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Yoke Carries: How Heavy is Too Heavy?


I recently got my homemade yoke done and have had a couple of workouts with it. Yesterday I decided I wanted to see how heavy of a walk I could safely make; got to 370# for about 10 yards. I really thought my yoke carry would be as much or more than my squat (405# 3RM), but I had a hard time holding core tension while walking. I followed up with a squat workout and 315# never felt so light after the carries!

Should I keep using heavy walks for short distances or reduce the weight and go for longer distance?
What are common strength relations between yoke and squat?


Going heavy on yoke all the time is a good way to train to be slow. You want to engrain fast feet, and you do this with light weight. Once you can move light weight quickly, try to move heavy weight quickly.

10 yards is almost too short to be of any real benefit. A short run is about 50’ in a contest, although I did once do a 30’ walk in a team event. See what you can do with that. It’s ok to take the yoke out for a stupid heavy short walk every few months or so, but don’t do it too often.


Make sure your feet are close together like slow jog, not wider stance like squat, toes forward not , pointing out. Like farmers walk .
Your yoke walk will go up very fast as it is technical i could move fairly fast with 600 when my squat was barely 500.
Also the higher on trap will help you move faster. This is not a heavy squat walkout.
10 yard to short go at least 30 much lighter and faster.


Thanks for the response guys. Definitely 10 yards was too short! I loaded that sucker up thinking I’d be able to cross my yard and back but was immediately humbled! I’ll be following this advice and drop the weight and go for longer distances and work on speed also.
@T3hPwnisher I probably will load it stupid heavy and make a walk occasionally because I’ve always been glutton for punishment!
@strongmanjoe that’s some great tips man, I really appreciate it!


Too heavy is when you tear rib cartilage in your back after a missed step. Only took me 1 time to learn that lesson. Going to agree with light and fast.


There’s not just too heavy, but too much intensity with too much frequency.

What I mean by that, is that if your max yoke is 800lbs for 50 feet or so, and try to do 700lbs or even 650lbs for sets of 50’ for 5 sets, you will find that your body simply cannot handle that much stress without something giving.

The yoke, as @T3hPwnisher said, should be trained with very little focus on the weight. If you find you cannot complete the weight designated at a contest for your weight class, then you can strive to maybe squeeze in 1-2 heavy sets of yoke but you have to gauge your body and how it feels. I think we all have a limit on how much heavy yoke we can handle, so find that threshold, work up to it but make sure you do NOT overdo it, and follow it up with tons of light work and fast feet practice.

The yoke is easily the most dangerous strongman event.


Agreed with @strongmanvinny2 and @T3hPwnisher – at Global Strongman in Brooklyn, we train yoke like this: pick a weight you can go 50 feet in 7-8 seconds. Do 3-5 runs with it once a week until you can run that sucker in under 6.5 seconds. Add 50 lbs, repeat.

When Eddie Hall came to Global, his advice re: yoke and stones were “if you feel off, skip them They are the most demanding and dangerous of all strongman events.” (Wise words @strongmanvinny2!) His other tip re: yoke was to keep your strides short – feet never further than a normal step. Keep em quick brother.


Mind sharing some photos of your homemade yoke bro? I just made one today actually, photos attached below. Those’re 2x4’s with a 2.5 inch fence post as a crossbar and 2inch fence post as weight pins on the feet. There’s a long bolt coming down through the crossbar on the outside of the uprights and dropping into the little blocks to keep the crossbar from spinning/sliding around. Measured all out, can fit 630 lbs on it using 2 inch plates. I’ve competed with 550 for 50’, so we’ll see how well this holds up next week!


@Basement_Gainz yes sir I would agree that’s too heavy! Definitely taking this advice to prevent something like that happening.
@strongmanvinny2 thanks man I’ll definitely be turning down the intensity and as for frequency I’m going for once a week. Yesterday I did 225# x 60 yards x 5 and it felt good. Kept my stride short and choppy and could maintain core rigidity throughout.
@I_AM that’s an excellent training strategy! Definitely going to incorporate this into my training.
@I_AM here’s a couple pictures I have of it. It 2x2 square tubing, and 2" cross member. I have some adjustments I’d like to make to it now that I’ve used it. Going to shorten the crossmember to 4’, the weight pegs have too much angle going to cut them and add 2- 8" pegs on both sides, and adding holes for a lower position for Zercher style carry.


It is absolutely possible to go too heavy with the yoke. I would do something of a ramp up, starting with, say 225 and adding 90lbs each set until it feels tough but you still have control over the bar. I think this is the best method for training in general, as youll know as you progress what you will be up for that day. You might have to do front squats to train your upper back. For me, I found when walking that it was good to grab the vertical bars and pull them towards my back. This ensured I had a solid back and torso.


Any updates on your success using the homemade yoke? Looking to build one for myself very soon!


Used it twice! I’m back in Brooklyn now training outta Global Strongman in Crown Heights. But the wooden yoke held up fine. Added a crossbeam at the bottom because the uprights wanted to swing independently of each other.