The following content is a part of our STRONG & FAST functional training program collaboration and video series led by Olympic athlete Ryan Hall. Tune in all month long for exclusive training, nutrition, and lifestyle content courtesy of Ryan Hall to help make you unbreakable.
Heavy farmer's carries could arguably be THE best race-prep exercise and workout that a Spartan can do. Pull-ups or dead hangs are way up there on the list — there’s no arguing that — along with push-ups, squats, and burpees, but there’s something really special about the farmer's carry.
What’s driving our extra bit of enthusiasm over the farmer’s carry is that it’s such a huge component of former long-distance runner and two-time Olympian Ryan Hall’s training routine. Here’s why that matters so much.
Why Farmer's Carries Are Essential for Obstacle Course Racing Prep
Ryan Hall completely dominated marathons. He holds the U.S. record for fastest marathon time by an American. That’s FAST. But after retiring from running, he piled on 50 pounds of muscle and can now deadlift 530 pounds. That’s strong. Ryan Hall has clearly cracked the code on being STRONG & FAST, and that should excite any Spartan.
It makes perfect sense for a farmer’s carry to be a training staple. It’s so basic, but such an absolute killer of a workout. Bend over, pick up something heavy, and then carry it — just like you do in a Spartan race, and even in everyday life. Your quads, hamstrings, glutes, biceps, lats, traps, rhomboids, deltoids, and just about everything else are completely on from start to finish.
During a race, it's usually the grip that starts to go first, mainly from the sheer exhaustion of all of the muscles in your forearms. Sometimes it’s the traps, and other times — if you’ve been moving relatively quickly — you might be a bit winded. There’s also something oddly satisfying with the feeling of delayed fatigue that sets in a few seconds or even minutes after putting the weight down. That’s your body saying, “Wait, what just happened?” Regular farmer's carries will help prep your body for each of these scenarios out on the course.
How Ryan Hall Does His 'Fitness Walks'
Ryan does farmer's carries two times per week in between his traditional strength training days. He fills up his 7 gallon water jugs (about 62 pounds each), walks out of his garage into the driveway, through the gate, and up the hill along a rugged trail all of the way until he reaches a small road. Then, he’ll turn back and and keep going for about 20 minutes, only stopping for short breaks when absolutely necessary. Oh, and he does it all at an elevation of about 7,000 feet. Sea level Spartans likely feel that one.
To start adding farmer's carry workouts into your routine, check out our STRONG & FAST training program collaboration with Ryan Hall.