August 22, 2012
Weightlifting was changed forever in a two-car garage gym in Akron, Ohio. It was there, at the American College of Modern Weight Lifting (ACMWL) that Lawrence "Larry" Barnholth essentially invented the "squat" style of snatching - a technique which became the standard, and which has gone on to help lifters who used it to set hundreds of National and World Records since then. In 1950, Barnholth, along with his top student Pete George, put together this nifty course "Secrets of the Squat Snatch" which outlined the necessary training for learning the method.
August 22, 2012
I've had this picture of this fantastic old gym in my collection for years and it has always been a mystery as to exactly where it was. Recently, thanks to the wonder of the internet, we have found out that it this is the interior view of the gymnasium of the Ohio State Armory, in Columbus, Ohio. This was a pretty typical gym at the time: plenty of wide open space and a variety of available gymnastic training equipment such as traveling rings, medicine balls, tumbling mats, pommel horses and climbing ropes etc. Like most gyms of the period, the training options were basic, but more than enough to obtain good results. The large and very impressive cemi-circular beamed roof was specifically designed to allow in plenty of natural light. The armory was quite a facility, It was built in 1897 and resembled a Medieval castle, turrets and all, as you can see in the exterior shot below.
August 19, 2012
You have no doubt seen these along the walls in Classic Gyms but didn't know what they were - so now you do. The Swedish Bars (also called Stall Bars or Gymnastic Bars) were created by the Swedish physical training pioneer Pehr Henrik Ling back in the 1800s (a derivation of the climbing ladder). They soon became a standard piece of gymnastic training equipment in physical culture gymnasiums, YMCAs and especially in the military. The Swedish Bars are used to build flexibility as well as to perform a variety of exercises, most notablly abdominal work.
August 18, 2012
On March 25th, 1967 Pat Casey became the first man to break the 600 pound barrier in the bench press with an official lift of 615 --- Keep in mind that was without a bench shirt, elbow wraps or other nonsense that typically goes on these days. Casey was no one-lift specialist either, as he was also the first man to squat over 800 pounds and total over 2000 pounds in an official contest. For his workouts, Casey used to grab a pair of 210 pound dumbbells, haul them over to the incline bench, get the dumbbells into position, perform his reps, then return the dumbbells to the rack -- all unassisted -- quite a feat of strength in its own right.
August 16, 2012
Muscle Up and Make Out! - Straight outta the back of a thousand comic books comes Dave Draper and the World Famous Samson "007" Twister! One twist is all it took to start adding inches of muscle. The chicks clearly dug it and it certainly worked for Dave Draper, who won the IFBB Mr. America in 1965, Mr. Universe in 1967 and Mr. World in 1970.
August 13, 2012
Kettlebells? They have a longer history in America than you might think... Case in point, this "Strength Maker" kettlebell, was produced by Professor Anthony Barker around 1910 or so. The "Strength Maker" was a set which consister of two hollow globes and various handles. Depending on what you wanted to train with, you could screw in a short handle to make a dumbbell, a long handle to make a barbell, or the handle shown above to make a nifty pair of kettlebells. The globes were hollow and weight could be adjusted with shot as needed .
August 11, 2012
Running the country is hard work which is why a regular training schedule is a good idea. Here's Calvin Coolidge getting in a quick Indian Clubs workout in the White House, circa 1923. House Speaker Frederick H. Gillett looks on while training with the wall pulley. It's not hard to understand where Coolidge's interest from physical training stemmed from, he attended Amherst College (class of 1895) which had an extensive school-wide physical eduction program led by the physical culture pioneer Edward "Old Doc" Hitchcock.
August 8, 2012
You've probably seen the old feat of strength where a strongman puts an anvil or a large stone slab on his chest and lets someone hit it with a sledge hammer... but I guarantee you haven't seen this feat before though, -- "The Mighty Atlas," Morris Shapiro, a professional wrestler from Brooklyn, New York, teeth-lifting an anvil while someone else whacks said anvil with a sledge hammer. Now that's impressive! The Mighty Atlas often demonstrated feats of strength before his matches, bending iron bars, snapping chains, ripping phone books etc. He learned the secrets of strength from his father who was a strongman in the Russian Circus in Minsk.
August 6, 2012
The early physical training pioneers were very interested the study of Anthropometry, or the measurement of various aspects of the human body. The device above, a grip dynamometer, which was designed and used by Dudley Allen Sargent at the Hemenway Gymnasium, was used to measure the strength of the hand and forearm musculature. Squeezing the two handles together compressed the springs which caused a small dial to turn and register the applied amount of force thus giving the amount of grip strength (or lack thereof) possessed by the user.