The Yoke - The Swiss Army Knife of Strength Equipment
‘Oh nice, are they the Bulldog Yokes? I’ve never actually used one of theirs before.’
‘Yeah, they’re good but they take up a lot of room for something that only does one thing, we don’t programme Yoke carries that often, bit of a waste really.’
‘I suppose you could take the actual Yoke section itself off and flatpack them? Actually, hold on…’
I was already crossing the box floor inquisitively before my sentence had trailed off. I removed a J-Peg from the wall mounted rack and thoughtfully examined it for a second before making a beeline for the eponymous Yokes, gathering dust against one wall of the gym, straddling the Sandbags and Dumbbells stored unceremoniously within their footprint. I located the J-Peg into one of the 50mm spaced holes on the upright of the Yoke and turned back to the reception desk.
‘You can put anything you’d use on the rig onto these and move them to different parts of the gym for people to squat or bench on, or whatever really. They’re basically mobile racks, they’re made from the same box section and literally designed to be carried.’
This was the first time I realised what a multifunctional piece of kit a Yoke had the potential to be, and in all honesty that anecdote pretty succinctly hits every point I’m about to address. Annoyingly, I put the thought to the back of my head and didn’t revisit it again for a few years, regardless I’m glad I did.
In and of itself, a Yoke is an incredible tool, more likely than not a Yoke carry is the lift in which you have the propensity to go heavier than any other, with people routinely performing 20 metre walks with more than double their squat weights, safe in the knowledge that ‘bailing out’ only requires them to bend a few inches at the knees. Unloaded, the option to perform presses and overhead walks adds an upper body element to proceedings. With a quick adjustment, dead stop Anderson squats can be introduced, and lowering the bar even further an interesting, thick grip deadlift variety is quickly unlocked, as well as the ability to drag, push and pull in lieu of a sled or prowler. Back at the top of the uprights, pull-ups can be performed and Gym Rings can be hung for push-up, row and dip work. In more traditional Strongman style, Atlas Ball loads can be easily performed and adjusted for.
And this is before we get into the cross compatibility with other rig accessories…
When I began to draw up a wish list for a garage and garden gym, the idea of a purpose built Rack or Rig didn’t even cross my mind, immediately opting for a Yoke. Left to its own devices, with the addition of a few J-Pegs, it would function perfectly for squats, benching, pull-ups and pretty much anything else you’d expect from a rack, but the ability to quickly dismantle it for storage or transportation sets it apart from even folding racks, in my mind. Within 60 seconds (of course I’ve timed it) I can de-rig, relocate to the sunniest spot in the garden, and engage in the noble pursuit of ‘getting jacked and tanned’.
If I require more space in the garage to accommodate more dynamic activities, I simply leave the Yoke flat packed and upright, occupying less floor space than a few Medicine Balls or Dumbbells. This is a HUGE benefit if you’re tight on space, or the space you have has functions beyond WODs and Metcons; a stripped Yoke, a pile of Bumpers and an upright Olympic Bar can easily be stashed in even the most modest of garages, moreover I would wager that a garden shed would comfortably store the above, ready to quickly transform your garden into an outdoor gym.
In fact, as a proof of concept, on more than one occasion I’ve loaded mine onto the roof rack of a Mini Cooper and travelled across the country with it, reassembling in various car parks and throwing down in groups of three or four.
The compatibility of the full range of rig accessories opens up a plethora of possible training stimuli, from Dip Bars to Landmine Attachments, regular grip Pull-Up Bar and Spotter Arms for rack pulls and even a Wall Ball Target if you’ve got a spanner or two handy and don’t mind a few extra minutes of dismantling, post workout. Through experimentation I’ve also discovered that the spigots that come as standard to side load additional plates, can be removed and turned inward, to be used as a straight bar alternative for dips.
Even if you aren’t a budding Eddie Hall, I truly believe that a Yoke is one of the soundest, most versatile investments you can make, whether you have a garage gym, chase the pump in the garden or even if you’re a gym or box owner looking to save floor space whilst simultaneously adding a huge array of programming options for groups.
To aptly paraphrase the infamous Crossfit Games commentary on Mat Fraser -
‘Is there anything it can’t do?’
- Andrew Tracey
BSY3 - Bulldog Series Yoke 3 - £655.00 (Featured)