How to Build Farm Strength

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How To Get Farm Strength

Farmers have farm strength. I like to think of farm strength as learning how to handle unstable situations like walking with specific odd objects or learning how to grapple with animals. Growing up before the ages of 12 to 14 your body is essentially preparing for the rest of its life. The body thinks that is what it is preparing for through eternity or at least before leaving this mortal coil. The body is adapting and putting into action all of the mechanisms it believes it needs for survival.


Having kids who grow up doing hard labor, like growing up on a farm, adapting to carrying odd objects, doing different things, and having strength over long periods will lead to long-term development. Let’s look at four key exercises to increase one’s farm strength.

1. Hay Bale Carries

I have to carry hay bales up to my geese and chickens so my family can get cleaner eggs and our geese can have a nice sustained environment to thrive in. Farmers carry odd objects all the time, but carrying hay bales in this scenario plays into nutrition. 


Nutrition is a key factor in farm strength. Kids growing up on a farm learn where their food comes from and they are more active in the cultivation of their food. 


Not only do I get to carry the hay bales to the geese and chickens, but I also get to throw the hay bales over the fence. Throwing hay bales builds rotational strength, requires grip work, and leads to a bigger back.

Farmer strength

Don’t have access to hay bales? Throw sandbags, throw med-balls, and do power cleans. 


Quick aside, I am a hay bale champion. I won a hay bale toss at a local fair. There is a specific technique. The double overhand grip on the chords. You want to pull and push at the same time using the hips, trunks, and shoulders at the same time.

2. Feed Carries

Typically I have to carry 80 lbs bags of poultry feed. I have to carry it in what is essentially a Zercher position. The carry will light up the biceps, upper back, and trunk. At my house, we have to walk up to a farm. 


This is a movement that can be done over a long period. It will help with strength-endurance and posture. Add to that having to figure out how to untie the feed to then feed the animals.


People who don’t have access to a farm can do farmer walks with dumbbells, Zercher carries with a barbell or carrying a 100 lb med ball. Do this over a 5 to 7-minute time frame. The biceps and upper back will be destroyed. All the movements are good at handling odd objects to build that sought for farm strength.

3. Wheelbarrow Push

I have firewood stacked all around my property. We use a log splitter at my house. Picking up the logs lights up my abs and back and grip. But also, when stacking the logs, I have to put the cut wood in a wheelbarrow and then balance and push the wheelbarrow. 


Pushing a wheelbarrow, especially with an unstable load, requires squeezing the traps to create more stability and ensure the grip is solid. A wheelbarrow push helps with dynamic trunk control. Farmers who burn firewood improve their grip strength, and shoulder strength, and become more efficient with coordination throughout the trunk.


Go out and buy a wheelbarrow and fill it with sand, logs, or whatever debris is available to make it heavy and unstable. Sled pushes can help, but it is not quite the same. Farmer’s carries can mimic the wheelbarrow push as well. 

4. Water Carries

Farmers have a ton of patience. Filling up their buckets and planning as to what is going to get done and how it is going to get done requires a lot of thought to get done as efficiently as possible without ending up extremely tired. The patience allows farm kids to become more aware of everything around them, hearing the owls hoot and the blue jays chirp. 


The patience of filling up water buckets leads to having to carry that water somewhere. I have to say that the water is not equally distributed between the buckets. One bucket is typically lighter than the other and requires more asymmetrical balancing. In addition to that asymmetrical loading being balanced, my grip is blowing up, my traps light up, and I am gaining strength and endurance while walking uphill to carry the sloshing water up to the animals.


Farm kids are very successful with knowing there is always an endpoint. Gives them a mental perspective to push and reach for that goal. A skill like this transfers very well to the sporting world.


The water bucket carries, every time I do them, end up lighting my rhomboids, grip, and traps up, creating farm strength. Carrying unstable things is great. To do it in the gym, people can use water bags, buckets and hold them for minutes, or a slosh pipe. Any implementation of such a manner will help develop more coordination, stability, and greater durability to prevent injury later on in life.

Bonus: Wild Goose Chase

Geese are absurdly quick. On top of that, when you scrap with a goose, they come about extremely strong. Guess when they know their life is in jeopardy they are going to fight beak and wing? Chasing a goose trains agility and low-key grappling occurring. There are a lot of different things that go into that people aren’t ready for. The body can’t help but learn the co-contraction movements and the reflexive movements because it is required. 


Geese are extremely agile and also viciously nasty. Geese are pains in the rear end. The dexterity gains are through the roof though when chasing geese. Farmers are wearing boots, not ideal for athleticism and agility, and the ground is uneven. Peripheral self-organization is greatly increased through having to deal with different ground and different landscapes which carries over well for sports performance.  

Recap

I couldn’t catch a goose. I lost.


Farm strength requires a lot of carrying. It also requires a massive back and a titanium grip. But not everyone has access to a farm to build their farm strength. Thankful, there are plenty of alternative exercises that can be executed to build farm strength and creates the swolest of swole traps. 

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Yo, It's Dane

Welcome to the Garage Strength Blog, where it is my goal to provide you with the experience and knowledge I've gained in the strength and conditioning world over many years of learning from both successes and failures. I train elite-level athletes in a multitude of sports from the high school to professional levels, already producing 5 Olympics and 30+ National Champions. If you want to be the next champion I train, check out my strength programs below!

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