T Nation

Increasing Yoke Walk Strength


#1

As I said in an earlier thread, I hurt my back this week attempting a yoke walk for the first time. I hurt my middle back and it has become very apparent to me that I need to increase my back strength, specifically being able to stand up with good posture with weight on my back. I'm sure this weakness has contributed to my terrible back squat (my BS is only a few pounds more than my zercher, which I recently hit a 300lb PR).

Oddly, I have a very good strength with it comes to farmers walks or keg carries, but for some reason having weight so high on my back makes my posture go to shit real fast.

Im looking for exercises I can do to fix this weakness. My training partner wants me ready for competition by November.


#2

If you have a safety squat bar, that will go a long way in addressing that area.

Might consider some heavy partial squats too to be able to overload your back. You could even do Yoke squats to get used to the feel of the implement.


#3

We do have one of those funny bars. Interestingly they make me nervous as hell using them. I tried it before and it felt really funny. Maybe it is worth a try.


#4

that was the shittiest few sentences I have ever written in my life. Strongman for kindergarteners.


#5

The safety squat bar pretty much crushes all of your hopes and dreams as soon as you step under it, so most likely what you were feeling was the sensation of your soul escaping, haha. If you google “Elitefts? Classic: Use the Yoke Bar”, Dave Tate does a great job explaining why the bar is so gnarly and the benefits it has.

It’ll probably do a good job getting you more comfortable with being uncomfortable, and build up the area you are wanting.

Also, I haven’t personally done this, but you see a lot of the guys in WSM wearing 2 belts, with 1 around their upper/mid back along with the traditional placement on yokes. Might be something to consider.


#6

I’ve had poor success training yoke consistently heavy. I had better results making 100 foot runs with like 60% of my heaviest yoke (or just a weight you can handle without feeling your eyes are gonna pop out of your head). My body just got good at it. Yoke is an event that wears and tears immensely on the body if you do it too heavy for too long. Keep note of that.


#7

For me, yoke walks are one of the few things that don’t get better unless I perform yoke walks.

I think set-up, breathing & bracing make the biggest difference to me. If you are not tight enough and set-up perfectly from the beginning, then an injury becomes much more probable. Consider dropping the crossmember down to a lower bar position, brace your abs for the entire of the walk, start your pick-up with your feet closer together and fight to keep your chest up with every step. SSB is a great option for a carry-over lift, but for me personally, I have to yoke to get better at yoke.

Also take into consideration what Vinny said. Yoke walks performed heavy are really hard on your body. I try to run mine with percentages just as if it were a squat or bench press. The day after a hard yoke session leaves me feeling more like I have the flu than sore.

I hope that helps and I hope your back isn’t too serious brother


#8

[quote]Aero51 wrote:
As I said in an earlier thread, I hurt my back this week attempting a yoke walk for the first time. I hurt my middle back and it has become very apparent to me that I need to increase my back strength, specifically being able to stand up with good posture with weight on my back. I’m sure this weakness has contributed to my terrible back squat (my BS is only a few pounds more than my zercher, which I recently hit a 300lb PR).

Oddly, I have a very good strength with it comes to farmers walks or keg carries, but for some reason having weight so high on my back makes my posture go to shit real fast.

Im looking for exercises I can do to fix this weakness. My training partner wants me ready for competition by November. [/quote]

Equipment and set up are very important on the Yoke Walk - wearing a study belt, flat hard-soled shoes, and in many cases holding your breath (or learning how to keep tension with short choppy breathing) should immediately improve your yoke.

Another technique component is hand placement - some people feel more stable with their hands on the uprights while others prefer hands on the crossbar.

In terms of gym movements I am not sure that there is much that would help you outside of perhaps doing some bottom-up partial squats or SSB squats.


#9

Wanted to follow up on this thread. After deadlifting today I tried the safety squat bar. Using this bar really highlighted my weaknesses. While I only got up to 255lbs, it was painfully clear my core and middle back could not support the weight. Ill be training with this frequently for the next few months.