Mitchell Hooper Teaches Atlas Stone Technique

The reigning Arnold Strongman Classic UK champion shares his expertise.

The 2023 Australia’s Strongest International (ASI) contest is set for Jan. 21, 2023. Among the 12 strongmen competing in Yapeen, Australia, is the 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic UK champion, Mitchell Hooper:

2023 Australia’s Strongest International Roster

On Jan. 11, 2023, Hooper took to his YouTube channel to publish another seminar video, wherein he taught a gym of athletes how to properly lift an Atlas Stone. Check it out below:

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The video opens with Hooper succinctly laying out the proper starting stance for an Atlas Stone lift:

You want the balls of your feet to be even with the center of the stone.

Additionally, the feet should be placed wide enough that they can still be seen. If the feet are too close to the stone, it will offset the position of the hands to grip the stone — the knees could also press awkwardly against the elbows, further disrupting the initial lift. This is slightly offset with significantly larger stones, but the toes should still be visible.

Name of the game is creating friction by as much surface contact as possible.

Hooper recommends never placing the hands directly under the stone to get as much surface of the arm touching the stone as possible. Instead, place the hands slightly forward so that the forearms can sit snugly against the stone. It should feel like you’re cupping the stone but with straight arms.

Once in the proper position, the first goal of any Atlas Stone lift is to pull the stone to the lap. This is accomplished by using that friction to lift the stone past the knee to the hips. Once there, the hips sink back, and the stone can be rolled to the lap. This is often done in strongman, and the athlete will regrip the stone before loading it onto its pedestal or over a bar.

Deadlift the stone as high as possible.

After changing the grip to prep for the hip extension, the stone should “sit on the sternum,” meaning that the sternum should be pressed tight to the stone. If the stone is kept pinned to the sternum, it should move straight up as you stand.

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A common tendency that is incorrect when attempting to raise a stone higher than the natural height of the athlete is to lift the stone while it’s against the sternum. Hooper suggests keeping the stone pinned and further extending the hips underneath the stone to get additional leverage.

Think about how muscles oppose force and where that force is going.

In the event that the platform the stone is to be loaded onto is tall, the hand positioning during the regrip should not be directly around the stone. Hugging the stone this way will leave no option to maneuver it once at max extension and will be more likely to fail.

The motion off the ground is not a squat; it’s a stiff-leg deadlift.

During the regrip in the lap, the arms should each go over the stone at a 45-degree angle with as much surface area as possible. Hooper reminded his students that the balls of the feet are the indicator for the center of the stone; therefore, the forearms should line up with the balls of the feet when taking the initial grip.

Featured image: @mitchellhooper on Instagram