Fingal’s Finger

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The History Of Fingal’s Finger

The Fingal’s Finger event was first launched into the strongman sport in the year 2000 and originally takes its name from Fingal, who was a mythological Gaelic hunter-warrior. Fingal is a character in an epic poem written in the 1700s by a Scottish poet named James Macpherson. This poem is based on a legendary Irish hero by the name of Fionn Mac Cumhaill, who is said to have fought both the Norse Invaders and the Romans (under the Roman emperor, Caracalla) in a battle in the North West of Scotland.

In the north-west of Scotland today, on the uninhabited island of Staffa in the Inner Hebrides, you will find an extraordinary cave named Fingal’s cave. This sea cave is known for its clustered basaltic pillars that form its cliffs. This is why the name was used for the event Fingal’s fingers. The pillars or “fingers” used within these events, resemble those pillars that line the cliffs around this unusual cave. It was said that when these extraordinary pillars would fall due to being battered by the rough seas, Fingal himself would go out at low tide and pick up these immensely heavy pillars and force them back into place by hand. The way in which Fingal has to lift these pillars is similar to that of which is seen within this spectacular event The Fingal’s Fingers.

The sheer power needed for one man to pick up such a heavy pillar of great size and extraordinary weight, is mind blowing and it is assumed that such weight could not possibly be lifted by one man alone. This is why this great event takes place within the strongman events, to show that it is possible for a single man with great strength to be able to lift such a vast amount of weight of an object that is so big and needs technique as well as pure power to be able to lift back up. Although todays strongmen are not lifting colossal pillars back towards a cliff next to the rough seas. This event still replicates the power one man can have within lifting such huge pillars back up off of the ground to a vertical position.

About The Fingal’s Finger

This event requires the strongmen to lift and flip a number of steal poles. The poles begin on the floor with one end attached to a pivot point anchor. The strongman usually deadlifts the fingers from the floor before raising it to their shoulder height or overhead. The strongmen then move down the pole towards the base of the pivot point, until they’re in a position whereby they can flip the finger over.

The unique equipment required makes the event difficult to train for, which is unfortunate as it is heavily dependent on technique. Brute strength may get 1 or 2 repetitions but without the correct technique, strongmen are usually left too drained to reach a winning number of repetitions.

The Final’s Finger can be used as a standalone event for maximum repetitions, or as a medley of multiple fingers which increase in weight for each finger lifted. It’s also an interesting event to add into a medley of strongman lifts. This event is fast, tough and unforgiving with the poles or “fingers” usually weighing between 200 to over 300kgs each! These events vary within competitions but it usually consists of the strongman having to lift up and push over a stunning five poles per event. Whoever achieves the fastest time of flipping all five poles is the winner.

Training for The Fingal’s Finger: Training for The Fingal’s Finger is going to prove difficult, as the equipment needed is not generally easy to get your hands on. Of course you might be able to find a big concreate or metal pole or pillar that resembles the finger within this event, but finding one with a pivot anchor point attached is going to be nearly impossible. The closest thing you will find to represent the similarities within this event, would be finding a milling company or some old cut down trees that you can deadlift off of the floor, work on your technique of lifting it while moving towards the bottom point of the tree (the part closest to the floor) and then once vertical give it a push over! Just make sure if you are going to attempt this, that there is nothing in the way for the tree to crush once falling and also that you wear some workman’s gloves so that you do not end up with a splinter fest within the palms of your hands.

Although this event is very hard to replicate, there are ways in which you can start to grasp the technique needed without having to find cut down trees. First as always for beginners to this sport, you must make sure you have the back, core and shoulder strength to be able to lift these big objects once under them. This can be achieved by incorporating deadlifts, lots of overhead shoulder presses, core exercises and HIIT (high intensity interval training) into your routine. Things like the “Snatch” and heavy presses with the overhead shoulder press will ensure you have the strength to lift these big heavy poles once they are up. Deadlifts are required to make sure you have the strength to lift the pole up and HIIT training to ensure that you have the cardio endurance and strength to walk down the pole while still pushing under great strain. Once you have built the strength needed to lift such heavy objects, you can get a thick 21inch scaffold pole, wedge it in the corner of somewhere sturdy and then begin to lift it and walk down until it is vertical. Just make sure if you are going to let go and let the pole drop, it has something soft to fall on such as grass so you do not upset anybody within your technique training. Once you have mastered this you can then move on to bigger objects, but use your initiative when deciding what you will use and where you will practice, as you do not want you or anyone else to be hurt from falling heavy objects!


With no two fingers or poles being the same, there are not any officially accepted Fingal’s Finger world records. Although there are no official records, we have some clips of these incredible strongmen performing within this event.
Here we have the great Eddie Hall performing within The World’s Strongest Man competition in 2013:

Here we have Phil Pfister from America and Mariusz Pudzianowski from Poland battling it out at The World’s Strongest Man in 2008. Although Puszianowski won the overall crown, he was not capable enough to beat Pfister in this event. This clip shows just how much strain these poles put on the strongmen and also how the weight increases per pole! It is spectacular to watch:

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