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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 ain't nothin' like it anywhere else! You'll want to check back several times per day, we update often.

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Galen Gough - "The World's Miracle Strongman"

Billed as "The World's Miracle Strongman," Galen Gough from Howard''s Grove, Kentucky certainly lived up to his title. Gough was injured while serving in World War I, but built himself back to health and strength through physical training methods. His results were so dramatic that a career as a performing strongman soon followed.

Gough performed feats of strength in carnivals, fairs and vaudeville houses all over the country. In addition to "traditional" strongman feats such as The Human Link, Nail Driving, and bar bending, Gough came up with many of his own including dangling from a rope tied to an airplane by his teeth, with a 50 pound weight in each hand, biting keys in half, and juggling a 300-pound anvil!

One of his many adventures was to perform feats of strength as publicity stunts for the Louisville, Kentucky- based Oertel Brewing Company which is the origin of the 'Barrel' barbell pictured above.
Tags: Galen Gough

The Spalding Grip Machine

What is lost upon many people is that "machines" have as much of a history with strength training as barbells and dumbbells do. Shown here is an interesting piece, The Spalding Grip Machine, circa 1914. This looks like a very well designed machine, one that would be just as effective (and important) nearly a century later.

Early Bodybuilder Bobby Pandour

Bobby Pandour was an early physique superstar and Vaudeville performer during the 1900's. Surprisingly, Pandour never trained with heavy weights but built his incredible physique with gymnastics, muscle control work, hand balancing and high-rep training with a pair of 10-pound dumbbells.

At his peak, Pandour weighed only 160 pounds at a height of 5'6". It was reported that he had a 42-inch chest, 23-inch thighs and 17-inch arms. As you can see, his development is quite impressive even a century later.

Frank Gotch's Step Over Toe Hold

Frank Gotch's step over toe hold was the most feared submission move probably of all time. It could be applied quickly and efficently from almost any angle and few people knew how to defend it -- his opponents never knew what him 'em.

He used it to dispatch the likes of George Hackenschmidt, Benjamin Roller and Stanislaus Zbyszko.

Gotch, as masterfully trained by Farmer Burns, had two main weapons: a precise execution of his moves and holds, and an almost superhuman level of conditioning -- and it should also be noted that neither of which require innate talent.

Keg Training With Kevin Tolbert

Here's Kevin Tolbert having a little "fun" with a loaded keg, outside Dr. Ken's place, sometime in the 1980's. Kevin is now the head Strength and Conditioning coach for The University of Michigan Wolverines football team -- clearly they are in good hands.

Russian Kettlebell Lifting Contest, 1965

Here's something you don't see every day, an actual Russian Kettlebell contest. This one was held in Moscow, circa 1965. In these types of contests the object is to get the kettlebell (or bells, when a pair is used - look closely, there's a pair on the platform here.) overhead as many times as possible in a 10:00 time period. Usually the one-arm snatch or two arm jerk is contested and, as you can see there is certainly no lack of willing participants.

Ironmind Silver Crush Grippers

Many, many years ago, when Ironmind first started producing hand grippers, they were known as "Silver Crush" grippers and I'm sure you can see why -- chromed springs and brilliant silver handles. These grippers did not have the numbers engraved into the bottom of the handles, nor the distinctive band, and there were only three strengths available: #1, #2, and #3.

Iron Palm Training

Another interesting martal art training method is to build up hand strength and conditioning by driving them into sand... then rice... then gravel... then iron shot. As the size and density of the striking material increases, the hands follow suit. Keep in mind that this is simply another form of progression, the principle behind all successful physical training.

Unknown Strongman #7

There are a lot of well-known "names" throughout strength history. Just spend a few minutes on this site and you'll get a good idea of most of them. But there are also hundreds, if not thousands of strongmen out there whose names and feats have been lost to the sands of time.

Take this gentleman, for example: All we know is that he was active in the Holyoke, Massachusetts area at the turn of the century... and he had good taste in equipment. That's a fine looking dumbbell by his feet. Only time will tell if we ever learn anything more about him.

Yousef Housane

Yousef Housane was a great early wrestler and one of Earle E. Liederman's top students. Housane was well-known for his incredible Bicep Development which was quite impressive, especially considering the time period (he could use some work on his forearms though).
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