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Farmer’s Walk Forerunners

Filed under: Exercise Instruction,Exercise Technique,Random,Strength Training,Uncategorized — Shon @ 1:08 pm December 12, 2011

First, thanks to everyone on the positive feedback related to my first published T-nation article, "Quantifying the Farmer's Walk".  Again, the purpose of the article was to give some options that challenge core stability in a more biomechanically friendly way during everyday training.  It was obviously not meant to supplant the traditional Farmer's Walk as a test of strength endurance, but to serve as a way to challenge frontal/saggital plane stability while moving through space. 

I don't write about or espouse the virtues of an exercise, drill or physical therapy intervention unless I have used it myself, and the variations I covered have been implemented with patients, training clients and athletes very successfully.  I'm no historian when it comes to the Farmer's Walk, but I am approaching 30 years as a traditional karateka; Farmer's Walk variations (with large ceramic pots known as "Nigiri Game") have been used for a long time in traditional Okinawan karate systems such as Uechi Ryu and Goju Ryu as Gushi sensei demonstrates below: 

 

Shinyu Gushi going old school with Nigiri Game.  I think I'll pass on fighting him…

Actually Nigiri Game is only a small part of Okinawan karate's "Hojo Undo", or supplementary exercises.  Hojo Undo is basically the Okinawan equivalent of GPP and/or SPP, utilizing paddocks, clay jars, and even rudimentary dumbbells and barbells integrated with traditional stance work and whole body isometrics, such as seen in "Sanchin" kata. 

Hojo Undo implements in good working order at the Higaonna Dojo.   

Getting it done with the Chi-Shi

I have read several interviews with Mr. Gushi (pictured above) and he states he never trained with weights.  Now, we know physiologically and biomechanically that there is massive co-contraction, irradiation, overload and strength being built in the carry performed above, but I don't think I would really get into a debate  with sensei whether or not we were "weight training" with such implements.  Here is a more recent picture that I stumbled upon of Gushi sensei in his late 60's:

 

 

 

Contemplating Age 70 While Simultaneously Opening Up a Can of Whoop Ass!

 

I think a steady diet of what he is doing is better than 90% of what is being done most other gyms.  I also think he probably doesn't have any problems with frontal plane stability, hip mobility or poor glute function.  My guess is that his mid and low traps are well developed, and I bet he never did a proper "YTWL" in his life. 

Again, it goes to show that a mix of basic, biomechanically correct, physiologically taxing training  can bring up just about any weak point that a person has, and that what is perceived as new isn't actually so new.