Strongman Series: The Yoke (Yoke)
The Strongman Series: The Yoke is a series of competitions held every year in various countries around the world. Competitions are held with different weight classes, but they all have one thing in common – the strongest man or woman wins.
There are many reasons why strongmen compete, but it’s not just because they like lifting weights; it’s mainly for financial gain and bragging rights.
In some cases, there are even prizes such as cars and houses. Some competitors go so far as to claim that their competition is stronger than them!
What makes these contests unique is that they’re held under the strictest rules possible. These rules include things like no weapons allowed, no drugs allowed, etc… The only way to win these competitions is through pure strength.
These competitions aren’t limited to just strongmen either. Women have competed too, but they’ve been kept out of the spotlight due to the fact that women don’t typically lift heavy objects as much as men do.
However, if you look at the number of female powerlifters competing in gyms across America and abroad, it’s clear that something needs to change. In any case, women who participate in these events typically lift cars, drag sleds, pull trucks and more.
The Yoke: A Brief History
The yoke is one of the most important tools that a strongman can use when training. It’s essentially a wooden frame that sits on a competitor’s shoulders, and it’s typically between 400-500 pounds when it’s completely loaded up.
Strongmen use this to help strengthen their traps as well as their entire upper body. After all, if you’re going to hold up a heavy yoke, you better have the strength to support it!
The Strongman Series: The Yoke comes in many different designs and styles, but its original purpose has remained the same through the years. In modern day competitions such as the one held at the Strongman Series, the yokes aren’t loaded up with weights.
Instead, they are what’s called “slip seats,” which means the further back you tilt your shoulder, the more weight is added to the yoke. This typically adds up to around 500 pounds on average, but some of the stronger men and women can load up more than 600 pounds!
Due to these weights being so heavy, many strongmen won’t even hold the yoke until it’s time for their event. Instead, they’ll practice with approximated weight to get a feel for the yoke.
When it comes to the day of the competition, they’ll have a small warm up with a light weight so their body can get used to the stress it’s about to endure. For most people, just holding this yoke is enough to cause exhaustion, let alone pushing a heavy object like a truck.
Tips for Competing in the Strongman Series: The Yoke
These competitions are meant to test your strength, so start by training with weights. Whether you’re training for this or another event, make sure you’re always lifting heavy.
However, you’ll want to start slow and work your way up as you get closer to the competition. Don’t try to rush into things and get yourself hurt; you won’t be able to compete if you do.
Many people also train their core in order to get a better grasp of these events. You’ll be standing for a long period of time, so you want to make sure your legs can take the weight as well as your upper body.
You’ll also need a strong core in order to keep your posture straight. If you start to tilt to one side, it’s going to put a lot more stress on your spine than you’d like.
Finally, practice your technique. When you’re at the competition, you don’t want to be figuring out how to hold the yoke.
You should have a solid grasp on it before you even get there. This will also help you with your confidence, as you’ll know you’ve got this event in the bag!
The Bottom Line
The Strongman Series is a great event for those who enjoy lifting heavy objects and showing off their brute strength.
Not many people can say they’ve bent steel or held up a half-ton object over their heads, so what are you waiting for?
Get out there and try your hand at this amazing sport!
Sources & references used in this article:
Comparison of different strongman events: trunk muscle activation and lumbar spine motion, load, and stiffness by SM McGill, A McDermott… – The Journal of Strength …, 2009 – cdn.journals.lww.com
Strongman Series with Travis Ortmayer by T Ortmayer – american-iron.com
Strongman training–a rationale for its inclusion in strength & conditioning: part 1 by A McManus, J Wiles, DA Coleman… – Professional Strength …, 2016 – create.canterbury.ac.uk
Strongman training–a rationale for its inclusion in S&C: Part 2 by A McManus, JM O’Driscoll, D Coleman… – The Journal of the UK …, 2017 – uksca.org.uk
A systematic review of the biomechanical research methods used in strongman studies by BR Hindle, A Lorimer, P Winwood… – Sports Biomechanics, 2020 – Taylor & Francis
A preliminary kinematic gait analysis of a strongman event: the farmers walk by JWL Keogh, A Kattan, S Logan, J Bensley, C Muller… – Sports, 2014 – mdpi.com
Strongman Training (Part 1): A rationale for its inclusion into Strength & Conditioning Practice. by A McManus, JD Wiles, JM O’Driscoll – researchgate.net
Louisville Strongman by M Clevenger – louisvillestrongman.com