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This is THE PLACE for incredible feats, classic and unique equipment, advertisements, magazine covers, Olympic Champions, gymnastics, myths and legends, oldtime physical culture and everything else you can think of having to do with the history of physical training! -- There aint nothin' like it anywhere else! You'll want to check back several times per day, we update often.

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Nino's Lift

Nino, the Italian strongman favored heavy and impressive supporting feats in his act. In the lift pictured above, Nino supported 500kg in the crooks of his arms consisting of a "human dumbbell" filled with six people.


"[In traditional Indian physical culture], nals are roughly equivalent to Western free weights and are lifted to develop arm, shoulder and back strength. Nals are large, cylindrically-carved stones which are hollowed out. A shaft of stone is left in the center of the nal's hollow core and used as a handle. Nals usually weigh about thirty kilograms but come in all sizes and weights. There does not apprar to be any set way in which nals are lifted but the general idea is to usually lift the weight with one or both hands from the ground to above the head in one smooth motion."

~ The Wrestler's Body: by Joseph Alter

This rare photograph dates to the late 1800's and the nal lifted here in what might be called a shoulder bridge is listed to have weighed over 900 lbs.

George Jagendorfer

Austrian strongman George Jagendorfer, shown here circa 1898 during the period where he performed with the Ringling Bros. Circus, was a very popular strongman and one third of the Osman Trio. Even if you weren't sure what year this shot was taken you could easily date it due to Jagendorfer's impressive forearms. This was a characteristic that most strongmen who were active before 1900 all had in common thanks to heavy cleans and other dynamic pulling movements performed with thick, non-rotating barbells.

Gathering of The Greats I

Gathering of The Greats: From Left to Right: Norb Grueber, owner of The Bodybuilder's Sport Shop, (located at 1925 West Division street in Chicago) as well as publisher of The Chicago Bodybuilder Magazine, Sam Greller, Athletic Director of the Chicago Fair, Clarence Johnson, Chairman of Michigan AAU lifting committee, Milo Steinborn, Norb Schemansky, Tony Matic, physical director of Illinois A.C. and former heavyweight boxing champ, Primo Carnera.

The One-Arm Expander Press

Earle E. Liederman was a big fan of chest expander training, and featured chest expanders prominently in his courses. This was certainly with good reason. You won't find a better movement for building shoulder mass and strength than the one-arm expander press shown here.

Universal Bodybuilding Program Ad

A look at an advertisement for Morris Mitchell's Universal Bodybuilding Course circa, 1975. Who knows how many youngesters saved up their allowance and sent away for thise program? Whatever the exact number was, it was high, and anyone who used the course always reported great results. Unforunately this 12-lesson course is all but out of print and copies are extremely hard to come by.  Also of note, their base of operations was Dearborn, Michigan, not too far from here.

Hepburn Backlifts The Canucks

December 30th, 1958 was the date when Doug Hepburn backlifted six members of the Vancouver Canucks hockey team just for kicks. The weight was estimated at 1500 pounds which makes this a pretty easy one as far as backlifts go.

Tags: Doug Hepburn

Farmer Burns on the Wrestler's Bridge

"I wish to impress upon all my students the great value of physical training connected with the bridge exercise. I want you to practice bridging every day, for you can find nothing that will develop the neck and back muscles to such an extent as bridging will do.

You already realize the importance of a very strong neck and it is entirely up to you to have a wonderful neck or not, depending entirely on the amount of study, and time of practice that you give the subject. A strong, well-developed neck is not only valuable to health and your personal athletic appearance, but important in wrestling as well."

~ Farmer Burns, 1912

The Apollon Wheels Arrive

It is fairly common knowledge that on March 3, 1930 Charles Rigoulot attempted, (and of course, subsequently lifted) the famed rail car wheels of Apollon. You probably haven't seen this one though: on the morning of the attempt, the wheels were delivered to the Voltaire Gymnasium from the museum where it normally resided. Here's a rare shot of the crew of workmen getting the wheels off the truck and they sure don't look too thrilled about it... Look closely and you'll see that they delivered more than the wheels that day.

The La Seyne-sur-Mer Athletic Club

A look at the few, but hardy, members of the La Seyne-sur-Mer athletic clubs, circa 1906. La Seyne-sur-Mer is a port town located in south eastern France, and like most all French strongmen, they have an excellent array of training equipment: globe dumbbells, barbells and ring weights.

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