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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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1904 German Lifting Team

Here's a rare look at a German weightlifting team circa 1904, and below, a closer look at their outstanding equipment.As was standard for the time period, the kettlebells had large, open handles as they were frequently used for juggling.

Leroy Colbert

Leroy Colbertshown above on teh cover of the May, 1960 issue of Mr. America magazine, was the first man to build 21 inch arms. Yeah, he did a lot of curls. Colbert won the Mr. New York City contest in 1952 and Mr. Eastern America in 1953 but a serious accident prevented him from what would surely have been tremendous success in some of the bigger contests.

Dennis Rogers' Card Notching

Tearing a deck of playing cards is one of the all-time classic feats of strength... there have always been whispers that some strongmen had such fearsome fingers that they could "notch" a quarter-sized hole out of a deck... in fact, many people said it was impossible. Dennis Rogers, however, came along and silenced all the doubters by accomplishing the feat. ... and not only that, he makes it look easy.

If you'd like to learn how to train for card tearing, your first stop should be right here.

Reg Park's Stone Lifting

I don't know if Reg Park ever lifted stones to build his muscles, but he sure did in the movies! Here's Reg as the titular Samson in this still from his 1964 flick "Samson in King Solomon's Mines." Reg, of course, does not disappoint in this mythical role.

Tags: Reg Park

Swingin' With Saxon

"The Swing" is mentioned in several modern courses, but it was a performed in a much different manner back in Arthur Saxon's day. Here are his instructions for performing the lift:

"The muscles called into play are practically the same here as in the one-handed snatch, but the bell must be placed on end between the feet as shown in illustration. Keep the head down, then, with a perfectly straight arm, pull up, using a combination of muscular efforts and concentration as described in the snatch lift. Lean back and watch the dumb-bell with your eyes, and when it is at suitable height suddenly dip beneath same and twist your wrist violently, so that you may place a straight arm beneath the bell."

-from The Development of Physical Power,
Chapter 15 (written in 1906)

Bill Pettis: 23-1/4-inch Arms!

23-1/4-inch Arms!... I don't know if his arms stretched the tape measure quite that far, but Bill Pettis of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, DID have a pretty impressive set of guns. As far as training, Bill liked to do 100 sets of arm work... and they would stay pumped for days afterwards.

Stan Stanczyk's Other Hobby

After winning six Senior National titles, an Olympic gold medal and setting eight Word records, Stan Stanczyk retired from weightlfting and  moved to Miami where he opened a bowling alley. Stanczyk was as meticulous with his bowling as he was with his weightlifting and kept track of every game he ever bowled (he had a lifetime average of 190!)

George H. Benedict

George H. Benedict, of Chicago Illinois, was an early amateur boxing champion and the U.S. National club-swinging champion of 1885. He quite literally wrote the book on Manly sports, covering the aforementioned topics along with wrestling, dumbbell training, gymnastics, swimming and fencing. This rare engraving shows him in fine form while swinging a pair of nifty Spaulding exhibition clubs AND... we'd like to point out  that he is also wearing a pair of roller skates.

Jaroslav Skobla at the 1928 Olympics

A look at the great Czechoslovakian weightlifter Jaroslav Skobla during a reflective moment at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.  Hhe took Bronze...and doesn't look happy about it. Over the next four years, Skobla added 22.5 kg to his total and took the Heavyweight gold medal at the 1932 Los Angeles games. 

Muscle Builder Magazine #1

In August of 1953, Joe Weider began "Muscle Builder" magazine, featuring 1949 AAU Mr. America Jack Delinger on the cover. If you wanted to know how the great muscle champs of the day trained, this was the place to go, check out the roll call of contributors: Clancy Ross (Mr. America, Mr. USA), Floyd Page (Professional Mr. America), Steve Reeves (Mr. World, Mr. America), Alan Stephan (Mr. America), Leo Robert (America's Most Muscular Man), Ed Theriault (Mr. America, Mr. Canada, World's Best Developed Man) Juan Ferraro (Mr. Universe, Mr. Europe), Abe Goldberg (Mr. North America) ~ and many others!

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