Tag Archives: yoke

All about yokes!


The use of yokes as a training tool is often associated with Strongmen like Eddie Hall and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, it’s not too often the everyday fitness enthusiast gets to play “Strongman”, however we see these as invaluable training tools.

If you are unfamiliar with a yoke it is a large metal frame with a adjustable crossbar. Each of the four corners of the frame can be loaded with weight, often with several times your own bodyweight.

The most common way to use a yoke is to pick it up and carry it, however it can pushed and pulled and held too (depending on the make you have).

The great thing about using yokes is it allows you to move weights that would be impossible if loaded onto a barbell for a squat or deadlift. For example….

…Yes, that is a little excessive for us mere mortals, sure is impressive though!

Benefits of yoke carries (and pushes and pulls)

There are many full body weighted movements (squats, presses, deadlifts to name a few), however none of these compare to the head to toe muscle recruitment found when carrying a yoke. This is simply through the fact that you’re putting your body under a much heavier load than it is used to. Everything from your upper back, posterior chain, trunk/core, hips and legs will benefit from yoke training.

For lifters with minimal strongman and/or athletic movement background, strongman training like the use of yokes may help to increase neural drive, increase motor neuron recruitment, and develop a well-rounded strength and power athlete.

…basically it will make you more balanced, stronger and generally more awesome.

How to carry a yoke

Brace (stay ‘tight’): Now that you have that tension, it’s your main job to keep it. Do not underestimate the importance of this, both for safety and effectiveness.

Play around with yoke height: Having the cross bar set a little higher can be useful for that little extra ground clearance. However with the weight sitting little higher you may find the yoke swings more. Find what works for you.

Stance: This should be around shoulder to hip width

Take small, fast steps: This will help you with the previous two points. Large, slow (or stop, start) steps not only make hip/midline stabilisation harder but also introduced more momentum to the yoke causing it to pendulum back and forth.

Create a platform: Find a hand position on the yoke that allows you to create a shelf for the crossbar to sit on.

“Bend: the bar: Not literally, but create tension by trying to wrap the bar around your back and keep it there securely.

Focus on a spot: Keep your eyes ahead (not down to the floor or skywards) and focus on your target.

You don’t have to be a Strongman to use a yoke, but if you want to get strong it’s one of the best tools to have in your toolbox!

Take it for a ride in today’s workout!

Workout of the day for Weds 7th Feb – Strongman & Weightlifting Club


Workout of the Day – CrossFit

Strong Man day

A) Build to a heavy single length yoke carry

B) 10 Rounds For time:
5 Deadlifts (heavy, but unbroken)
100m Sandbag carry

Workout of the Day – Weightlifting Club

De-load week

A) Snatch pull + snatch: 6 x 1+1 @ 75%

B) Overhead squat: 3 x 2 @ 90% of snatch

C) Front squat: 3 x 2 @ 75-80%

D) Bent over row: 3 x 6 @ by feel

Workout of the day for Weds 24th January – Strongman Fun


Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) Yoke Carries Building to a heavy single length

B) For time:
10 Down To 1 Bench press (Building to a heavy set of 10 and maintaining)
Between each interval – 200m Row & 10 Wall ball sit ups

Workout of the Day – Weightlifting Club

A) Snatch + Hang snatch doubles: 6 x 1+1 @ 75-80%
B) Overhead Squat: 3 x 3 @ 85% of snatch
C) Front squat: 3 x 3 @ 75-80%
D) Bent over row: 3 x 6 @ by feel

Workout of the day for Wednesday 10th January – Strongman Day

So these guys are pretty strong…

Why do we incorporate yoke carries into our training? Well, if you have ever got under a heavy yoke you will almost instantly get an idea of the benefits.

Squats and deadlifts are usually the most popular lifts in gym and often it’s because those two movements allow you to lift the most weight, and lifting up heavy stuff makes you feel awesome!

Whilst squats and deadlifts are certainly full-body movements, they don’t quite compare to picking up a heavy yoke and taking it for a walk in terms of head-to-toe muscle recruitment.

Given the fact that you’re putting your body under a much heavier load than it is used to (much heavier than a squat or deadlift!), a heavy yoke walk elicits an awesome physical response in the body. Benefits include strengthening the upper back, glutes, hamstrings, lower back and hips

Given the extreme load placed on the body super heavy carries should be performed occasionally as part of your training routine, even just a couple of times a month can give you great benefits.

In terms of standards to aim for Strength Education recommends 2 x bodyweight as a realistic and achievable weight for men and women who strength train. 2.5 x bodyweight is a marker of good progress, but the next big landmark is 3 x bodyweight, and that’s a pretty advanced standard. For women, 3 x bodyweight is a superb standard…Get yourself to 4 x bodyweight and you are in the top one percent in the world.


Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) Build to a heavy yoke carry

B) Every 90 seconds for 15 Minutes :

5 Bench press (Heavy)
5/5 Dumbbell rows (Heavy)
AMRAP Row for calories in remaining time

Workout of the Day – Weightlifting Club

A) Snatch pull + Snatch
2 x 1+1 @ 70%
2 x 1+1 @ 72.5%
2 x 1+1 @ 75%
B) Push press
4 x 4 @ 70-75%
C) Back squat
4 x 3 @ 70-75%

Upcoming Events and Friday 24th November Workout of the Day

Upcoming Events

November Challenge

Just a few days left in November to get on the leaderboard for the fish game!

This game is found of the Concept 2 Rower and the the object of this game is to rack up as many points as possible by eating the little fish while avoiding the large, dark fish.

Alter your intensity to move your fish up and down the left-hand side of the screen. When an edible “good” fish comes your way, try and gobble it up to get points and avoid the large predators, as they’ll take points off your score.

Each game lasts four minutes, with a play again option at the end.

Whilst this is a game, there is a point to this fishy madness. The Fish Game teaches you how to modulate intensity and it records all your workout information (time, distance, pace per 500 metres, and so on).

Time to go fishin’

Flip Out Trampoline – Saturday 25th November @ 10:00am

It’s like a playground for adults!…

We have organised a 2 hour session at Flip Out Trampoline where there is a ton of fun to be had. Trampolines, climbing, 100M caving experience, 30ft Drop Slide (Slide O’ death), Laser maze and more.

The cost is £15 per person for 2 hours, email james@crossfitthames.com to register your interest. Let’s get bouncy!

We have a CrossFit Level 1 on this weekend, so the gym will be closed on Saturday and Sunday.

12 Days of CrossFit & Christmas Bake-Off

Our annual Christmas WODGANZA is nearly here!

We challenge you to complete 12 days of CrossFit Benchmark workouts, back to back. Day 1 begins on Monday 4th December through to Day 12 Friday 15th December.

The last day is our grand finale and to celebrate in style we are having our Christmas Party with a CrossFit Bake-Off.. Bake your best Christmas goodies and bring it along to our Christmas Party. As members sample the delights they cast their vote for the favourite dish before our Bake of Champion is crowned.

The winner will receive a place on a Cookery and Baking Class at Little Portland Street Cookery School to further hone their skills


Box Notices

The gym is closed this weekend for a CrossFit Level 1 Seminar, but on Saturday we are going to Flip Out Trampoline! Contact james@crossfitthames.com for more info.

– Next week is testing week! Time to see the progress from the strength cycle

– A reminder that if didn’t fetch your shoes from the shoe rack they are in the cubby hole bag storage. They will remain there for the rest of this week. On Friday the 24th they will be shipped off and donated to a new home!


Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) Bench press: 50 reps for time
*Add weight from first time you did this

B) 5 sets of:
100m Carry (Sandbag, KB , Yoke, anything that is heavy and odd for you)
30/30 Side plank
Rest as needed to stay Unbroken

12 Days of CrossFit!

At CrossFit Thames, we have a special Christmas tradition called the The 12 Days of CrossFit.

At Christmas time we challenge you to 12 back-to-back days of CrossFit’s benchmark workouts with day 12 as the grand finale!

So what is the 12 Days of CrossFit about?

We challenge you to 12 back-to-back benchmark days of CrossFit from Monday 4th December to Friday 15th of December.

Not only is the great fun, but it’s also a chance to test yourself. If you are a a bit of a data geek, it’s also a awesome opportunity to fill our your Fitness Level on Beyond the Whiteboard!

How does it all work?

This challenge is open to absolutely everyone, all you need to do is turn up to a class and be ready to train! The coaches will get everyones name on the whiteboard to keep a log of the whole challenge.

Each day we tackle a different benchmark workout form the CrossFit Girl’s to the Hero workouts.

What if I can’t RX the WODs?

This challenge is about taking part, crushing some workouts and having a good time. As with all your training the coaches will provide substitutions and scaling where needed.

What if I can’t make it one day?

Don’t worry if work or family commitments gets in the way, that’s life! Just complete as many workouts as you can. We do not recommend double day WODs to make up for a missed day, this challenge is tough enough as it is!

What happens on the last day, day 12?

Day 12 is the grand finale, this means after the final workout we have a Christmas Party at the gym.

This year we are having a fun Christmas Bake-Off. Bake your best Christmas goodies and bring it along to our Christmas Party. As members sample the delights they cast their vote for the favourite dish before our Bake of Champion is crowned.

Our master baker will win a place on a Cookery and Baking Class at Little Portland Street Cookery School to further hone their skills.

Not interested in the Bake-Off? That’s cool, but still feel free to bring a long a tasty treat to share with your fellow classmates.

What happens if I am not on a unlimited membership?

If you are on our 3x per week membership you can attend the extra classes. As with last year you will be charged £5 per additional class and the proceeds raised during the 12 days will be donated to SHP – The charity for homeless and vulnerable people in London.

Workout of the Day – CrossFit

Strong Man day!

A) Yoke carries – Grab a yoke and load it up. There are many different styles of yoke carries you can play with (front rack, back rack, Zercher, overhead!)

B) Offset Carries – 15-20 Minutes of quality work
100m Off set carry (Change at 50m)
20 Wall ball sit ups
100m Overhead carry KB/DB

Workout of the Day – Weightlifting Club

A) Snatch: 6 x 1 @ 85-90%

B) Snatch pulls: 5 x 2 @ 105%

C) Back squat: 6 x 1 @ 80-85%

D) Bent over rows: 3 x 5 @ by feel

Workout of the day – Wednesday 1st November


Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) Yoke Carries
Choose a variation and build to a heavy/technical load
– Overhead carry
– Front rack carry
– Back rack carry

B) 20 down to 1, reps of:
Calorie airdyne/ row
Perform 1 length Yoke carry OR 2 lengths heavy sandbag carry between each round

Workout of the Day – Weightlifting Club

Week 5

A) Snatch Doubles: 5 x 2 @ 82.5-87.5%
* This is the last week of doubles before we move up to singles only.

B) Snatch pulls: 5 x 2 @ 105%

C) Back squat 5 x 2 @ 80-85%

D) Bent over rows 3 x 8 @ by feel