Product insight - The tower yoke.
The yoke; a simple frame designed to carry weight, usually on ones shoulders, or less commonly across ones forearms, the Zercher carry. Simple yokes seen in strongman gyms will usually consist of a cross piece in which to carry it, and some way of loading measurable weight, usually plates. Some are small and light, to be used by beginners, some are built of steel girders and way a phenomenal amount to begin with, usually used in a competition or events. There designs vary dramatically, but one principal stays the same; carry the most weight you can.
We never thought we would build a full size yoke. One of the first products we developed was the chain yoke, a simple yet versatile piece of kit that was not only a fraction of the size, but a fraction of the cost of a full size yoke. Still able to be comfortably loaded to 300kg+, it's dynamic nature proved HARDER to use than a normal yoke. And being light enough to press, carry overhead and lunge, we fell in love straight away.
But more and more requests came in for a full size yoke option. It seems they weren't as readily available as we first thought. By the time the Arnolds arrived in 2016, we had committed to building one. We had always said if we were to build one, it would be the biggest and baddest yoke on the market (we already had the chain yoke to cater to lighter start weights); and so the Abrams yoke was born.
2.2 meters high, 166kg unloaded, and capable of loads well clear of any record moved by mortal man or woman, the Abrams yoke looked as terrifying as it was to lift. The unique design of having two complete uprights instead of one, with the cross piece sliding in between created a box section far superior in strength to a single upright, even in much thicker wall tube.
Ensuring this box section is constructed completely square is paramount to weather the yoke will go together at all. Any slight deviation in angle of the mount section at the bottom will amplify at the top, making for a very crooked unit. On the very first prototype, not enough care was taken, and the result was far from ideal. Consequently, significant jig work was created to hold the entire upright together and correct, before a single weld is placed.
The mighty crosspiece itself (weighing 37kg) is constructed of two individual beams, with webbing in between for additional strength. Now the top beam will take even the most brutal beating and scarring from stone loading, leaving the bottom one fresh for heavy carries.
This twin upright construction has proved quite a talking point for competitors, on the topic of how to grip the yoke. The normal position the hands would be in simply does not exist, so users have to choose from either slightly forward, or well behind their normal position. Gripping the crosspiece is still a valid option, or even over it, as I have seen recently.
The Tower Yoke
The Arnolds came and went, and all 3 original Abrams yokes have found homes around the country. We still want to offer a full size yoke, but have relented JUST a tiny bit in the design, to make it more friendly to everyone. Still utilising the double upright technology, they stand 10cm shorter, and are constructed from fractionally thinner tube, as is the crosspiece, to bring it's start weight to 135kg. The uprights being lighter, and some further development on its fastening system has made the tower yoke significantly easily to assemble and disassemble, without sacrificing any structural integrity. And when stood next to conventional yokes, it is still a towering monstrosity by comparison.
The next instalment
As Australia's Strongest Man and the Arnold Classic 2017 approaches once again, we have asked ourselves, how can we go to the next level, from a yoke that made even Thor look like a normal size person? Well we won't ruin the surprise, but I can assure you that the blueprints have been finalized, and it will not disappoint...