If you’re a strongman or strongwoman fan, you must be looking forward to the final event of the entire World’s Strongest Man (WSM) competition: the Atlas Stones. Dubbed as “The Manhood Stones,” this event is a test of strength, power, and perseverance. It also determines the winner of the contest.
However, you might wonder how the event started and how it has become crucial in the strongman contest. Below, we’ll talk about the history of the Atlas Stones to help you appreciate and understand its role more in the WSM competition!
The Atlas Stones History
The name Atlas Stones is based on Atlas, the Titan god of endurance in Greek mythology. It also originates from an ancient competition that involved men lifting huge stones toward walls with various heights.
There were sculptures that featured Atlas holding up a huge celestial orb. Thus, the stones have become a perfect representation of what makes a victorious strongman. The Atlas Stones then surfaced in 1986. These are five round stones with increasing weight — 100 to 160 kilograms.
The strongmen would have to place them onto the five platforms that are around 16 to 33 feet tall. Back then, competitors could hardly lift such five heavy stones. However, as strongmen have become more trained, the weights have also increased. In the 2011 WSM competition, the final event featured a stone weighing 200 kilograms.
While the early WSM competitions included platforms at waist level, the heights have also been raised to make it more challenging for strongmen who have evolved and become stronger.
How Strongmen Train for the Atlas Stones
The preparation for this event is not a walk in the park. First, it’s hard to secure equipment. You can purchase an atlas stone, but you can’t remove or add some weight. Setting up a platform is also challenging.
Fortunately, you can now find several strongman gyms around the globe that can properly guide and prepare you for the competition. They offer the best practices and techniques to develop your strength and lift heavier stones.
In this signature event, many have marked their names in the history of World’s Strongest Man competitions. For instance, Travis Ortmayer has set a Guinness world record for lifting five atlas stones to a 1.5 meter high platform. In 2020, Tom Stoltman also set a 16.01 second record, which surpassed Mateusz Kieliskowski’s 16.09 seconds.
Other champions of the event include Brian Shaw, Magnús ver Magnússon, Magnus Samuelsson, Mariusz Pudzianowski, Žydrūnas Savickas, and Martins Licis.
Setting the World Record for Atlas Stone Lift
Since its introduction in the 1980s, the Atlas Stone event has become the highlight of the World’s Strongest Man competition. More than physical strength, it’s also a test of the competitors’ mental fortitude.
On December 11, 2021, professional strongman Adam Geiger will aim to set the world record for the upcoming Atlas Stone event. Hailing from Colorado, Geiger lands in as the fourth strongest man in the United States. Show your state pride by supporting this Colorado native!
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