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Conquering The Legend: How To Lift The Dinnie Stones

October 10, 2023


The Dinnie Stones, located in Potarch, Scotland, are not just rocks; they are a symbol of legendary strength and an enduring challenge for strength athletes worldwide. These two massive granite boulders, weigh in at an incredible 332.49kg/733lbs, the smaller stone weighs 144.47 kg (318.5 lbs) and the larger 188.02 kg (414.5 lbs). The stones have stood as a test of raw power and determination for over a century. If you're aspiring to join the elite ranks of those who have lifted the Dinnie Stones, read on for a comprehensive guide on how to approach this incredible feat.

  1. Understand the History:

 Before attempting to lift the Dinnie Stones, it's crucial to appreciate their historical significance. They are named after Donald Dinnie, a renowned strongman from the 19th century who not only lifted them successfully but carried them across the Potarch Bridge at a distance of 17ft 1.5inch in 1860. 

Lifting the stones is not just about physical strength but also about honouring a rich tradition.

  1. Build a Strong Foundation:

 Lifting the Dinnie Stones is not for the faint of heart. It requires exceptional grip strength, back strength, and leg power. Before attempting the stones you must ensure you have a solid foundation in strength training, particularly in exercises like deadlifts, squats, and rows.

  1. Focus on Grip Strength:

 Developing an iron grip is non-negotiable for lifting the Dinnie Stones. Incorporate grip-specific exercises into your routine, such as farmer's carries, thick bar training, plate pinches and our Cerberus Strength Dinnie Stone handle replicas to train your fingers, hands, and forearms extensively.

Here's a basic two-day program suitable for any experience level that you can follow in the lead-up to your Dinnie Stones attempt. Please consult with a coach or trainer before attempting this program to ensure it aligns with your current fitness level and goals:

Day 1: Grip Strength and Technique
- Start with a general warm-up to increase blood flow and prepare your muscles.
- Perform wrist and forearm stretches to loosen up the gripping muscles.
  1. Deadlifts:
   - Warm up with light deadlifts (about 40-50% of your one-rep max).
   - Perform 4 sets of 5-6 reps with gradually increasing weight.
   - Focus on your grip during these sets by using a double-overhand grip (no straps).
  1. Farmer's Walk:
   - Use farmer's walk handles or dumbbells if available. Otherwise, heavy kettlebells can work.
   - Perform 4 sets of 30-40 meters with as heavy weight as you can manage.
   - Concentrate on maintaining a strong grip throughout the walk.
Accessory Work:
  1. Grip Training:

   - Finish your workout with specific grip exercises like plate pinches, wrist curls, or gripper squeezes.

   - Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 reps for each exercise.

Day 2: Overload and Core Strength
- Begin with a general warm-up similar to Day 1.
- Include wrist and forearm stretches to keep your grip ready.
  1. Deadlift Overload:
   - Start with a light warm-up set.
   - Perform 4 sets of heavy deadlifts (80-90% of your one-rep max) for 2-3 reps per set.
   - Utilize a mixed grip (one hand overhand, one hand underhand) to simulate the Dinnie Stones' grip.
Accessory Work:
  1. Core Strength:
   - A strong core is crucial for maintaining stability during the Dinnie Stones lift.
   - Include exercises like planks, Russian twists, and hanging leg raises in your routine.
   - Perform 3 sets of 10-15 reps for each core exercise.
Cool Down:
- Finish with static stretching and foam rolling to aid in recovery.
Remember that the Dinnie Stones require immense strength and technique. Progress may be slow, and it's essential to prioritize safety and proper form throughout your training. As you approach your attempt, practice with the actual Dinnie Stones or as close to their dimensions and weight as possible.
  1. Practice with our Cerberus Strength Replica Handles:

Before attempting the actual Dinnie Stones, consider training with with our Cerberus Strength Dinnie Stone Handle replicas. These are the perfect tool for you to train with for lifting the historical stones however, make sure to use varying weights to maximise your grip strength. This will help you build your confidence and familiarity with the lifting technique.

Stone Lifting Overload:

   - Work with weights that are heavier than the Dinnie Stones using our replica handles

   - Perform 3-4 sets of partial lifts or lifts to knee height.

   - These lifts will help you adapt to the heavier weight.

  1. *Learn Proper Technique:*

Lifting the Dinnie Stones requires a specific technique. Stand close to the stones, bend at the hips and knees, and hook your fingers under the stone handles. Use your legs and back to initiate the lift, then stand up straight. Keep the stones close to your body throughout the lift. To practise this technique you can utilise our replica Dinnie Handles at your own home or gym.

Dinnie Stone Technique Drills:

   - Work with lighter weights using our replica Dinnie handles.

   - Perform several sets of technique drills focusing on proper lifting form.

   - Work on your hip hinge, hand placement, and balance.

  1. Work on Your Mental Game:

   Lifting the Dinnie Stones is as much a mental challenge as a physical one. Visualize your success, stay focused, and remain calm under pressure. Many strongmen have failed multiple times before succeeding.

  1. Seek Guidance:

   Consider seeking advice from experienced strongmen such as Brett Nicol whom has lifted the Dinnie stones multiple times. They can provide valuable tips on technique and training strategies.

  1. Prepare for the Weight Difference:

Be ready for the significant difference in weight between the two stones. The lighter stone is particularly challenging due to its unwieldy shape. The best way to train for handling this unique weight distribution is using our Cerberus Strength replica Dinnie Stone Handles; which allow you to add as much or as little weight as you wish during your training.

  1. Plan Your Attempt:

   Lifting the Dinnie Stones requires meticulous planning. Ensure you have the necessary equipment (chalk, lifting straps if allowed, etc.) and that the stones are well-maintained. You will also need permission to attempt the lift.

  1. Persevere and Respect the Stones:

Understand that lifting the Dinnie Stones may take multiple attempts. Donald Dinnie himself reportedly failed on his first try. Respect the stones and the legacy they represent, and keep pushing your limits.


In conclusion, lifting the Dinnie Stones is a Herculean task that requires unparalleled strength, technique, and mental fortitude. It's a challenge that few have conquered, but with dedicated training, perseverance, and a deep appreciation for the history behind these iconic stones, you may just be the next name added to the exclusive list of Dinnie Stone lifters. Remember that this journey is not just about physical strength; it's about honouring a legendary tradition that has endured for over a century. Good luck, and may your grip be as unbreakable as your determination!

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1 comment

  • I attended the Donald Dinnie games in August 2023 to attempt the Dinnie Stones. I became the 252nd person to successfully lift the unassisted. I can say with confidence that the Cerberus replica rings got me where I needed to be. When I put my hands on the real stones I realized how perfect the rings Cerberus made really were. They were exact, I didn’t have to adjust my stance or my grip in the slightest.
    The pins were great also. I would recommend buying either 100 lb plates or some Olympic plates to make sure that you can add enough weight to go past the weight of the stones.

    Reed Smith on

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