The History of The Yoke Carry
Yokes have been around for centuries and have been used to help men carry heavy weight loads easier. They were first used to carry water and other goods for many miles at a time. People would place them on their backs and attach buckets onto the hooks filled with water. You could say that these men and women were the original entrepreneurs of the yoke!
The first Yoke seen in strongman was in the 1977 World’s Strongest Man competition. It was known as the fridge carry. The entire contraption weighed roughly 900 lbs (408kg), and the event required the competitor to carry the weight on their back and run with it as fast as possible, for a distance of 30 meters. One of the most well-remembered moments from this competition was when a well-known strongman competitor by the name of Franco Columbo, carried the Fridge and had an unfortunate accident leading to a serious leg injury.
In 1977, the fridge carry was used in World’s Strongest Man competitions until the year 1980. From the death of the fridge carry, the car carry was born. The car carry was first seen in the 1993 World’s Strongest Man Competition. Competitors would enter the car through the car door and use shoulder straps fitted into the frame of the car, to lift and carry it for 30 meters. Today the Car Carry is still used in a variety of competitions from amateur to professional strongman sports. With the need and want to carry heavier weights and push the limits of the strongest man competitions, the Super Yoke emerged!
In 2004 the Super Yoke was born and history revived a new version of the famous 1977 fridge carry. After this the Super Yoke was used in every WSM competition and the weights kept increasing as well as the objects used. In the 2014 Arnold classic strongman competition featured tires that were used for a weight total of 1,227 lbs (556.5kgs), this was the heaviest a yoke had ever been up to that time. In the same year at the same event, the Bale Tote Yolk was used to create a new weight total of 1,410 lbs (639.5kgs).
About The Yoke Carry
The Yoke is without a doubt of one the biggest and most well-known Strongman events. The Yoke can be defined as any event that requires you to carry weight on your back. It has evolved many times throughout the years and almost all forms of yoking are still used today in everything from amateur to professional Strongman competitions.
The yoke requires the strongman to lift and carry a weight as fast as possible. The weight is spread across the strongman’s back and the height of the yoke can be adjusted to minimise the “pickup”. A trade-off is often made between minimising the pickup and the advantage of a larger pickup that provides greater clearance between the yoke and the ground. The greater the clearance the less likely the yoke is to catch on the ground and throw the strongman off balance.
Training for the Yoke Carry: Training for the Yoke Carry is fairly simple now that there is a piece of equipment used for this event. Before, putting a fridge freezer on your back or trying to carry your mum or dad’s car would have proven quite difficult! Luckily there is now an upside down U frame with hooks on, so that you can add weight onto this frame ready to carry. Some gyms and almost every strongman gym will have this piece of equipment needed to train for the Yoke Carry. If you want to practice at home, Tian, is a company that sell these frames and they are called the “Titan Yoke”. If you cannot find this piece of equipment within a gym, you do not have the space needed or finances to buy one, you can train and strengthen the muscles needed by using a barbell loaded with weight. You will need space for this but if you take the barbell from a squat rack or squat stands, practice walking with this on your shoulders and return to the squat rack to place the barbell back safely. If using heavy weight within this way, it is always best to have someone close by or watching you to be there for support if it is needed.
The Guiness Book of Records states that the heaviest Yoke carried over 10 metres weighs 555.2 kg (1,224 lb) and was carried by Patrik Baboumian (from Germany) at the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 8 September 2013.
Laurence Shahlaei set a new Yoke world record; 580kg over 15m in 15 seconds, completed at World’s Ultimate Strongman in Dubai.
Although there have been some amazing achievements within the Yoke Carry including that of Patrik Baboumian in 2013, there are no current official world title records for the Yoke Carry.
Here you can see Patrik Baboumian achieving his world record of 555.2Kgs in 2013, the clip is in German unfortunately, but you can still see the determination of Patrik amazingly carrying this weight load of over half a ton!