Shouldered An Atlas Stone

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"The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones."
--
William Faulkner

Named after the
punished Greek titan that was forced to hold a large round object, atlas stones in strongman competition are utilized to test the ability to hold something without an ergonomic handle. Atlas stones are usually round balls of cement. The larger the diameter of the stone, the heavier it is.

At
San Francisco CrossFit, they only have one size stone. It's a little over 70 pounds. At the World's Strongest Man competition, they get up to 325 pounds.
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If you saw my post on
log cleans, you'll notice that the movement for getting the stone to my shoulder was very similar to that.

The stone started between my legs.
Screen shot 2011-07-17 at 12.23.14 AM-1 (dragged)

It's lifted straight up and rested, momentarily, on the knees.
Screen shot 2011-07-17 at 11.09.38 AM-1 (dragged)

From there, I changed my grip so I could wrap my body and arms around the stone.
Screen shot 2011-07-17 at 11.10.14 AM

This is followed by a violent and snappy hip extension that drove the weight up my body and to my shoulder.
Screen shot 2011-07-17 at 12.24.30 AM-1 (dragged)

I ended up doing this quite a few times just so I could get a good feel for it.


One thing I'd like to so sometime is to make my own atlas stones. They sell molds for them on
Rogue Fitness and other sites. The molds are expensive, but luckily, the cement is not.

I really enjoyed working with these. It's another example of the importance of core strength, grip, and hip extension. The strongman movements I've worked with so far definitely highlight this, but I think these components are essential to human movement in general. Whether you're a grandmother needing to lift a grandchild (or just a bag of groceries), or a fireman that needs to carry a person out of a burning building, your needs don't vary in kind, just in scale. For me, the atlas stone serves as a great reminder of that. Plus, it feels pretty empowering to carry a hefty ball of cement on my shoulder.

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