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Other/Mixed Farmer walks and elbows

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)

Eric Wilson

Level 6 Valued Member
A few years ago I had some elbow trouble -- probably best described as MAPS (Middle-Age Pullup Syndrome).

All better now, but it took a while to recover, and I've been careful not to go all the way to failure with pullups since then.

I'm adding farmer walks to my routine, and I'm wondering about whether this has a similar danger. I wonder because after carrying for so far I start to feel something in my elbow. It hasn't turned into any sort of issue, but I want to know whether this is a significant risk for 51yo elbows.

So for middle-age farmer carries should I go as long as I can? Or is that risky for elbows? Appreciate any opionions and experience.
 
This is totally my beginner/novice thinking. I don’t train any exercise close to failure. I don’t see a value in it but there is always an increased risk. I think no one can guarantee that you won’t develop any elbow or finger related issues if you train farmers carries frequently to failure. I teared my meniscus training one leg box squats training to failure. No one can guarantee which one of your muscles will give up first and when.

I have recently read an article in which the person working on archer push ups popped his shoulder out of its socket. I would not imagine that is possible but it happened to that person…
 
I have elbow pain, but I would think farmer Carries would HELP your issue. My elbow pain started with chin ups and then heavy kettlebell Cleans. At least for me its having the elbow bent, in a pulling moving, that caused the issue. So stretching the elbow should be good. Right?
 
A few years ago I had some elbow trouble -- probably best described as MAPS (Middle-Age Pullup Syndrome).

All better now, but it took a while to recover, and I've been careful not to go all the way to failure with pullups since then.

I'm adding farmer walks to my routine, and I'm wondering about whether this has a similar danger. I wonder because after carrying for so far I start to feel something in my elbow. It hasn't turned into any sort of issue, but I want to know whether this is a significant risk for 51yo elbows.

So for middle-age farmer carries should I go as long as I can? Or is that risky for elbows? Appreciate any opionions and experience.
Same as most things training wise, start light, gradually add time/distance/volume/weight/power.
 
A few years ago I had some elbow trouble -- probably best described as MAPS (Middle-Age Pullup Syndrome).

All better now, but it took a while to recover, and I've been careful not to go all the way to failure with pullups since then.

I'm adding farmer walks to my routine, and I'm wondering about whether this has a similar danger. I wonder because after carrying for so far I start to feel something in my elbow. It hasn't turned into any sort of issue, but I want to know whether this is a significant risk for 51yo elbows.

So for middle-age farmer carries should I go as long as I can? Or is that risky for elbows? Appreciate any opionions and experience.
was the elbow pain on the inside or outside? like a lot of rock climbers, i've had bouts of medial epicondylitis. and those flexor tendons are also heavily engaged in farmer carries, although without the pronation or arm flexion. so yeah, if you dive in too deep and too fast, you could develop issues. as folks above have said, begin light and build up.

i often use them as a warm up before i do fingerboard work. but i also largely avoid regular pullups now.
 
A few years ago I had some elbow trouble -- probably best described as MAPS (Middle-Age Pullup Syndrome).

All better now, but it took a while to recover, and I've been careful not to go all the way to failure with pullups since then.

I'm adding farmer walks to my routine, and I'm wondering about whether this has a similar danger. I wonder because after carrying for so far I start to feel something in my elbow. It hasn't turned into any sort of issue, but I want to know whether this is a significant risk for 51yo elbows.

So for middle-age farmer carries should I go as long as I can? Or is that risky for elbows? Appreciate any opionions and experience.
I've problematic elbows, history of both tennis and golfers tendonitis, and they are definitely aggravated by heavy weights dependent on grip, including farmers walks. I pay strict attention to form and recovery, never exercise to pain on the tendon and preference lighter (for longer) if in any doubt about the safety of going heavier
 
I have 53 year old elbows, soon to be 54, and have no problem with farmer's walks.

So whatever is going on, I wouldn't blame it just on having 51 year old elbows.
 
I have 53 year old elbows, soon to be 54, and have no problem with farmer's walks.

So whatever is going on, I wouldn't blame it just on having 51 year old elbows.
Sorry if I wasn't clear -- I currently have no issues with my elbows. I was just asking whether that was a risk of heavy farmer's walks. Thanks.

51 year old joints is often good reason for caution with new activities, I'm sure you'll agree.
 
Sorry if I wasn't clear -- I currently have no issues with my elbows. I was just asking whether that was a risk of heavy farmer's walks. Thanks.

51 year old joints is often good reason for caution with new activities, I'm sure you'll agree.

Stop worrying and just keep at it if you're not hurt.

Loaded carries aren't high impact plyometrics or something.
 
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I know inside/outside circles with a club have helped my elbows feel good. I took it as the same sort of effect as hanging, like a pulling on the tendons. Farmers walks do the same basic thing, as far as I can see. Anecdotally with my own elbows, of course.
 
I did farmer carries in the past worked up to 175 lbs each hand for short distances.Never had problems with elbows as opposed to pull ups in the past ,which is also luckily not a problem anymore. Heavy farmer walks will ofcourse take care of your grip that is for sure,I see no problem for the elbows anyway so far.
 
I did a multi-week training block that ended with 3 rounds of suitcase carries (aka one arm farmer's walk). Started with 30 seconds per arm, per round, worked up to about 1 min. 30 sec. I had a previous left elbow issue - no problems caused by the suitcase carries.
 
Stop worrying and just keep at it if you're not hurt.

Loaded carries aren't high impact plyometrics or something.
I feel like I have benefited from the experiences of others that were shared on this thread. Sorry if my posing the question seemed unnecessary.
 
I feel like I have benefited from the experiences of others that were shared on this thread. Sorry if my posing the question seemed unnecessary.

Sometimes the best thing you can do in training is just to get out of your own headspace, doubts, and fears.

And just do.

We are all genetically evolved to the live the much harder lives of our ancestors.

Remember your body is resilient, even at age 51 (younger than me).
 
If your elbows are 'cranky' or if you have underlying/subclinical tendinopathy-type stuff then farmers walks can be irritating.

If none of the above they should be protective or beneficial for the joint. Should being possibly the operative word.

I would adopt what I think is a sensible general approach for the no-longer-young trainee and start light, build up slow and pay attention to your body telling you to stop/ease off.
 
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