Lately I’ve become a little more obsessed with strengthening my core, as I think we all should. Why? Because the core acts as a protective corset around our body’s torso, which can help reduce the chance of back pain and injury and promote good stability and balance. Sometimes we become So fixated on having washboard abs and building a six pack that in the end we can neglect our core as a whole. But recently I did a new core exercise that has not only helped with my back pain, but also made my abs hurt like never before – and I’m obsessed!
‘What is this revolutionary core exercise you’re talking about??’ you ask. Well, it’s a farmer’s bag and if you haven’t tried them before then you definitely should. “The farmer’s walk, or farmer’s carry, is a classic strongman move that works a number of different muscle groups, including your core, arms, shoulders, and legs — but it’s also a very effective fat-burning metabolic conditioning move,” says Steve Chambers, Certified Personal Trainer and Gym Manager at Ultimate performance Manchester.
Essentially, the farmer walks a certain distance while carrying two weights, either a pair of kettlebells or a pair of dumbbells. That may not sound as convenient as doing something like the plank, but don’t be fooled. During my training sessions I did a 60m burp with two 28kg kettlebells and, my God, the next day I was shocked by how sore my abs were, as well as my shoulders and triceps. But also because of how tight they felt.
My back pain, while not completely gone, has also improved significantly since these exercises. Steve explains this is because you are constantly focused on keeping your back upright during the exercise, so it can help correct posture problems and maintain a healthy spine. This makes it an ideal exercise for desk workers (which I am), who usually have poorer posture from sitting hunched over in front of a computer all day. Plus, it’s a great functional exercise that can help you perform everyday tasks – such as carrying objects and climbing stairs – So Much easier. Add it to your next core workout and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
How a farmer carries
Here’s an analysis from Steve on how to wear a burp properly:
- Place two kettlebells on the floor, just outside shoulder width
- Bend down into a deadlift position – bend at the knees, lean your torso slightly forward and keep the back neutral – grab the kettlebell handles and stand up
- Push your shoulder blades down, engage your core, and begin walking your set distance
- Look up slightly, as if trying to see beyond the horizon, to maintain an upright posture
- Trouble with grip? Use a pair of wristbands. But don’t be too dependent on them
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