German Strongwoman Sandra Bradley First Woman to Lift Fullsterkur Skip to content

German Strongwoman Sandra Bradley First Woman to Lift Fullsterkur

By Erik Pomrenke

sandra bradley
Photo: Sandra Bradley – with permission.

The German strongwoman Sandra Bradley is the first woman to lift the stone known as Fullsterkur near Djúpalónssandur. She has previously tested herself against other famous Icelandic lifting stones, including the Húsafell stone.

Lifting stones

The lifting stones near Djúpalónssandur are a famous feature of Iceland’s cultural and historical heritage, with many bodybuilders coming to the black sand beach to test themselves. Located on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, these stones were traditionally used to test the strength of fishermen, as physical strength was an essential trait for those working in the challenging and dangerous fishing industry.

There are four stones of varying weights, including fullsterkur (full strength) which weighs 154 kg (340 lbs); hálfsterkur (half strength) which weighs 100 kg (220 lbs); hálfdrættingur (half carrier) which weighs 54 kg (119 lbs); and amlóði (sluggard), which weighs 23 kg (50 lbs).


Greatest strength goals

Sandra Bradley, on her most recent trip to Iceland, was the first woman ever recorded to have lifted the heaviest of the Djúpalónssandur stones, fullsterkur. In a statement to Iceland Review, she said “Being able to lift fullsterkur and the Húsafell [stone] were my biggest lifetime strength goals. I wanted to find out if I can live up to these challenges and work my way to be able to lift them. No matter how long it takes. And I wanted to prove not only to myself, but also other women and the world that it is possible.”

She added that lifting fullsterkur was “probably the hardest lift I’ve ever done and the process of getting to a successful lift was one of the most valuable experience I’ve ever had.”

A true test of strength

In 2019, Sandra Bradley and her bodybuilding companion Liefia Ingalls were also the first women in recorded history to lift the Húsafell stone, another notable lifting stone in Iceland. “We were originally there to just have a look and come up with a plan to be able to lift it in the future,” Sandra stated. But on this exploratory 2019 visit, they were already able to lift the 186 kg (410 lb) stone.

Sandra states that she next plans to attempt Leggstein, a 220 kg (485 lb) lifting stone in the Westfjords.

On why she pursues such feats of strength, Sandra added: “stone lifting in general is a true test of not only strength but also skill, grit, and determination. It teaches you to be patient and to think outside of the box. It’s like solving a puzzle. And you get to be in nature and you can do this anywhere you go. Lifting these historic stones is such an amazing and unique experience because you get to connect with the ones who came before. Picking up a rock that has been used as a test of strength for hundreds (or sometimes thousands) of years is such a surreal and incredible feeling. To know that so many more hands have tried to lift them and the soul and effort that people have put into this is one that can not be replicated anywhere else.”


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