history of the yoke carry walk weight lifting

The yoke carry is a weightlifting exercise and strongman event that has a rich history rooted in both practicality and competition. Its origins can be traced back to tasks that were practical and necessary for daily life, particularly in agrarian societies. Here’s a brief overview of its history and evolution:

Origins in Daily Life

  • Agrarian Societies: In its most basic form, the yoke is a wooden beam traditionally used across the shoulders to carry buckets or other loads by hand. This method was and, in some areas, still is used for carrying water, feed for animals, or harvested crops. The practical use of the yoke for carrying heavy loads efficiently over short distances directly influenced its adoption in strength training and competition.

Evolution into Sport

  • Strongman Competitions: The yoke carry as a competitive event is most closely associated with strongman competitions. These competitions, which test a wide range of strength and endurance abilities, began to gain popularity in the late 20th century. The yoke carry was included as an event to test athletes’ ability to carry heavy weights over a certain distance as quickly as possible.

Modern Adaptations

  • Gym and Fitness: Beyond strongman competitions, the yoke carry has been adapted for general fitness and strength training. Modern gyms and training facilities may use adjustable yokes that can be loaded with weight plates, allowing individuals to train with the apparatus at various weights according to their strength level.

Physical and Mental Benefits

  • Strength and Stability: The yoke carry is known for building strength in the legs, back, and core. It also improves grip strength and overall stability, as the individual must control the yoke while moving.
  • Mental Fortitude: Carrying a heavy load over a distance requires not just physical strength but also mental toughness and focus, echoing the Spartan stoic principles of endurance and resilience.


The yoke carry walk in weightlifting represents a blend of historical practicality and modern sport. It embodies the strength, endurance, and resilience that were essential for survival in historical contexts and are now celebrated in the world of strength athletics. Its inclusion in training regimes and competitions not only pays homage to its historical roots but also offers a challenging and effective way to build physical and mental strength.