Fitness, especially home fitness, has evolved quite a bit in the last few years. Suspension straps, kettlebells, and just plain bodyweight workouts have become extremely popular, and it’s been fascinating to watch equipment evolve to meet these new needs. So when I stumbled across The Yoak, I had to learn more.
I was able to spend some time chatting with the company, which gave me a better idea of what The Yoak was about, besides looking like a Klingon Bat’leth. It’s designed to teach stability, address muscle imbalances, and add new dimensions to existing workouts, all through the unique curved design. It can hold up to 400 pounds for squatting, and can support up to 250 pounds when combined with a suspension trainer, so it really can scale for an athlete at just about any level.
Yoak can be used in “bar mode” or “suspension mode”. In Bar Mode, you can use carabiners to attach kettlebells, sandbags, weight plates, etc., and use it much like you would a barbell for squats and what they call a “Yoak walk” [walking while balancing the Yoak and weights on your shoulders/back]. The difference with the Yoak versus a traditional bar is the curved design, which creates instability and forces you to use proper form and recruit your muscles more evenly. Basically, you can hang the Yoak from something or hang something off the Yoak, and either way you get a way to move more carefully and build strength.
The Yoak was actually conceived initially because of muscle imbalances; the inspiration was to find a way to develop tools to promote better shoulder health. As a result, the Yoak is very rooted in the idea of functional fitness. This isn’t a tool that will get you strong for the sake of being strong, but the kind of tool that lets you build strength and balance that will translate to everyday life, like tossing dog food in the car with ease or being able to fly your kiddo around without throwing out your back. Yoak has already been picked up by a number of gyms, and there’s a great deal of interest from Crossfit as well as clinical work, since it connects so many areas of fitness and equipment.
Yoak is a very new product, but it builds on a lot of classic ideas about balance, fitness, and utilizing your body and muscles to the fullest. In talking to the company, the biggest takeaway is that these are passionate people who care deeply about fitness. They’ve worked incredibly hard to design something that works for someone rehabbing an injury as well as a hardcore powerlifter — that’s not an easy task, and they’ve done an amazing job with it! You can learn more about The Yoak and the various packages they offer at their website, as well as their demonstration videos on YouTube!