The Farmer's Carry is an effective, back-friendly, and deceptively simple abdominal move that's known for completely igniting your core muscles. Want to take things to the next level? Let us present the Farmer's March, a challenging variation that's a step up (literally) in terms of fat burn and core activation.
The Farmer's March burns fat effectively "because you're recruiting a ton of muscles in order to stabilize and move your body," explained fitness coach Nick Leyden, MS, CSCS. You're targeting your abs as you contract, stabilize, and hold your body upright, he explained. Meanwhile, holding the weights in either hand activates your arms, shoulders, and upper back muscles while your legs work to move you forward and hold you up. All of that together, Nick said, puts stress on your body, increases your heart rate, and helps you burn calories both during the movement and afterwards, thanks to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. "The extra calories burned throughout the day will be primarily from your fat stores while you're at rest," Nick told POPSUGAR.
An exercise that burns fat and strengthens your core all at once sounds like a pretty excellent deal to us. Check out how to do it ahead, see the GIF above for more guidance (as demoed by health coach Odelia Silva, CSCS), and add it to your workouts for a full-body, core-focused burn.
How to Do a Farmer's March
The Farmer's March is a walking high-knee combined with a loaded carry (weights in both hands). "Don't go fast with this move," Nick said. Emphasize your leg drive, avoid leaning your pelvis from side to side, and squeeze your lower abs hard as you march.
- Hold one dumbbell in each hand with your arms by your sides. They should be heavy enough that you need to flex your core, arms, and upper and middle back muscles to hold them. (Here's a guide to choosing the right weights.)
- Pinch your shoulder blades back while squeezing your abs, as though you're pushing your ribcage down.
- Bring one knee up as high as you can, keeping your foot flexed.
- Step forward and repeat with the other leg.
- Walk 50-100 feet forward, then turn around to complete one set. Do three to four sets to start.