How to Tackle the Atlas Stone Carry Obstacle

Atlas Stone Carry 101

What is the Atlas Stone Carry?

In the Atlas Stone Carry Obstacle, one of the toughest Spartan Race obstacles in OCR, you use a heavy round stone approximately 100 pounds. You pick this stone off the ground and carry it 10-meters, past a set of flags. You drop the stone and then you do 5 burpees. Finally, you pick the stone up again and carry it back.

Atlas Stone Carry Demands

The Atlas Stone Carry demands  a combination of  strength (no surprise) and stamina. Technique is especially important both in terms of performance and avoiding the kind of strain that can lead to injury.

Atlas Stone

Common Mistakes with the Atlas Stone Carry

Not knowing how to pick up an Atlas Stone properly. That and having it get stuck in the mud.

Related: 7 Hardest Spartan Obstacles (+Insider Tips from Spartan Specialists to Conquer Them)

6 Key Tips for Lifting the Atlas Stone

The best way to get better at the Atlas Stone Carry is to find an SGX Coach, Strongman coach, or CrossFit coach in your area to show you how to execute the technique properly, point by point.

 That said, I will attempt to give a short explanation of the proper way to lift an Atlas Stone.

Picking up an Atlas Stone requires a step-by-step method (as you'll see in the video). It's similar to a deadlift, but while the intent is the same — lift something heavy off the ground—  the actual execution is different. One crucial error I see too many people make is to try to lift the stone with just their back.

  1. You need to use your whole body and be as efficient with your energy as possible. Keep this in mind from the beginning.
  2. Dig your fingers as far under the stone as possible so your forearms make contact.
  3. Squeeze the ball with your forearms, sit down, and take a deep breath.
  4. Tighten your core. Brace the muscles that surround and support your trunk and spine by turning them on.
  5. Press your legs into the lift.
  6. Use your whole body. Keep the stone tight to your body and basically muscle it up.  Not just your back or your legs.

Related: Workout of the Day: Big Stonehenge

The Atlas Stone Carry and Racing

In a race, the Atlas Stone is usually not sitting up for you like a golf ball on a tee. Rather,  it's usually smothered in dirt and mud and stuck halfway into the ground.

Atlas Stone

Here's what you do when this is the situation: Don't just try to lift it out from the muck. First, try to roll the Atlas Stone out of the hole. If the ground is soft it should be easy to get your fingers under the stone.

After you finish your first 10 meter haul, be sure that when you drop the stone you are not dumping it into another hole.

Related: Build Grip Strength This Week

This is part of a series of obstacle tips articles by Spartan SGX Level 2 Coach Rich Borgatti. Be sure to check out his  advice on the Barbed-Wire Crawl,  Z-Wall Traverse, Wall Climbs, the Spear Throw and the Bucket Carry.

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