the benefits and it sounded (whine) hard. But wow, love the simplicity and the fact there are variations and that all you need are dumbells!

    Gonna give this a shot. Thank you!!

  4. Do the two of you have ANY idea how COMFORTING it is for us pansy asses to know that EVEN you, occasionally, think that something physical is HARD? is a quiet "yay" acceptable? is my immaturity showing?

  5. Crabby, the simplicity is definitely a plus. No worrying about form: as long as you keep your spine tall and shoulder blades back, and don't lock your elbows, you're golden. And there's no "failing." If you can't hold onto the weight anymore, stop and put it down. Nothing skeery, you know?

    Dlamb, I think 90% of the physical things I do are hard :-D I'd hate to give the impression that the gym *isn't* a place of grimacing, sweat, and bad words a majority of the time.