July 29, 2012
Here's one you probably haven't seen before:Behold, one of the few images of Eugen Sandow doing something athletic: performing a back somersault. A back somersault was often the exclamation point to finish his act, showing the audience that his muscles weren't just for show. In fact, many people are more impressed by a back somersualt than lifting a heavy weight.Sandow could perform a back somersault with a 56 pound dumbbell in each hand.Like many early strongmen, Sandow's early training consisted of basic gymnastics movements, calisthenics and hand balancing -- all of which continued to serve him well throughout his career.
July 24, 2012
There's no question that if you want to be truly strong you've got to have a strong grip. Many people thnk you need a laundry list of exercises to accomplish this goal but the truth is that focusing on a few simple exercises is all it takes. One of the very best exercises for doing so is the basic one-arm barbell deadlift, a lift that can be done in any gym in the land.Above is Mr. L.A. Chappell, the World's Amateur Heavyweight lifting champion lifting 448-1/2 pounds. A short while later, he improved this lift to 502 pounds! Chappell was a studen of J.C. Tolson, The Young Mighty Apollon. Note the unusual cambered bar used for the lift. Though it may make the lift a little easier because it does not rotate like a normal Olympic barbell, notice that this bar is also a little thicker. We may possibly have a bar like this available at some point. If you are interested in learning more about the Ole-Arm Deadlift, or possibly adding it to your workout, there is a fantastic article about it in The Dellinger Files, Volume I.
July 21, 2012
Many people think "Strength" only comes down to the muscles - it doesn't. One Oldtime Strongman who understood this concept very well was Paul Von Boeckmann from New Braunfels, Texas whose "Breathing Gymnastics" course focused on building lung power along with great strength and development. Von Boeckmann was certainly on to something as he won many championships in both wrestling and weightlifting. He could bent-press of 201 pounds, do a "hand and thigh" lift with 1652 pounds and has an immense "challenge" Indian club that no one could shoulder.
July 17, 2012
A look at the Official Program for the 1947 World's Weight Lifting Championships held at the Municipal Auditorium in Philadelphia, PA. Pictured are members of the 1946 US team consisting of Stanley Stanczyk, Frank Spellman, John Terpak, Emerick Ishikawa, Bob Hoffman and Frank Kay (Not pictured: John Davis). At the Championships, which were held on September 26 and 27th, 1947, the US team ran the table, taking the Gold Medal in every single weight class and winning 10 medals overall.
July 16, 2012
A rare look at a French weightlifting club, and their awesome training equipment, circa 1906. One thing is for sure about the French lifters: they certainly had plenty of style. Their equipment is basic: globe barbells, globe dumbbells, block weights, chest expanders etc, but undoubtedly more than enough to get it done. Note the Sandow poster on the back wall. The president, Msr. Gustave Dechelpretre sits in the center.
July 16, 2012
Sailor Jim White "The Champion Strongman of the Navy" pulls a loaded bus down the streets of Washington D.C. with his teeth on October 6th, 1921. White accomplished this prodigeous feat to generate awareness and money for unemployed servicemen and it was not the first time he did so for a cuase. He also used his great strength to sell war bonds, raise money for the Red Cross and recruit for the Navy as well. White became the Navy's official strongman while serving aboard the battleship U.S.S. Texas in 1917. His repertoire was not limited to stunts of jaw and neck strength, "Sailor" also was a champion nail bender and was featured in "Ripley's Believe it or Not" many times over.