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!

1938 World Weightlifting Championships - Heavyweight Winners

A rare shot of the lineup of heavyweight winners at the 1938 World Weightlifting Championships held in Vienna (Which was then a part of Germany.) From left to right Josef Manger of Germany (410 kg. total), Steve Stanko of the United States (397.5 kg. total) and Arnold Luhaar of Estonia (390 kg. total).

Signor Cronos

Here's the Italian strongman Signor Cronos performing a harness lift of an automobile, circa 1925. Other than clearly not skipping leg day, unfortunately we don't know anything else about him.

Hercules Curls

Steve Reeves getting in a little arm work during the filming of one of his Hercules movies. Italian beauty, Sylva Koscina, looks on in amusement. She was Reeeves' co-star in both Hercules (1958) and Hercules Unchained (1960).

The Expander Overhead Downward Pull

John Grimek demonstrates the overhead downward pull with a set of York chest expanders. This movement is STILL one of the very best back developers and can't be done with a barbell or dumbbell. If you are lucky enough to have access to a good set of expanders, this move should be in your program. Grimek also may have done a few squats in his day...

Universal Bodybuilding Course - POWER

Another great vintage ad for the Universal Bodybuilding Course ~ The most fantastic muscle-building system known to man! The Universal Bodybuilding Course is available HERE on Kindle or also in The Iron League.

George F. Jowett on Anvil Lifting

"...Talking about feats with an anvil reminds me of a particular feat that I performed impromptu which takes a great amount of confidence as well as strength. It happened at one of the times that I picked up an anvil by the horn in a smithy shop, and after that stunt I pressed the anvil to arm's length by lying it on its broadside upon the flat of my hand, which is not as easy as it sounds. After I had done this I put the anvil on the floor on its base.

We began to talk about various anvil feats being so difficult because of its awkward unbalanced construction. One man remarked that it would be some stunt to balance the anvil on the hand upside down. That meant the face would rest on the hand and the heavy wide base on top. Somehow I conceived the notion I could do it, and accordingly I took hold of the face with my right hand, and with the help of the left arm got the weight to the shoulder.

Despite the wide base and the bad balance caused by same and the horn, I not only succeeded in balancing the anvil by its face, but pressed it to arm's length, to the amazement of all. I have done it many times since, and for this volume I performed the same feat, thinking it might interest my readers. The anvil weighed one hundred sixty-eight pounds..."

George Jowett
The Key to Might and Muscle, Chapter 9
Written in 1926

Joe Ragusa

Strongman Joe Ragusa does a... actually I don't know what you call this one.. a neck lift? ... either way it looks pretty extreme. The bar is loaded to 655 pounds and it sure doesn't look very comfortable. Ragusa was originally from the Bronx but came out to Hollywood and like many strongman-types, got bit parts as a "heavy" in a few movies. As far as strength feats, he was deceptively strong: Joe could do a two-finger deadlift with 515 pounds and backlift an Elephant. This picture was snapped at Muscle Beach (Zabo Koszewski, always looking cool in his dark glasses, peers on at the upper left.)

Elwood Holbrook

A look at strength star Ellwood Holbrook right around the time when he placed second in the light-heavyweight class at the 1944 Sr. Nationals with a 720 lb. total. Just a few years before, Holbrook rightly took home the 'Best Arms' sub-category and placed fourth overall at the 1941 AAU Mr. America Contest. Holbrook weighed only 165 pounds or so and routinely bent-pressed well over his bodyweight -- his best was around 270 lbs. while he never weighed over 170 lbs. Hollbrook didn't do any special training other than his focus on the bent-press. After a long day of construction work he trained in his garage with nothing more than an Olympic set.

Selig "Ajax" Whitman

Selig Whitman is another perfect example of an individual who is small of stature but extra large in strength. Whitman stood five feet 8 1/2 inches tall and weighed but 162 pounds... His most famous feats include lifting a 1,030 lb. dumbbell with his teeth ...pushing a 27,000 freight car up an incline for 50 feet (at St. John's Park) ...tearing two packs of cards at once ...and turning a forward somersault with a 25 lb. dumbbell in each hand. In the early 1890's, Selig toured the country as "Ajax The Strongman" and actually appeared at times on the same bill as John L. Sullivan, Like many performers, Whitman eventually got tired of the traveling life and went to New York City where he joined the police force. Of course, his impressive list of strength feats only grew from there: on one particularly busy day, he arrested a drunk, but the patrol wagon was nowhere to be found, so he carried the 250-lb. man back to the station on his back...

As if that weren't enough work for the day, a short while later a horse had fallen in front of the street carrier and neither horse nor carrier could be budged, Whitman put his shoulder to the car and as onlookers later reported "lifted it as a boy would pick up a baby."

Whitman was the guy they sent in first whenever any "trouble" started -- he once captured four would-be rioters single-handedly. In his 26 years on the force, Whitman made over 2000 arrests.

Paby Salas

The Cricifix Lift is a great Oldtime lift and a tremendous test of shoulder strength. Here Paby Salas of Monterrey, Mexico performs what he claims was a world record at the time: 55-1/4 pounds in the left hand and 55-1/2 pounds in the right at a bodyweight of 161 pounds. Paby is 50 years of age in this picture.
Syndicate content