Top 10 Health Benefits of Caber Tossing


One of Scotland’s traditional sporting events is by far one of the most physically challenging. As part of the Scotland Highland Games, caber tossing requires participants to pick up and toss a giant wooden caber (pole) that is tapered with a larger, heavier top. The goal is to turn the caber end over end so that when it lands, it ends up as close to the 12 o’clock position as possible. However, turning the caber is itself a challenging feat, and anywhere between 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock is considered to be a valid throw. If the caber doesn’t turn, it is judged based on the angle at which it falls in relation to the judge, who stands behind the player during the toss.

  • Increased core strength: The caber is usually made from a Larch tree and is typically 19 feet, 6 inches (5.94 m) tall and weighs 175 pounds (79 kg). Standing and maintaining balance with a top-heavy pole requires core strength.
  • Cardiovascular workout: The competitor must run a few paces, all while balancing the top heavy wooden pole and throw it up in the air. During training, this is done repetitively, raising the heart rate.
  • Increased upper body strength: Hurling a large tree trunk that weighs over 100 pounds into the air is no easy feat, and competitors often train like weightlifters. The range of motion is also from mid body to a full extension overhead. Throwers are allowed three attempts during competition, so being strong enough to curb muscle fatigue is important.
  • Increased precision: This is not only a sport of strength, but of precision. The caber must be thrown and flipped away from the thrower at the 12:00 position. This means that the thrower must be accurate in balancing the caber and keeping it aligned during the throw.
  • Focus: In order to aim accurately, the thrower must be intensely focused on the task at hand. Being able to focus translates to daily life as well.
  • Increased glute strength: The glutes are the largest muscle in the body and are used to help the core stabilize during the lift. The glutes are fundamental to actually being able to lift the caber from the ground and protect the back.
  • Strong back: The back muscles must be strong and supportive during the lift and during the toss. Having weak back muscles can lead to injury, so competitors should focus on weight training for back strength as a supplement to their arm strength.
  • Feeling of being part of a tradition: Caber tossing is deeply ingrained in Scottish culture and has a solid following of fans and like-minded competitors.
  • Increased self-esteem: Successful caber tossing can lead to increased self-esteem. This niche sport requires a lot of physical strength and being able to use it in a precise manner will increase a competitor’s self-confidence.
  • Good for the mind: As with all sports, the feel-good endorphins released during exercise are good for mood and help curb depression.

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