Guest Post: A Brief History Of Stone Lifting

Stone lifting is a sport that has been around for centuries but not many people know about the history or origins of stone lifting. The sport of stone lifting has its roots in Ireland, Scotland and Iceland where people would lift stones as a way to show off their strength.

Today, stone lifting is enjoyed by athletes all over the world, and continues to grow in popularity. In this article, we will take a look at the history of stone lifting and how the sport has evolved over time.

What Is Stone Lifting?

Lifting stones, also known as stone loading, is a sport in which participants lift large stones or rocks. The stones can be of any size and weight. There are a variety of different stone lifting competitions.

The most common type of competition is the time trial, where stone lifters have a set amount of time to lift as many stones as possible. Other popular competitions include the repetitions competition, where stone lifters must lift a stone a certain number of times, and the weightlifting competition, where stone lifters attempt to lift the heaviest stone possible. It’s a test of strength and endurance, and can be both physically and mentally challenging.

Where Does Stone Lifting Originate From?

The origins of stone lifting take us back to ancient Greece, where a weightlifter called Bybon supposedly lifted a stone that weighed 143.5 kilograms or 316 lbs.

Weightlifting was a big part of the ancient Greeks culture in general as they held strength to a high regard. A good example to prove this is the hero, Hercules, who was renowned for his superhuman strength.

Culture Of Stone Lifting


Iceland has a stone lifting culture that is unique and different from anywhere else in the world. In Iceland, stone lifting is seen as a way to connect with their Viking heritage. The Icelandic people would often lift stones as a way to show off their strength and impress others.

The Húsafell Stone is the most famous stone in Iceland. It is a large stone that weighs around 186 kg (410 lb). The stone was introduced to the World’s Strongest Man competition in 1992 where Gregg Ernst set a record at the event by carrying the stone for 70 meters (229 ft 8 in).


The Scottish stone lifting traditions date back to the 17th century, where men would lift the Inver stone as a part of a competition at an Inn in Inver. See what I did there 😉

The Dinnie stones, the two stone weights that are still used in competitions, were first lifted in the 1850s by a Scottish stone mason named Donald Dinnie. The larger stone weighs 188kg (414lbs), and the smaller 144kg (318lbs).

How Has Stone Lifting Evolved?

Stone lifting has evolved significantly since its inception. In the early days of the sport, stones were lifted without any type of equipment. Today, stone lifters use a variety of equipment to help them lift heavier stones.

The use of gloves, chalk, tacky and belts are all common in stone lifting. The sport has also grown in popularity, with stone lifting competitions being held all over the world.

Atlas Stones

One of the most popular stone lifting events is the Atlas stone event. This event was first held in 1990 and has grown in popularity ever since. The aim of the event is to lift a stone onto a platform, known as an Atlas stone, in the quickest time possible. They usually weigh anywhere from 100-160kg. They’re used in a variety of competitions, including the World’s Strongest Man.

As the sport of strongman is becoming more popular, more and more people are looking to buy atlas stones for their home gym to train like the strongest men in the world.

Well-known Stone Lifters

Some of the strongest men to have participated in stone lifting competitions include Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, Bill Kazmaier and Tom Stoltman. These stone lifters have all set world records and are considered to be some of the strongest men in history.

Wrap Up

Stone lifting is a unique sport with a rich history. It’s a sport that requires strength, endurance and mental toughness. With its popularity on the rise, we can only expect to see more stone lifting competitions being held all over the world in the future.

Whether you’re a stone lifter or not, I hope you found this article interesting. Thank you for reading!

Author Bio

My name is Aleksander Saks. I’m an undergraduate in Sports and Exercise Science, a coach/personal trainer and a blogger. My mission is to I help people get stronger and train smarter. I also review and recommend different types of training equipment.


Tell Me What You Think!

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: