Atlas Stone Lifting
20-inch Diameter Stones weighing in the 320-530lb Range
Want to Learn to Lift Atlas Stones?
Check Out This DVD:
Stone Lifting Fundamentals DVD
Want to Learn to Lift Atlas Stones?
Check Out This DVD:
Stone Lifting Fundamentals DVD
Tags: atlas stones, lifting stones, stone lifting, strongman, strongman stones, strongman training
Posted in grip strength, stone lifting, strongman, strongman competition training, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer, Uncategorized | 1,504 Comments »
To me, the greatest thing about lifting weights is the never ending ways to challenge yourself.
Just when you accomplish one goal, there’s any number of other things you can do to make yourself better.
In the Fall of 2014, I pushed myself to the limit with 20-Rep Squats.
I wanted to see how far I could go.
I started with 225-lbs, and over the course of about 10 weeks, I worked my way to 355-lbs. I only got 16 reps with that, however, as on my last rep I strained a hamstring/groin muscle.
But I had no regrets. Sometimes an injury happens when you’re trying to see what you limits truly are.
After a couple months of rehab, recovery, and rebuilding, I decided I was ready for another round of 20-Rep Squats, only this time i was gonna do it a little different.
Instead, this time, the goal would be to hit 20-reps of Goblet Squats with the Inch Dumbbell.
Here’s my best effort to date in max reps: 13 with the 176-lb Inch Dumbbell on loan from John Eaton:
Goblet Squats are a great exercise. While they are usually used as a precursor to Back Squatting by using lighter weights, they can also be used for heavy training as well. On top of using the Inch Dumbbell for Goblet Squats, I was also using the 200-lb Kettlebell for Goblet Squats for a time this year as well. You can see some videos of that here => 200-lb Kettlebell Goblet Squats.
What’s interesting about Heavy Goblet Squatting, especially with a circus-style dumbbell such as the Inch Dumbbell, is that a part of the bell lies on your stomach.
So, not only is breathing difficult due to the dumbbell being held at chest height, you’ve also got the additional challenge of breathing through the belly against the lower portion of the dumbbell at the same time.
I liken this challenge to performing multiple repetitions of Atlas Stone lifting. The difference is, you never drop the stone to re-grip or load it atop a platform. Instead, it’s like you just keep going from the lap to the chest-load position.
Above, Steve Slater lifts a stone to the chest-load position. Going from lap to chest-load like this feels VERY similar to Inch Dumbbell Goblet Squats.
It makes for an awesome physical challenge, and that’s what it’s all about, for me, when it comes to strength training.
I’ll keep you updated on the 20-Rep Inch Dumbbell Goblet Squat Saga.
Speaking of the Inch Dumbbell, next week, I will be shooting a DVD on that very subject. If you’re training to lift the Inch Dumbbell, make sure you sign up for updates about it using the form below.
Lift the Inch Dumbbell – Sign up Below:
All the best in your training.
Tags: atlas stone lifting, atlas stones, inch, inch dumbbell, stone lifting, stones, strongman, strongman stones, thomas inch dumbbell, thomas inch replica dumbbell
Posted in feats of strength, inch dumbbell, stone lifting, strongman | 101 Comments »
I am pumped up to post today’s entry on the Blog. This one comes from Daniel Reinard.
This dude has made incredible progress within the ranks of Grip Sport in a very short time. His improvements in such a short time are comparable to some of the very best in the sport.
I think part of that progress is due to the fact that he is constantly looking to build overall strength and not just get good at Grip Lifts. This pursuit for all-around strength development was evident when he picked up our instructional DVD on Strongman Training. Considering Daniel’s background is in rock climbing, strongman work isn’t really the natural progression, but he understands the importance of full body strength and power to improving overall performance.
Check out his review of our DVD and our customer service, something I have always worked hard to be on top of:
First thing’s first. Jedd’s customer service is nothing but top notch. I’ve bought several DVDs and pieces of equipment over the last couple years from him. His quick shipments and customer follow-up make for the most comfortable of transactions. He genuinely wants everyone to enjoy his products and to receive the maximum benefits they can achieve. I recently purchased the Intro to Strongman DVD and ran into a most unusual predicament.
Thanks for the kind words, Daniel. Keep up the great work in all your strength endeavors.
If anyone else is looking for top quality information on Strongman Training, look no further, because Steve and I lay everything out for you that you need in Intro to Strongman Training.
All the best,
Tags: atlas stones, farmers walk, log press, strongman dvd, strongman information, strongman instruction, strongman technique, strongman training dvd, yoke
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, strength training to improve athletic performance, strongman competition training, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 172 Comments »
There’s been a lot of stuff going on recently.
My dedication to bringing you the absolute best information for your training needs has never been higher.
Let me bring you up to date of just some of the things I have in the works…
I got together with Steve Slater from SlatersHardware.com and StrongmanStuff.com a few months back and we shot the complete DVD on how to make the best Atlas Stones.
That DVD should be ready this week. I have been running into some technical issues, but I am working through them.
If you have a set of molds and want to make better stones, or if you are thinking about getting some, stay tuned, because we left no stone unturned during the shooting of this DVD. Steve has made more stones than anyone else in the world and he is going to show you exactly how he makes the world’s best atlas stones.
The Workout of the Month at The Grip Authority is uploaded and the members are digging it.
You can join The Grip Authority here for just $7.
I’ve got tons of awesome features on that site. If it’s grip or feats of strength related, then it is on TheGripAuthority.com.
I have really been working hard on my stretching, ROM work, and soft tissue efforts the last couple weeks and my pecs and shoulders are starting to feel much better.
I also got the Horse Liniment that I mentioned in a newsletter last week. It is called “Absorbine Veterinary Liniment.”
I will report back to you about it, but I do have to warn you that it says right on the bottle “for livestock only,” so I am not going to tell you to go out and get it.
At a recent seminar, I met Matt Ellis from PrimalATC.com, who works with Track and Field Athletes. Matt and I decided to get together and shoot a DVD on Grip Training for Track and Field Athletes.
I never joined the Track team in High School because I was a baseball player, but Grip Strength is very important for Shotput, Javelin, Discus, Pole Vault, and even the Sprinters in the starting blocks. Plus, as it turns out, there are plenty of hand, finger, and wrist injuries that take place in Track, especially for the throwers.
We put together a DVD of drills that Track Coaches can do with their athletes to strengthen and bulletproof their lower arms.
Stay tuned for that. One of Matt’s colleagues is working to find a video editor to get that product ready, because I am working on another product already for you guys…
Tomorrow, I will start aggressively on completing a DVD I shot with Jerry Shreck from Bucknell University, on ACL Tear Prevention.
ACL Tears are a career threatening injury for nearly all athletes, and the statistics for college athletes are pretty eye-opening, but Jerry has been using a conditioning progression for several years with his athletes and it has been very effective in preventing them with his athletes.
Goal to release that DVD to all of you animals is 2nd week of June. Keep your eyes open…
As you can tell DIESELS, it has been a hot-bed of productivity around here the last few weeks.
I am dedicated to bringing the DIESEL UNIVERSE the information you all need to excel, whether you like to rip, bend, and twist things or if you dominate more conventional sports.
You are in the right place.
If you want to stay up to dat on the developments about these upcoming products and features, make sure you are signed up for the daily updates here at the site:
All the best in your training,
Tags: ACL tear, atlas stones, discuss, grip training, hub lifting, javelin, make atlas stones, pole vault, prevent injuries, shotput, stone lifting, strongman, track and field throwers
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, grip strength, injury rehab recover from injury, stone lifting, strength training to improve athletic performance, strongman competition training, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 100 Comments »
Although that thing looks like a toilet, the stamps says “Stone Lifting.”
The first time I touched Atlas Stones was in my first ever strongman competition in 2003 at Total Performance Sports. Prior to that we used Kegs in our training in order to assimilate the stone lifting technique.
Ever since that first competition, I have loved Stone Lifting. It became something I would do on a nearly weekly basis every year from the time the weather broke in April until the time the weather got too cold to train outside in the Fall every year. And then sometimes, we’d just train inside.
I was seeing some pretty good success both in training with the atlas stones and in competition, many times winning the event at the strongman contests I was competing in.
Then, around 2006, all my buddies seemed to have lost interest in doing strongman, so if I was going to train, I was going to be alone doing it. Training alone is cool and all, but it’s even cooler with buddies challenging one another and talking some serious trash.
If I remember right, I peaked on atlas stones with a lift of a 405-lb stone in the Summer of 2007, but then I didn’t really train them again until the Fall of 2009. And that was the last time I trained them…
Lately, the stones have been calling my name. Each time I walk past them, I would think to myself, “The next time it’s nice out during training time, I’m coming out here and lifting some stones.
I got down to the gym the other day – it was a day for Axle work, back, and some other stuff. I went through my normal routine of systematic warm-up, then on to Axle, and then my Grip Training.
But when it came time to train back, I was like, “SCREW IT – I’m going outside to lift those stones – that will be my back workout today.”
DIESELS, I can’t even describe in words how fun it was to get out on the stones again. It brought back so many memories of training with my friends, listening to loud music, talking smack to everyone, strongman comps, and barbecuing steaks.
I got the whole stone lifting session on film, so you will see it below.
I have no idea what the first three stones in the video weigh. They were marked at one time, but weather and the passing of time wore those chicken scratches off long ago. So, I arranged them by size and went to work.
In the comments section of the video, I received some questions, so what I thought I’d do is paste them below and answer them for you guys. Here are the first couple…
Do you ever shoulder the stones Jedd?
Sure – shouldering is a good drill to do with Atlas Stones. I like shouldering because it requires more hip explosion and is a faster movement. When you explode with hips, you are able to propel the stone upwards and create more momentum. Then, if you are quick and agile with your hands, you can usually place the stone up on top of your shoulder with just two or three quick movements of the hands.
We cover Atlas Stone Shouldering in our DVD, Stone Lifting Fundamentals, as a way to replicate the explosive qualities of the Olympic Lifts using an odd object instead of the regular bar.
I didn’t do any shouldering in this particular workout, simply because it had been so long since the last time I trained stones. I wanted to stick with the basic techniques on this occasion, but I definitely will do some shouldering soon.
Doesn’t stone lifting go against the rules of deadlifting when it comes to not rounding your back?
Yes, Stone lifting does differ from deadlifting as far as the back angle is concerned. In deadlifting, most people will tell you to avoid rounding, and I would agree with them when deadlifting. However, stone lifting is a bit different.
First off, it is almost impossible to lift a stone without modifying your back angle to a degree. This is because you have to reach your hands way down to the ground. In the deadlift, you are not reaching down that far, so it is much easier to avoid the rounding.
Second, the shape of the stone forces you to take a different grip on it. As you’ll see, the hands and forearms go down along the sides of the stone and you pick it up by both flexing the wrist to brace beneath the stone, and by clamping in with the chest, to compress with the upper arms onto the sides of the stone. This requires a forward torso angle in order to accomplish.
If you keep your torso upright while lifting stones, I think it would put a great deal of pressure on the bicep attachments, and could cause a tear.
Third, when lifting stones, most people incorporate a transitional phase in the lift where the stone is propped on the lap while a re-grip is taking place. The reason this is important to this discussion is because it may seem like a round back is being used from the point of lift-off to the point of loading (high chest), but this is slightly misleading, because while re-gripping the stone, you can also re-position your lumbar spine for a more straight to lordotic curve, which is safer on the back.
Everyone is always stressing good form and not rounding the back while deadlifting. How do you feel about that when stone lifting is the complete opposite?
Because Stone Lifting is, without a doubt, much different from deadlifting, I think it is best to work your way up slowly in stone weight, volume of stone work, and speed of stone work.
For instance, beginners at Stone Lifting should start out with very light stones, and perhaps even start with an abbreviated range of motion and then gradually work toward pulling the stone from the ground or floor. This will enable the beginner stone lifter to slowly get used to the forces and positions involved in stone lifting, which they most likely have never done with a great deal of resistance before. It will help them develop proper technique as well.
If there is any question as to proper stone lifting technique, then I suggest you pick up our DVD, Stone Lifting Fundamentals, which will show you exactly how to begin doing stone lifting with proper form.
It’s a good practice for beginners or people who have not lifted stones in quite some time to limit the volume of stone work they do. I, for instance, knew that I hadn’t done this in a long time, so I didn’t do a lot of volume with the lighter stones. I mainly used them to ready my body, mind, and CNS for the heavier stones. By limiting the volume, you are able to keep your form tight from the beginning to the end of the workout. Doing too much volume too soon in the stone lifting workout could wear out the postural muscles in the back, and then put you at risk for poor form near the end of the stone workout.
As far as the risk of hurting the back, sure, there is a chance. However, there is also a chance to hurt your back in the deadlift as well. I can tell you this, I have never hurt my back by lifting atlas stones. I have, however, hurt my back on many occasions performing the deadlift.
I did notice, while watching my footage after lifting the stones, that my hips are a bit tight to really get where I want to at the beginning of the stone pull. I like to get a little lower with the hips on the initial pull, which helps me to keep my lower back straighter.
I hope this has been helpful. There were some more questions in the comments section of the video – I have not forgotten about them – I just don’t want to overload anyone with new information, so expect another installment of questions to come along here soon.
If you like info on Strongman Training, make sure to subscribe for my Strongman Training Updates in the form below.
All the best in your training,
Tags: atlas stone training, atlas stones, stone lifting, stone training, strongman training
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, stone lifting, strength training to improve athletic performance, strongman competition training, strongman feats, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 6 Comments »
Atlas Stone lifting is something many get excited about and for good reason. The thought of lifting an object that is not meant to be lifted, absent the advantages of holes, handles, crevices, or edges would excite even the strongest individuals in the world. Propelling a perfectly round heavy Atlas Stone either to your shoulder or on to a barrel can be extremely rewarding, especially if it is a personal record.
What I’m going to share are beginning techniques related to strongman Atlas Stone lifting. Notice, I emphasize the word “strongman” not “weakman” because this is about max effort. If you’re not familiar with max effort training with iron then you really aren’t ready for attempting max effort stone lifting. Atlas Stones are not designed to be lifted, barbells and dumbbells are.
This being said, you, the novice, should progress at lifting weights first. This way when you do start stone lifting you will go in ready with the needed foundation both physically and mentally.
At times lifters come to visit me at our Slater Strength Club and want me to instruct them on lifting Atlas Stones. I never assume that because a man is not massively developed that he has not spent time weight training. I always ask “How long have you been training?” If the answer isn’t definitive, or doesn’t directly address the question, and the answer is along the lines of, “Ahh a few months or something like that.”
I then tell them that they’re not ready for such a challenge so “Let’s do some deadlifts.” I take this route as not to spoil what will be a good thing by lifting stones too early.
I always suggest that beginners weight train until they develop a good base then attempt the challenge of stone lifting. My first rule of thumb is this: if your deadlift is not yet 160 kg or 350 lbs then continue to weight train progressively and build up your basic strength.
Once your basic strength is there, I suggest picking a 16″ atlas stone for starters. This stone should weigh around 170-180 lbs and is an optimal size for developing motor skills and technique. If you choose a lighter one it should only be for warm ups if you’re doing traditional Atlas Stone lifting.
For warm ups I prefer band exercises for the biceps and back. I also include roller work massage such as Self Myo-Fascial Release (SMR) that targets the back, biceps, glutes and hamstrings. After that I will move into light stones. This will get me warmed up and ready to lift safely.
I like to tape my forearms, using athletic tape though some use duct tape. If you want, shave your forearms to keep the tape from slipping. The tape will grip your skin much better if the hair is removed and the addition of a pre-spray on your forearms will provide for good adhesion.
I like Rugby Spray Wax by Trimona as a pre-spray, available on StrongmanStuff.com. I flex my forearm and then tape it, starting just below the elbow and working my way to my wrist. Once it is taped I relax my forearm and then pat down and smooth the tape to my skin. Flexing the forearm prior to taping will prevent the tape from being too tight and If done correctly, the tape will stick well.
I learned from Team Boss Strongman’s Rick Freitag to tape the forearms not so much to help the grip but to cut off the signal of pain. If you are in pain them the mind is fighting the pain and not focusing on the lift.
Apply tacky or handball wax (pine resin) to get a better grip. Personally I like PR Champions Blend Tacky because it is made in Ohio and I’m from Ohio. It is a very good general weather tacky but most other tacky works well too. I apply some on my hands, fingers and forearms and at times onto my chest, especially during competitions. This helps to keep the stone from spinning off of the chest.
When you first start stone lifting apply a slight amount just to get a feel for it as you will learn quickly how much you like to use. I do believe the use of tacky can reduce the strain on soft tissue.
As for lifting the stones, there are some basic precautions to be concerned with for the safety of the lifter and those in the vicinity of the stones.
It goes without saying that new lifters should always consult a health care provider prior to starting any exercise program. Especially since stone lifting differs so greatly from other forms of resistance training, it just makes sense to make sure your doctor okay’s that you give it a try.
You may choose to lift it over a large diameter bar that is fixed so it will not spin. For example, we lift the stone over an adjustable strongman yoke bar. We also use solid platforms made out of wood. You can fasten wood pallets on top of each other, and then fasten plywood to the front or around all sides. There is a great wood platform on StrongmanStuff.com. We sometimes use whiskey barrels or oil drums, but if you do use a barrel be sure to avoid pinching your fingers on the lip!
Whatever you choose to lift the stone onto or over, either a large non rotating bar or a platform, make sure that it is stable. With all platforms please use caution making sure the back side of the platform is braced. This will insure platform stablility so it should not tip if the stone hits it. Once you’re more experienced and stronger you can work on shouldering the stones.
At Slater Strength Club all novice lifters are forbidden to twist with the stone during the lift. The risk of injury far outweighs any benefits.
Once you get the stone to the tip of the platform you may begin to struggle to place it on the top. During the struggle to get past the “tip point”, avoid pausing in that vulnerable position for more than a few seconds and no matter how difficult the struggle to complete the lift, do not twist in order to get the stone to the top of the platform.
You may be tempted to do this but this potentially dangerous maneuver should be avoided. Additional strength and experience will get you past this critical point in the lift. Atlas Stone lifting with a grouped series of stones is less about struggling at the top but rather an example of utilizing one’s strength with precision.
Don’t practice struggling at the top, practice a precise finish. A precise and fast finish wins competitions. As with any lift there are some risks, but the benefits of safe stone lifting far outweigh the risks.
I hope that this information helps you make the move into Atlas Stone lifting so you can continue to make great strength gains and appreciate this awesome raw form of training.
Stone lifting makes you seriously strong, ruggedly strong, and for lack of a better expression, “animal strong.” Simply stated, if a good stone lifter puts his hands on a man of above average size, even one flailing and squirming to resist, he could place him on his shoulders, run with him and squeeze the crap out of him in seconds! He could probably even press him over his head and toss him high or far. That is stone lifter strength and as stone lifter Bill Crawford says “stone lifting makes you strong in ways that only stones can.”
Further Atlas Stone and Strongman Training Information
Tags: atlas stone lifting, atlas stones, stone lifting, stone training, strongman stone
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, feats of strength, stone lifting, strongman competition training, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 145 Comments »
Last week, I put up a post on Medley Training for Combat Athletes. You can check it out here if you missed it = > Training with Medleys for Combat Athletes.
Medley Training is great for all athletes because Medleys force you to be able to execute strength for extended period times and in many different ways. The result is improved conditioning where you are able to make bigger hits and continue to fight for longer periods of time whether on the field or the mat.
In the following video, we perform Medleys involving many different implements that require full body strength. You’ll see:
You’ll also see some other movements done outside of the Medley format:
Because these lifts and feats require full body strength from your toes to your finger tips, Medley training like this has the potential for excellent carryover into sports such as Mixed Martial Arts, Football, Rugby, Wrestling, Basketball, Baseball, etc.
Here is just a quick list of the benefits of medley training using Odd Objects and Strongman Equipment:
One thing to take note of is that Medley training with movements such as these also involve some risk and injury can occur when doing them, especially is you do not know the correct techniques.
If you need more information on how to do these types of training, we have several resources here on the site, on YouTube, and other locations:
Odd Object Training
For more exercise demonstrations, check out my YouTube Channel = > Jedd’s Strength Training Channel
All the best in your training,
Ultimate Forearm Training for Baseball | How to Bend Nails | How to Tear Cards | Feats of Grip Strength Explained | How to Build Your Own Equipment | How to Lift Atlas Stones | The Sh*t You’ve Never Seen | Sled Dragging for Athletes | The Road to the Record DVD
Tags: atlas stones, keg, medley, medley training, stone, strongman training, strongman workout
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, feats of strength, grip hand forearm training for sports, grip strength, strength training muscle building workouts, strength training workouts, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 7 Comments »
Stone Lifting is a part of many strongman contests.
If you don’t know what you are doing, you can get your ass handed to you and end up with serious injuries.
It was for this reason that Smitty and I set out to put together a resource that new strongman competitors could use to learn the proper techniques for lifting atlas stones.
The idea was to produce something that would give new competitors the information they needed to keep them safe and injury free in the beginning and then go on to dominate as time went on.
A while back, we received this testimonial / review about our Stone Lifting Fundamentals DVD from Rob Russell in Yorkshire. Check out what he had to say, below.
CHECK OUT THIS KILLER POST AFTER THE JUMP (more…)
Tags: atlas stones, stone lifting, stone training, strongman, strongman stones
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, feats of strength, strongman competition training, strongman feats, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 109 Comments »
The sport of strongman continues to grow and becomes more and more exciting all the time. Each year, more and more amateur competitors enter the ranks, shooting for the stars and the chance to get their pro card. Many say the biggest attraction about the sport of strongman is the tremendous test of raw, brute strength, lifting the mighty atlas stones.
Tags: atlas stones, combat core, core strength, lifting atlas stones, lifting stones, six pack abs, stone lifting, stone training, storngman competition, strong back, strong man, strongman, strongman contest, strongman training
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, core training workouts, core workouts for athletes, old strongman feats of strength, strength training to improve athletic performance, strength training workouts, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 27 Comments »
It’s funny how much the weather in Northeast PA can change from day to day. It can get COLLLLD here.
Yesterday, I trained for 3 hours in my garage, freezing my ass off the whole time. I was wearing sweat pants, a long-sleeve thermal shirt, two tee-shirts under that, and had a stocking cap on. To top it all off I had an Amish heater humming in the background all the while.
It seemed unseasonably cold for the first weekend in November. Flash forward 24 hours…
Today, I looked out the window around 10 AM and realized that it was probably the most gorgeous Sunday I have seen in months. It rained most of the summer and I never once got a weekend to do any atlas stone lifting.
Tags: atlas stone training, atlas stones, grip strength, hand strength, kettlebell lifting, kettlebell training, phone book tearing, stone lifting
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, old strongman feats of strength | 114 Comments »
Thanks for coming to the Diesel site today. I hope you had an extraordinary weekend!
This past weekend, I watched my first strongman contest in about a year and a half and it was a great time. Man I miss competing!
I didn’t get to see the whole thing, but I did catch the dumbbell press for reps and then the stone event.
I noticed some things I want to talk about so maybe I can help some dudes out…
All the strongman contests I did that had the atlas stones in them required the lifter to pick the stones up and place them on top of a platform. This event was run another way, where the athlete has to pop the stones up over a bar about 50 inches high. Pretty cool!
Regardless of the loading technique, one thing that caught my eye was how the athletes were ( or were not) wrapping their forearms.
When I lift atlas stones, I wrap my forearms with sports tape. I talk about this in our Stone Lifting DVD. Wrapping the arms in sports tape accomplishes two things: it serves as a removable base for your tacky and it offers skin protection against scrapes.
REMOVABLE BASE FOR TACKY
The main reason I strongly suggest wrapping the forearms for the stones is because it serves as a nice removable base for tacky.
Almost every strongman competitor I know of uses tacky. The only ones who don’t are not able to maintain the same competitive level as the ones who do because they have to try harder just to lift the stone off the ground.
The whole idea behind using tacky is to help you lock onto the stone when pulling it off the ground and when loading it onto the platform or over the bar. The bad thing is that it can be a pain in the ass to get off. While rubbing Baby Oil on it will take it off, it requires quite a bit of rubbing to break up the components of the tacky. You can make it a lot easier on yourself to clean the tacky off by applying it to the layer of tape on your forearms, as opposed to applying it to your skin and then rubbing it off.
Another reason for wrapping the forearms is to protect the skin. The stones can be very rough and will literally rip the outer layers of the epidermis off your arms. I spoke about this with one of the competitors who had not wrapped his arms and his reply was “I’m tough. I can handle it. It’ll heal.”
Yes, it will heal if you scrape the skin off your forearms, but that isn’t the point. The reason to cover your arms with tape is so that you don’t end up with any distractions while lifting the stones.
You have enough to worry about as a strongman competitor: the crowd daring you to go heavier and faster, maintaining your technique, keeping your breathing regulated. All this stuff is racing through your head while you are trying to load the stones. Do you really need to feel the pain of the stone tearing your skin in addition to all of that?
Even minor pain can be enough of a distraction that can knock you off your game. If the main contact points of your forearms get scraped on the third stone, what are you going to do, change the way you lift the next two? Mid-run through the stones, modify your technique? I don’t think so.
That very athlete that said he was tough enough to go without tape on his forearms, also failed to load the stone that would have given him sole possession of first place in that event. Oh, and I glanced at his left forearm after the event, too, and he had a giant strawberry scrape mark on it that looked like the road rash dudes get when they fall off their motorcycle. There is no way that he was completely 100% focused on lifting and popping the stone over the bar today when his skin was getting ripped off his arm.
Take my advice – wrap your forearms with some tape the next time you train or compete in stones and your performance will improve.
Another thing I noticed was that some competitors were wrapping their forearms not in sports tape, but in duct tape. This, I thought, was a serious mistake because duct tape is smooth. It seems like that would work against you in the stones, and it looked like the handful of competitors with duct tape on their arms were having a hard time with this.
To the contrary, sports tape has a moderate texture and natural stickiness to it. Sports tape, in my experience, even without tacky, will give you a little better grip on most stones than bare skin alone. The only stones that I have lifted that felt easier to lift with bare skin than with tape on the forearms are the polished granite spheres I have lifted at Pat Povilaitis’s house. Their ultra smooth surface seemed to grip better against the forearms than other atlas stones made from concrete poured into plastic molds, which the vast majority of strongman event atlas stones are made of.
I go over all of this and more in our Stone Lifting DVD. I firmly believe that the information on that disk will help anyone become a better stone lifter, especially new guys who are just getting into the sport, but I’d love to hear how you feel about this wrapping deal.
I know a lot of strongman competitors come to the Diesel site, so I’d like to know what you all think.
Should you wrap your arms or leave them bare?
Should you wrap with sports tape or duct tape? Something else?
Weigh in with how you feel. You may just end up helping somebody improve on the stones as well.
All the best in your training,