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A yoke is a bulky piece of fitness equipment often seen in Strongman training and events that is made up of a large metal frame with a crossbar. Each of the four corners of the frame can be stacked with weight, allowing you to carry very heavy loads.

Why the Yoke: The yoke—mostly used for yoke carries (a.k.a. yoke walks), which require you to put something heavy on your back and move it over a distance—that’s the definition of a functional movement. Using a yoke in your training can significantly strengthen your upper back, posterior chain, legs, hips, and core while making ordinary activities—like moving furniture or carrying heavy suitcases feel like an easy day at the gym.

Anatomy: Yokes will vary based on the manufacturer, but they will always have (a) an adjustable crossbar (to allow for athlete’s varying heights) and (b) four plate storage posts to stack plates. Some yokes also double as a squat rack.

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