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Max 'The Strongman' Rosenstock

Max "The Strongman" Rosenstock holds a pair of plans back as in the human link stunt at the Culver City Airport, circa 1928. Max also bent steel, ripper phone books in half and did supporting feats.

Arkady Vorobyev

Arkady Vorobyev took an interest in weightlifting while serving in the Russian Navy during WWII and it led to a hall of fame career. Vorobyev was one of the most dominant lifters of the 1950's, taking gold in two Olympic Games (1956, Melbourne, 1960, Rome) five World Championships (1953-1955, 1957-58) and five European championships (1950, 1953-1955, 1958). Vorobyev set 16 World records over the course of his career. He went on to become a noted strength researcher and his "Textbook on Weightlifting," written in 1978, is thought of as a modern classic in the field.

Ali Kotier

Syrian athlete Ali Kotier is shown here lifting a few famous stage weights. Kotier was featured frequently in Alan Calvert's Milo Barbell literature as a fantastic example of how one could build incredible strength without being huge in stature: Kotier weighed less than 140 pounds but could put well over 300 lbs. overhead.

A. V. Verge

Arthur Verge, of the famous Camberwell Weight-Lifting Club, was the winner of the Open London Handicap Tournament of 1915 and holder of 10, 11, and 12-stone and Heavyweight Amateur Records. He was a pupil of W.A. Pullum.


"Special" foods are not a new thing, case in point "Bovril" a salty meat extract which first appeared in 1889. Thomas Inch swore by it, and went on record saying that it was BOVRIL that helped him break all those strength records.

When you buy a set of YORK DUMBBELLS you also get SWINGBELLS!

When you buy a set of YORK DUMBBELLS you also get SWINGBELLS! ~ and everyone loves swingbells. Swingbells are still an interesting concept today and, of course, dumbbells are always tough to beat.

John Grimek vs. The Cyr Dumbbell

Also, the Cyr dumbell we had was always a bone of contention. Men from all parts of the country came to see if they might get it overhead. It weighed “only” 202 pounds empty but it could be loaded with lead shot to over 270. We never loaded it over 269½ pounds, and even then it defied most men who tried it.

One time, Milo Steinborn and four or five other wrestlers stopped by on their way to Baltimore. Milo had Primo Carnera with him – truly an impressive individual. When Carnera shook hands you could feel your whole hand being swallowed by something that felt like an octopus. Because all the men were wrestling that evening none of them cared to train that afternoon, but most of the lifters kept on training. In the center of the gym was the awkward Cyr dumbell that seemed to be in the way of everyone. Without thinking I picked it up off the floor and tossed it aside so it wouldn’t be in the way. I remembered the huge hands Carnera had when he shook my hand, and knew if anyone could handle this weight it was him. I called out to him to try it. He smiled as if to say, “that’s easy,” and no one would doubt him. he came over, very casually gripped the stubby handle and made a half-hearted attempt to lift it. A look of surprise came over his face as the weight slipped from his grip. I offered him some chalk to absorb the moisture of his hand. With some disdain, instead, he grabbed the handle and though he lifted it a little you could see that the weight was a great surprise to him.

I tried to explain that there was a slight technique to handle this weight. He just kept looking at me and the awkward hunk of iron mass that was defying him. I chalked up, especially the heel of my hand, gripped the weight and tossed it a few feet to one side. Carnera only growled. However, I feel sure that with his banana-like fingers he could have done things with that Cyr dumbell that no one else could do. Others felt much the same way about this big man.

I must point out that many men who tried to lift the small clumsy dumbell failed. This awkward hunk of iron required lots of practice before one learned the little details needed to be successful at lifting it. No one played around with this weight more than I did; and eventually I was the only one who lifted it off the floor to an overhead position using one and only when it weighed 254 pounds. Stanko was the first man who picked it up off the floor in one sweeping movement. Unfortunately, I do not remember how much it was loaded to at the time. The weight of that dumbell was always being changed. It always looked formidable and defying. Those who tried it remember that only too well.

Sledge Hammer Levering

Dave 'Bull' Bonvicin levers a heavy sledge hammer back in the late 50's. Note the perfect form. -- It was impressive then, and probably even more impressive now.

The Magic Square

You've heard of the Magic Circle... but have you heard of the Magic Square? It was another experiment to make intense leg work more "comfortable." However, like the Magic Circle, it also changed the lifter's center of gravity which was somewhat problematic. Still, the Magic Square was GREAT for Hise Shrugs and calf work. Jerry Liekam demonstrates in the old Iron Man gym.

Louis Cyr Poster

Louis Cyr traveled to Europe in the early 1890's with the idea of a 'feats of strength' challenge match against the great Sandow. This is a rare poster from those times. The match never materialized as Sandow preferred to stick to his posing.

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