You close your eyes and visualize the task at hand. A breeze hits you as you open your eyes and look at the finish line fifty feet in front of you. But from the starting line it seems like an eternity away. The weight below surrounds you and you take in a long deep breath filling your belly as you reach for the handles. You brace your muscles and become tense. Your hands wrap firmly around the handles and as your feet dig into the concrete, you pull and the weight elevates off the ground. With 250 lbs in each hand, you try not to think about it. All you see is that finish line and focus on getting the weight there. Each step is grueling and long. Your hands holding on for dear life, your shoulders being ripped apart and your spine slowly curving with each step by gravity, wanting to pull your body to the floor. You press on, one foot in front of the next, barley breathing and barley holding on. As you tighten your grip, your vision begins to blur around you, focused on crossing that line. All you hear is yourself chanting "keep going, just a couple more steps, don't you drop this not now you're right there". As the handles glide over the finish line your hands finally give out and release the weights. You take your first clear breath in the thirty seconds. The longest thirty seconds you have ever felt. Your shoulders relax and your spine straightens out. You raise your fist up and let out a roar of satisfaction. You turn around to look at what you have accomplished and suddenly that 50 feet doesn't seem so far. Congratulations. You have just performed one of the most functional strongman events ever, The Farmers Carry.
The Farmers Carry got its name because, well, that's how real farmers carry buckets, crops, and even live stock around. They use all sorts of implements and carry everything from buckets to baskets and even nets with crops or live stock inside. Farmers had to carry these things for great distances, whether it was to the truck, to the barn, or even around the market place. We still do this today in our every day lives which is where we got the term "functional strength" from, meaning things we can do in the gym that apply to every day activities. Now I know what you're thinking... One: I'm not a farmer and Two: why would I need to carry 250 lbs in each hand anyway? Well it doesn't matter if you're a famer or not. You still carry things all the time such as groceries to and from your car or house. After carrying much more than needed to get around for every day life, that grocery trip doesn't seem so bad.
The Farmers carry in Strongman today is usually preformed by carrying a certain amount of weight for a certain amount of distance and having to complete within a set amount of time without dropping it. Back in the old days when the event first came to Strongman, there was no time limit and no exact distance. In fact, the only thing that stayed the same was that competitors would have to lift the same weight. Whoever carried it furthest would win, again, no drops allowed.
Nobody wants to make a second trip to collect groceries from the car. You pack your hands full of as much as you can carry and try to maneuver your keys out of you pocket and into the door. This task may seem surprisingly easier to you after carrying 100 lbs in each hand. You can load all the bags in one hand with ease and have your other had free to close your trunk and unlock the door!
The Farmers Carry can be done without the use of actual strongman farmers walk handles. All you need is a kettle bell, dumbbells, weight lifting plates, and even bumper plates if you want to work your grip strength. Just pick up weight and start walking. You can also train Farmers Carry misloaded, meaning with uneven amount of weight on either side, to build stability in your walk. Just make sure to hit both sides the same. There is another kind a Farmers Walk which is also known as a suitcase carry.
As you can see this also comes in handy for day to day actives such as traveling and carrying around your little bundle of joy from place to place. The Farmers Carry is known as the most functional strongman event because of all the ways it can apply to everyday situations. Most importantly, it applies to each and every individual no matter what age or sex. Get out there, put one foot in front of the other, and do some Farmers Walks. I guarantee all those groceries or your unwieldy suitcase will seem like a piece of cake.