Icelandic Stones

Ever see those strongman events on TV and they are carrying those big heavy stones?

Lifting stones are common throughout northern Europe, particularly ScotlandIceland (where it is referred to as steintökin), Scandinavia and Northern England. They were usually heavy local stones, without any modification, with the challenge being to lift such a stone, proving your strength. Some of the stones are in fact so heavy that there has been no authenticated lift in modern times, only legend. Recently, lifting stones have often been incorporated into the World’s Strongest Man competitions.

English: Strongmen event: Shield Carry (Husafe...

English: Strongmen event: Shield Carry (Husafell Stone), 230 kilograms for distance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



In Iceland, lifting stones were categorized  into the

  • fullsterkur (“full strength”) weighing 155 kg (341 pounds)
  • hálfsterkur (“half strength”) at 104 kg (228.8 pounds)
  • hálfdrættingur (“weakling”) at 49 kg (107.8 pounds) and
  • amlóði (“useless”) at 23 kg (50.6 pounds)

They were traditionally used to qualify men for work on fishing boats, with thehálfdrættingur being the minimum weight a man would have to lift onto a ledge at hip-height to qualify. One such set of stones can be found in the town of Djúpalónssandur at the foot of Snæfellsjökull. One of the most famous Icelandic stones is the Husafell Stone which weighs 418 pounds (189.6 kg).


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