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Shouldering Stones by Kurtis Bowler - CrossFit Journal

Shouldering Stones

By Kurtis Bowler

In Sports Applications, Videos

December 29, 2009

Video Article

Every CrossFit movement has major form faults such as loss of lumbar curve in a squat or muted hips in a med-ball clean. In stone shouldering, one of the worst faults is simply not trying hard enough.

Lifting a barbell is far easier than lifting an atlas stone, and odd-object lifting has a set of rules all its own. Kurtis Bowler of Rainier CrossFit teaches how to get a heavy stone from the ground to the shoulder, then goes over the major faults of the movement.

Many athletes will set up too far away from the stone and treat the movement like a squat instead of a straight-leg deadlift, while others will ignore core-to-extremity movement in an attempt to curl the stone. Others, of course, lack the grinding determination needed to get an awkward object onto their shoulder.

During a practical session following the lecture, Bowler leads a group of athletes through a lifting session and helps them get the form right for maximum safety and efficiency.

7min 56sec

Additional audio: CrossFit Radio Episode 87, originally aired Oct. 2, 2009.

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6 Comments on “Shouldering Stones”


Zach Even - Esh wrote …

Thnx Kurtis, great video, Bruddah, I rocked these 2 weeks ago supersetted w/sprints around the Globo gym next door :)

5 rounds I did, 2 reps of shouldering (1 on ea. side) and then 1 lap around Globo

I also have my young middle school athletes hit these w/the small D Balls which weigh anywhere from 20 - 40 lbs

The high school athletes crank the sandbags onto the shoulders

Your gym looks like heaven to me, keep bringing the kick ass videos, Kurtis, I'm lovin' em!



wrote …

Another GREAT video on how to use stones. Please keep them coming. If anyone knows where you can buy stones in the Northern Virginia area please email me at

Thanks Curtis.


wrote …

I'd also be looking for a place to pick up molds, as well as info on any alternatives to concrete that can be used for training purposes, such as a silicate or rubber compound.

The only place I know of currently that carries top-end stuff is Slater's Hardware in Ohio.


Frank DiMeo wrote …

Another well-done, clearly presented video, thanks Kurtis!

Jason, we've been using what we call "rockballs" for several years.
They are not as heavy as an Atlas stone, but still good to train with.
All you need is a stability ball, a large funnel,several bags of river gravel, & plenty of tape.
Cut a flap in the ball (don't cut it completely off), put in the funnel and fill it to the weight you want.
Close the flap, tape it with duct tape or grip tape, and you're all set.
You can make a 120lb ball very inexpensively.


wrote …

Thanks Guys,

If you ever make it out our way stop by for a workout Zach. We did a good one a while back. It was sandbag carry, stone shoulders, and skin the cats. We carried about 50 yards, did 15-12-9 on the shouldering and did 8 skin the cats.

Slaters is the place for getting stone molds. I don't think you will find many people selling pre-made stones. There was a place in Idaho called "Stoner's Gym" but their website is down.

I just finished up a stone making video I'll be sending in soon.

Kurtis (even though it says Laurie)


replied to comment from Frank DiMeo


Thanks for the tip- I'm willing to bet they'd go over quite a bit better with my landlord than me lugging around- and mixing- bags of cement.

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