New Blog

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.

Keep in mind that what you see on this page only the tip of the iceberg, check our Archive Section for all our back posts. If you are looking for any subject in particular, please try our Search page

If you want to "like" this section of our blog, please use the button above, otherwise, each individual post has it's own unique "like" button located in the upper right. Please share anything you find of interest with anyone you know who might like it!

An "Ice Cold" Strength Feat

Joe Mongelli, a former pupil of Sig Klein, was an iceman by trade. He could carry a 325 pound block of ice on his back, then, using ice tongs, could pick up a 120 pound block of ice with his right hand and a 60 pound block with his left. Joe could walk the length of a city block carrying the entire 505 pound load!

Schemansky Stalks The Bar...

From the late 1940s to mid-1960s, Norb Schemansky was America's most successful Olympic Weightlifter and the first weightlifter to medal in four Olympic Games, (despite missing the 1956 games.)

Do you think he means business in the shot above? That's from the 1964 Olympic tryouts. Here's a look at Norb Schemansky's achievements over the course of his amazing career:

  • Olympic Champion - 1952 Olympic Games, Helsinki
  • Silver Medal - 1948 Olympic Games, London
  • Bronze Medal - 1960, Rome, 1964, Tokyo
  • World Champion (1951, 1953, and 1954)
  • 1955 Pan American Games Heavyweight Champion
  • Silver Medal - Senior World Championships (1947, 1962, 1963)
  • Bronze Medal - Senior World Championships (1964)
And best career marks:

  • Press - 415 lbs.
  • Snatch - 363 3/4 lbs.
  • Clean and Jerk - 445 lbs.
  • Total - 1200 lbs. (400-335-445)
In addition to his weightlifting exploits, Norb also famously cleaned, then thrice jerked the Apollon Wheels.

Iron Man Lifting News - Vol.4, No. 4 - December, 1959

Iron Man Magazine was mostly oriented towards bodybuilding so Peary Rader started up another side-publication oriented towards heavy weight lifting and what would eventually become Powerlifting. "Iron Man Lifting News" started out in 1954 at brochure size and eventually grew to a full fledged magazine. Issues are pretty rare as they were only available by subscription and never appeared on the newsstand. As a result, a number of incredible training articles flew under the radar. To give you a great example, this issue -- Vol. 4, No 4. from December, 1959 -- was devoted specifically to how to clean and jerk maximum poundages. As you can see, the techniques of several great champions, Schemansky, Kono, Louis Martin, and others were analyzed in great detail.

Copies are extremely hard to come by but in case you are interested, this issue of Lifting News is posted in its entirety in THE IRON LEAGUE.

Latvian Sport Club, 1970

The view from a Latvian Sport Club, circa 1970. Not that it's any great revelation but kettlebells were (and are), very popular in eastern Europe countries.

Bob Hoffman's Protein From The Sea

Bob Hoffman's Protein From The Sea!

Straight from the pages of early 1960's Strength and Health magazine comes Bob Hoffman's Protein From The Sea! You remember the ads and if you ever tried it you sure never forgot it. Here's some of the copy:
Fish are considered to be the best fed animals in the world, consuming nutritious, organically-rich vegetation and other fish, which in turn have eaten the organically-rich foods so abundant in the depths of the sea. The fish protein used in HOFFMAN'S PROTEIN FROM THE SEA is richer than organic meats and many other high protein products in the essential amino acids. It digests well, is almost 100% assimilated and supplies your body with elements it needs for building, maintenance and repair.

TAKE ONLY 1 TEASPOON AT LUNCH AND DINNER. Here is real economy! You take only 1 teaspoonful at lunch and dinner for the low, low cost of 15 cents per day. This gives you more protein than found in many full course meals! Best of all, 2 teaspoonfulls of HOFFMAN'S PROTEIN FROM THE SEA provides 18 grams of pure protein and helps complete and assimilate 180 grams of incomplete protein found in cereals and vegetables--an amazing burst of nutritive power! Available in handy powder and convenient tablets.

Bruce Randall Barbell & Dumbbell Exercises

The Billard Barbell Company tapped 1959 Mr. America Bruce Randall as their spokesman and he often promoted weight sets at Sears and Montgomery Ward stores all over the country. Who knows how many trainees got their start with one of these sets?

Armwrestling's First Super Match

Starting in the 1930's, the man to beat in the armwrestling (sometimes called "wrist wrestling") world was California strength athlete and tavern owner Mac Batchelor. People came from far and wide to have a go with Mac but none succeeded, Batchelor undefeated in an estimated 4000 matches.

It just so happened, in the mid-40's a new challenge showed up in town in the form of Earle Audet, a two-time national champion shotputter and professional football player for the Los Angeles Dons. Audet was also similarly undefeated as an armwrestler ...someone had the grand idea to pit these two titans head to head and the first "Supermatch" was born.

December, 16th, 1946 was the date and they met up in the famed Embassy auditorium for a 2 out of 3 falls bout.  Audet tipped the scales at 250 lbs., which was certainly large for the time but Batchelor was closer to 300 lbs. Outweighed and out-experienced, it was Batchelor who eventually came out the winner and declared the World's champion. It should also be noted that the table used was designed by George F. Jowett.

Rocky Marciano Stone Lifting at Greenwood Lake

One of the famous boxing training "camps" could be found in Greenwood Lake, New York. The list of of great champions trained there for their biggest fights is long and impressive: Joe Louis, Billy Conn, Archie Moore, Sugar Ray Robinson, Floyd Patterson and Rocky Marciano (shown here, lifting stones in preparation for his bout with Harry Matthews on July, 28, 1952.)

Greenwood Lake is a nine-mile finger of water that extends right into New Jersey and offers spartan living and a way to get away from civilization. There were plenty of roads, footpaths and other natural amenities that boxers could take advantage of for their preparation efforts (as you can see above.)

... and, in addition, thanks to the wonder of modern technology, we can  show you the Marciano v. Matthews fight as well:

Radwan's Steel Bending

Here's a closer look at Stanley Radwan's hand in action, bending some steel.

Axle Öfverstén

Axle Öfverstén was a Swedish strongman who performed with the Carl Busch and Mosebacke Circuses. His signature feat was to lift a horse, and as you can see, he also had excellent taste in equipment. Öfverstén's protégé, Oscar Wahlund also went on to become a famous strongman.

Syndicate content