Product Reviews

What Should You Look For When Purchasing A Strongman Yoke?

March 4th 2020

What are the best strongman yokes for your money?

Can something be too cheap or too expensive?

You just want to make sure that whatever you purchase will last.

So, in this article, we will go over everything you want, need and breathe about strongman yokes along with some frequency asked questions at the end.

Best strongman yokes

This is a list of the best Strongman yokes for your wallet:

 

  • Titan T3 Series Yoke (Any size)
  • TDS Fitness Yoke
  • Valor Fitness BD-21 Yoke
  • OneFitWonder Strongman Yoke
  • FringeSport Strongman Yoke

 

Titan’s T3 Series Yoke (Tall)

This is a great yoke that can withstand the pressures of Strongman training.

Here is a bulleted list of its features:

  • Adjustable crossbar (Mandatory feature)
  • Crossbar diameter = 2.95”
  • 92” tall (Usually used outside or indoors with high ceilings)
  • Inside width - 45”
  • Weight of the yoke - 178lbs
  • Weigh capacity of the yoke - 750lbs
  • Uprights are 2” x3” 11 gauge steel
  • Entire footprint - 51” x 52”

The Titan’s T3 Series Yoke (Tall) can also be used as a sled and atlas stone apparatus.

This yoke can be used as a squat rack, bench press or overhead press setup but you would need to have your own hooks.

With this current sale, the T3 series yoke (tall) does not include the mounts for you to squat or press in.

Nevertheless, this is still a beautiful yoke and Strongman competitor would be proud to train with one of these bad boys.

If you are looking for the short version in the T3 series, it comes at a height of 72” and a weight of 166lbs.

Minor changes but they make a big difference when space is an issue.

TDS Fitness Yoke

A more budget-friendly option compared to the Titan’s T3 Series.

Here are some of the features:

  • Adjustable crossbar (Mandatory feature)
  • Crossbar diameter = 2”
  • 67” tall (A bit smaller than the Titan’s T3 series (short))
  • Weight of the yoke - 75lbs
  • Weigh capacity of the yoke - 600lbs
  • Uprights are 2” x4” 
  • Entire footprint - 52” x 50”

If you are looking for a barebones Strongman yoke, this may be something to look for.

Because the crossbar has a thin diameter, it would be advisable to load atlas stones over this yoke.

Instead, this yoke would solely be used either a yoke, as intended, or a sled to push or pull.

However, TDS Fitness also created a yoke that does include the ability to squat, bench press or overhead press in (right here).

It is not one of their most popular products since a power cage or squat rack can be purchased instead and is much more reliable.

Valor Fitness BD-21 Yoke

This Strongman Yoke can rival some of the more well-known brands in the industry.

Here are some of the features:

  • Adjustable crossbar (Mandatory feature)
  • Crossbar diameter = 4”
  • 92” tall (Usually used outside or indoors with high ceilings)
  • Inside width - 42.5”
  • Weight of the yoke - 160lbs
  • Weigh capacity of the yoke - 750lbs
  • Uprights are 2” x3” 11-gauge steel
  • Entire footprint - 49.5” x 49”
  • Comes with 2 J-hooks (for benching, squatting and overhead pressing)
  • 3-year warranty

This Strongman yoke has a lot of great features fit for Strongman training.

A thick crossbar diameter, sturdy material used and can be loaded up heavy.

It also can probably replace your power rack/cages at home if you are in need of space.

It comes with complementary J-hooks which can be adjusted.

A separate purchase of safeties is also offered but for the purpose of a Strongman yoke, this will not be needed.

With its smaller width, this may make it easier for many competitors to train with.

However, depending on your contest, you may not want your training to be easier than your competition day.

To each their own.

OneFitWonder Strongman Yoke

Another one of the less known brands that builds Strongman yokes.

Let us check out the specs:

  • Adjustable crossbar (Mandatory feature)
  • Crossbar diameter = 2”
  • 71” tall 
  • Weight of the yoke - 180lbs
  • Weigh capacity of the yoke - 1000lbs
  • Uprights are 3” x3” 
  • Entire footprint - 52” x 53”
  • Comes with 2 J-hooks (for benching, squatting and overhead pressing)
  • Includes two 12” storage pegs on the side

This Strongman yoke can be loaded up more because there is an extra inch in the uprights.

The crossbar diameter is a bit on the smaller side so it may not be something you want to do atlas stones on recklessly.

And it does come with complementary J-hooks.

So, your squatting, benching and overhead pressing needs are met here.

In a way, this is sort of a hybrid of the Titan T3 Series (short) and the Valor Fitness BD-21 yoke.

It has some qualities of both and as a result, this product is out.

FringeSport Strongman Yoke

Back to more popular brands and their Strongman yokes.

Again, here are the features:

  • Adjustable crossbar (Mandatory feature)
  • Crossbar diameter = 2”
  • 71” tall 
  • Weight of the yoke - 180lbs
  • Weigh capacity of the yoke - 1000lbs
  • Uprights are 2.375” x 2.375”
  • Entire footprint - 52” x 53”
  • Comes with 2 J-hooks (for benching, squatting and overhead pressing)
  • Includes two 12” storage pegs on the side
  • Made of steel
  • 1-year warranty

It is a standard Strongman yoke.

The crossbar diameter could be a bit thicker but it can be loaded up to 1000lbs.

It has a relatively wide frame compared to the other Strongman yokes on the market.

In addition to that, it can be fitted into much smaller spaces compared to taller yokes.

You will not be disappointed with this yoke.

How do I know if I am choosing the right Strongman yoke?

Most yokes will be built the same.

Let us be real.

It takes time and dedication to make high-quality strength training equipment.

These things are supposed to last.

So, let us briefly touch on some variables you should be aware of:

Thick metal and bolts

Make sure your Strongman yoke has a thick crossbar and at least two bolts on each side of the crossbar.

I would consider a 2” diameter the minimum for a Strongman yoke.

However, you may find that in a competition that you will use a thicker crossbar.

Be mindful of that.

And for the nuts and bolts, make sure there are no flaws in the design.

This means nuts and bolts in weird places of the yoke when there should be just one smooth piece of metal.

The uprights (where weight is loaded)

The uprights should be at least 2” x 2”.

This is because you want it to hold standard 2” plates while also having the ability to stack more plates into the yoke.

For most people, 2” x 3” will be plenty to train with.

Anything more, you may need to have a custom Strongman yoke.

Type of material used

11-gauge steel should be used as the minimum.

This should be an industry standard.

Other features 

Strongman yokes can be versatile.

With certain yokes mentioned above, they can be used as squatting stations, bench press stations, and overhead press stations.

You can also use them for conditioning like sled drags or pulls.

There is also a pull-bar on many Strongman yokes - just an additional tool to be used by lighter athletes.

If you do not need all these extra features, there are a few Strongman yokes that are built for the sole purpose of only being a Strongman yoke.

However, a lot of companies created yokes to be multifunctional.

As a result, they offer a lot of different services and types of training.

This is a luxury that many older lifters did not have back in the day.

 

Is a Strongman Yoke necessary for training?

If you are competing in any Strongman competition, training the yoke is one of the most staple events in Strongman competitions.

If you want to get good and win competitions, you need to train with a yoke.

That is given.

However, if you are a strength athlete looking to make gains, adding Strongman exercises into your routine is a great way to develop strength.

Not only strength but also power, conditioning, explosiveness, and general athletic abilities.

The same can be said with any loaded carries.

With that said, heavy deadlifts and farmer’s carries can be used as a substitute for yoke training temporarily.

Why?

It is the loading event that also requires you to move quickly.

And training any part of that event is helpful.

Whether you are practicing heavy loads with the deadlift.

Or you are practicing conditioning with the farmer’s walks.

Mix both these elements together and you have the yoke.

 

Now, we can go into the FAQs (frequency asked questions) about strongman yokes.

How much does a strongman yoke weigh?

Unloaded strongman yokes can weigh between 75lbs to 180lbs, with most of the heavy-duty yokes weighing between 160lbs-180lbs. 

Strongman yokes vary in terms of loading with some that can load up to 600lbs in weight.

Whereas others can load up to 1000lbs in weight.

If you are trying to cheap out and load a yoke past its weight limit, that will be up to your best judgment.

Manufacturers placed warnings and safety precautions for a reason and it is just not smart to place stress that your equipment cannot handle.

What is a strongman yoke?

A strongman yoke is primarily a strength and conditioning tool used in strongman competition and training. It is used to perform weighted yoke walks, which is a current staple strongman event.

However, it was not always the strongman yoke.

It was originally called and known as a fridge carry, done during 1977 World’s Strongest Man.

Competitors would carry this “fridge contraption” which weighed 904lbs over 30’ for a timed race.

This was also where Franco Columbo had a very serious leg injury on the air.

And for the purpose of this article, I will not show you that graphic footage.

Then, in 1993 World’ Strongest Man, they debuted the car carry and retired the fridge carry.

Here is a video of athletes crushing the car carry:

The car carry still sees usage from time to time but as you can see, it would be expensive and difficult to make new cars for new events every single time.

So, in 2004, the super yoke was created and used in every single event since its debut.

Here is footage of a Strongman yoke in the Arnold Classic:

Because these athletes need weighted carries over 1200+lbs, they needed to personally design a Strongman yoke that can support the competition.

The Strongman yoke is the perfect tool to train with if you want to improve your strength, willpower, and mental toughness.

Even if you do not compete in Strongman, there is still a lot of heavy training to be done in order to make great progress.

How do you train without a yoke?

You can train with heavy deadlifts and farmer’s walks as a substitute while you order your Strongman yoke.

It would be better to use upright farmer’s handles than the traditional farmer’s handles.

I own a pair of the standard farmer’s handles and you will just have a better life experience if you do not have to load plates that are touching the ground.

What is a good yoke weight carry?

In local competitions, the lightest yoke weight for men is around 415lbs while the heaviest weight can be over 700+lbs.

For lightweight novice men, some competitions have them lifting 415lbs while the open superheavyweight men lift up to 725lbs.

For lightweight novice women, competitions have them lifting 235lbs while the open superheavyweight women lift up to 415lbs.

These are just some example weights I found when researching local Strongman competitions across the United States.

Not too many local contests have the yoke walk for an event.

Nevertheless, training the yoke walk to at least match the local competition level would be exceeding expectations for the average athlete.

So, if you are doing 500-600lbs yoke walks quickly, you are doing well.

How can I improve my yoke walk?

You need to start to train the yoke walk at least once a week. Accessories are optional, depending on your weaknesses.

As a rule of thumb and advice from 2019 World Strongest Man Martins Licis, work on technique first before your strength.

He also mentions that many strongman competitors focus too much on strength and not a lot of emphasis is placed on technique.

Unless you are a genetic freak, I find that you should always be working on your strength.

However, it may be easier to work on technique as well simultaneously since you are at ground zero.

First, you need to learn what good yoke walking technique is.

This is an excellent video that demonstrates how to perform the yoke walk to the best of your ability:

And you do not need to use too much weight at first.

Make sure to keep on moving your feet as quickly as you can while fixing your posture, arm position, and gaze.

Slowly, you can add weight as it seems fit.

Accessories you can do in order to improve your yoke walk are the following:

  • Deadlifts
  • Farmer’s carries
  • Loaded carries (kegs, sandbags)
  • Barbell squats

You may have noticed a pattern but they are all multi-joint compound movements. 

And you should train them with some intensity as well!

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