Saturday, July 6, 2013

Farmer's Walk workout with my daughter

I went for a farmer's walk around the block with my oldest daughter today. I like including the girls in my workouts whenever I can, just because it's fun. The weights were pretty light at 115 per hand but I let her dictate the distance (within reason). That lets her feel important. I told her she was my coach and my spotter.

It also lets me feel like I don't know for sure if I'm going to make it back home with the weights. I need to push myself into that realm of self-doubt periodically. I can't do the whole comfortable, easy, never lifting to failure, never missing a rep thing. Not as my main style of training anyway. To me, strength needs to be as much mental as it is physical, and workouts don't become mental until you've pushed well past your physical comfort zone.

My favourite way to train the farmer's walk is with much shorter distance carries and at least 100 lbs more per hand. A lot of sets of about 20 to 25 paces each. I don't usually bother counting the sets but typically I'll do between 10 and 20 of them. That's the best way I've found to increase my numbers on paper with the farmer's walk. I'll use enough weight that 20 steps isn't easy, but I never go very far from the house so I always know I'm not going to end up stranded somewhere. I also always have chalk and water nearby and that takes a lot of the fear away too. When I'm thirsty I  take a drink, when my hands get slippery from the sweat I grab some more chalk. No worries.

Going for long distance carries is very hard on the skin of your palms and fingers. The more you sweat, the more you'll drop the weights and have to pick them back up again. And if you tear a callous, you still have to keep going unless you want to abandon your weights a block away from your house so some other asshole can steal them for himself. And for obvious reasons it's tough on your mind too.

Mental toughness is very important to me. Physically, I tend to be outclassed in the majority of competitions. Men's lightweight classes in strongman tend to go up to 220 or 230. Sometimes there won't even be any weight classes. The next contest I have coming up doesn't have any weight classes. The only stipulation is that you can't have ever placed in the top 12 at the Provincials. So I'll probably be the smallest male competitor there and I'm usually among the smallest anyhow. With boxing it was the opposite. I was too big for my weight class because of my background in weight lifting so all my sparring partners had a massive reach and height advantage on me. In both cases the only edge I have is mental. I'm willing to push myself beyond what most people will consider too painful or too dangerous to continue.

Anyway I had a good time with my daughter today. Hopefully she wasn't too bored to want to do it again. No pictures or videos today.

I finished with high rep curls, wrist curls and reverse curls using my axle bar and my wedding ring barely fits right now. All the callouses of both hands are raw.


  1. Love that picture of popeye. Bodybuilding would be a lot more interesting if symmetry and proportion were irrelevant and only the weirdest physiques won. I'd like to see someone who has only ever worked out one side of their body. What a freak.

    The plan for my daughter is gymnastics. I'm just going to pop some gymnastic moves in front of her when shes old enough to be impressed and then hopefully she'll want to copy. Once she's felt the glory of being able to do stuff in the playground that none of the other kids can then she'll be hooked. Fighting and strength training will come later and they're probably not the best introduction for a child anyway. Kids are always impressed with gymnastics whereas they may be uncomfortable with aggression at first and have no concept of what it takes to lift a heavy weight. That's my theory anyway. Not that I'm a great gymnast or anything. Managed to get full splits back recently after a month of practice though. Hadn't done them for a decade since TKD.

    1. Doing the splits is like riding a bike, I've found. No matter how long it's been, it never takes more than a few weeks to get them back.

  2. I've often daydreamed about a scenario where chalk is banned from competition and instead serious competitors carve little ridges into their calluses to help their grip.