May 30, 2012
William J. Herrmann was a very knowledgeable physical culturist who taugh and heavily influenced Alan Calvert (in fact, Calvert's classic book "Super Strength" is dedicated to him.) Herrmann's gym, once located at 1325 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was one of the popular hangouts for many of the strength stars of the early 20th century, most notably Sig Klein and Milo Steinborn, who performed a number of strength feats there. Sandow trained at Herrmann's place whenever he visited the US. At Hermann's, classes were taught in boxing, wrestling, fencing, body-building, calisthenics, Indian Clubs, gymnastics and acrobatics. This particular picture was taken in 1931 and shows Milo Steinborn getting in a quick workout on the newly added open air section of the gym (used for hand ball and open air exercises.) Herrmann's son (also named William) won the bronze medal in tumbling at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
May 29, 2012
A look at the interior of the famed 23rd street Y.M.C.A. in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, sometime around 1900. Though the available equipment was spartan by some standards, it was certainly all that was (and is) required to build a high level of strength and vitality. This facility is actually famous for several other reasons: It was one of the first centers of widespread basketball interest and activity in the US... in fact, the team that practiced in this gym, headed by Alfred "The Kid" Abadie and his brother Bob, won the very first national AAU tounament championship in 1898. Charles Merrill and Edmund Lynch (of Merrill Lynch)are said to have met in the swimming pool sometime in 1913 and, as the story goes, many decades later, it was this location that inspired the Villiage People song "Y.M.C.A." Around a decade ago, the building was sold and this area was turned into luxury apartments.
May 26, 2012
His real name was Joseph Greenstein but he was better known as "The Mighty Atom" ...and he became one of the greatest known "Strongmen" of all time despite the fact that he stood only 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed in at 140 pounds. As a young boy in Poland, young Joseph Greenstein was befriended by a Russian champion named Volanko, who taught him the secrets of strengthing his mind. as well as his body. The Mighty Atom bent horseshoes, broke chains chest expansion, bite nails in two, held back airplanes and even once stopped a bullet... The Atom's student Slim "The Hammer Man" Farman also went on to perform strength amazing feats of strength, many of which will never be duplicated.
May 26, 2012
The strength feat that put modern-day Oldtime Strongman Dennis Rogers on the map was when he successfully prevented a pair of Airforce T-34 airplanes from taking off in The Human Chain feat.That's 285 horsepower on each arm! -- and one wrong move meant they would have to scrap Dennis off the runway. This amazing feat earned the Association of Oldtime Barbell and Strongman's (AOBS) highest award from founder Vic Boff.
May 24, 2012
Paul Anderson accomplished many things in his life including an Olympic Gold Medal and World Records in just about every lift he tried... but I bet you didn't know he was also an expert nail driver too. When he traveled around for speaking engagements, Big Paul figured the quickest way to get an audience's attention was to perform an unusual feat of strength -- and a man driving a nail through a wooden board with his bare hand sure fits the bill! Other great nail driving strongmen include Alexander 'Amazing Samson' Zass, Siegmund Breitbart, Dennis Rogers, and The Mighty Atom.
May 23, 2012
Think you could get a pretty good workout here? ...A unique look at some of the equipment once belonging to Harry Shafran and housed in his great gym. Much of what is shown here was previously owned by Warren Lincoln Travis. Some of this equipment has a very interesting story since the time this picture was taken... part of which will be covered in The Dellinger Files Volume II.
May 17, 2012
Bending a horse shoe isn't exactly the easiest thing in the world to do, but Ricardo 'Hardtack' Nelson bent on every morning, in his teeth, no less.Nelson a national hero in his home country where he was known as "The Swedish Lion" but not as well known in the U.S. Nelson was famous for his steel bending feats: scrolling, spike bending, bending steel in his teeth, he was said to even be able to bend a coin with his fingers.
May 16, 2012
Milo Barus was Germany's greatest strongman in the time period between the World Wars. Barus performed a number of spectacular strength feats in his act: Nail Driving, The Human Chain, Steel Bending, Harness Lifting, The "Leg Press", Horse Lifting etc. Here, he has a crowd of ten people bend a heavy steel bar over his head (which sure doesn't look comfortable.) In 1983, a movie was made about his life. Today, a strength competition in his honor takes place in front of his old house at Mühltal Eisenberge and the winner receives the "Milo Barus Cup." Press clipping list Barus at 7 feet tall, though it's hard to tell by the photos if that is the case.
May 14, 2012
Berg-Hantel barbells and plates were the inspiration for all modern Olympic sets. Here, A. Wiedmer, the Lightweight National Champion of Germany in 1924 and 1925, shows how it's done in winning this early contest.
May 12, 2012
John Mallo, from Akron, Ohio, was the Heavyweight Sr. National Weightlifting Champion in 1933. The Nationals were held at the Chicago Word's Fair that year. He totalled 760-1/2 lb. and his press of 231-1/2 pounds broke the previous record which had stood for six years, by five pounds. This was even more impressive given the fact that Mallo had only been training for three years. Mallo was a student of Larry Barnholth at the American College of Modern Weightlifting.
May 11, 2012
George Brosius (far right) is shown here with his famous "Frankfurt Squad." This seven member team was composed of the most talented individuals from the Milwaukee Turnverein of which Brosius was the long time teacher. Against thousands of the best athletes that Europe had to offer, Brosius' team shocked the world in 1880 by winning five out of twenty-two prizes at the international gymnastic competition held at Frankfurt, Germany. They also took first place in a separate German wrestling competition. From left to right: Hermann J. Koehler (2nd prize), Anton Schaefer (4th prize), Friedrich Kasten, Carl Paul (21st prize), Wilhelm Lachenmaier, Otto Wagner (3rd prize), Carl Mueller (5th prize), George Brosius (director)Also of note is the bust of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn looking down from above.
May 8, 2012
23-1/4-inch Arms!... I don't know about that one, but Bill Pettis DID have some pretty impressive guns. He even wrote a course on how he built them which is one of the few training courses that I have not seen. Bill had a brother named Bob who was also impressive.
May 8, 2012
On May 8th, 1896, the great Canadian strongman Louis Cyr performed several amazing feats of strength, among them lifting and shouldering a 433 lb. barrel with one hand. The barrel was filled with a mixture of water and sand and the feat took place at Saint-Louis Hall in Chicago, Illinois.
May 4, 2012
During the "Colorado Experiment" Casey Viator famously gained 63 pounds of muscle mass in 28 days. The workouts were brief and intense and while not an "experiment" in a truest sense of the word, it did show that dramatic results were quite possible under a certain set of circumstances. Interestingly, much of the equipment used was in fact, experimental, and never actually made commercially available. The Nautilus Upright Squat Machine, shown here, is a good example of this. This machine was designed to provide all the benefits of the barbell squat, while reducing or eliminating the drawbacks. This was the only leg machine that Casey used in every workout for the duration of the Colorado Experiment. While it was effective, the potential for the user to be catapulted right out of it was deemed far too great, so this was the only one ever manufactured.
May 2, 2012
The Hack Squat, (or Hack Lift, as it is sometimes called) is a behind-the-back deadlift, as demonstrated by famous oldtime physique star Walter Donald in the pages of Super Strength by Alan Calvert. This movement is not actually named after George Hackenschmidt but gets its name from "Hacke" the German word for ankle, which is roughly where the bar touches before the commencement of the lift. Several lifters have been able to perform this movement with nearly 800 pounds.