August 30, 2015
Larry Cianchetta (later known as Larry Powers) from Staten Island, New York graced the cover of the January, 1959 issue of Mr. America Magazine. He went on to win a number of bodybuilding titles including, appropriately enough, the IFBB Mr. America in 1960. Also, the article 'Rope-Chinning for Blade Sharp Definition,' by E.M. Orlick is available at The Iron League.
August 28, 2015
In case you might be wondering why the great Apollon was known as a true 'King of Strength' and could eaily lift weights that others couldn't even budge, here's a pretty clear illustration. On the left, the forearm of an early professional wrestler named Wolff which measured 16-3/8ths inches in circumference. Apollon's arm, on the right, measured over twenty inches around but even more impressive was his massive forearm which appears even bigger than Mr. Wolff's upper arm.
August 27, 2015
Here's a classic shot of boxer Billie Miskie training with a medicine ball, circa 1920. Miskie was deep in training to face the great Jack Dempsey for the World's Heavyweight title in Benton Harbor, Michigan on September, 6th of that year (a fight Miskle lost by Knockout in the 3rd round, the only time he got knocked out in his entire career.) For you trivia buffs, this was the very first heavyweight title match that was ever broadcast on radio.  Medicine ball training was always very popular with the oldtime boxers, and for very good reason.
August 25, 2015
Bruce Lee was described by many as a "forearm fanatic" which makes perfect sense when one is devoted to the martial science - stronger wrists and forearms translate to harder punches and better grappling. This style of gripper is a simple design and has been around for decades, well before Bruce Lee came along, yet many people still know and refer to it as "The Bruce Lee Grip Machine" This particular piece was made for Bruce by his friend George Lee (no relation) and he used it often. We have our own version of this type of grip machine available from time to time. This device actually brings quite a bit to the table, most importantly in our opinion, is to be able to train the crushing movement in different ranges of motion. much like one could use a power rack to improve various exercises
August 25, 2015
Kettlebells are thought by many people to be uniquely Russian. While there is no question that they have very strong roots there, kettlebells have a long tradition in other areas of the world as well. This rare picture was taken in Iran, circa 1897, showing these practitioners of 'Varzesh-e Pahlavani' (Iranian Martial Arts) who obviously use them as a part of their training. The text offers no explanation as to why they are fastened together by ropes. Also of note are the Kaebade (i.e. Iron Bows) at their feet. That unique training tool is swung from one shoulder to the other, building upper-body strength.
August 24, 2015
Sandow's Grip Dumbbells were one of the earliest pieces of commercial training equipment, and the most popular as well. Here we have a nifty advertising poster for them from 1901 that not many folks have seen before.
August 19, 2015
How about this thing of beauty? Known as Rekordnaia Stanga or 'World Record Barbell," these Russian sets were imported by Chester O. Teegarden's STRONG Barbell Company of Sacramento, California back in the 1960's and advertised for sale in Iron Man or Lifting News. They were steel with nickel plating and as you might guess, they were not cheap to bring over. Hard to say how many of these sets were ever sold but we know of at least one, Pat Casey did a lot of lifting and set many records on one of these beautiful sets.
August 19, 2015
A look at Giuseppe Lamberti, circa 1905. Unfortunately not much is known about this gent, but in the only resource we have for him he is listed at a wrestling champion. We have not been able to find any more details. Regardless, like most wrestlers of those days, his physical development was impressive, any modern bodybuilder would be happy to have a set of arms like his.
August 14, 2015
Here's a rare look at the great John Davis. Hard to tell were this shot is from though. This image was actually from a German tobacco card from 1952. If you take a close look, those are BAWLA (British Amateur Weight Lifting Association) Plates so it may be from the 1948 Olympics, held in London, where Davis took home the gold medal.  Problem is, it doesn't match up to any other shots we have seen from that time period.  Either way, another look at JD in action is always a good thing.
August 14, 2015
If you ever get a flat tire, you won't need a jack if "The Amazing Samson" Alexander Zass is on your friend list. This picture was taken around 1920. Cars were pretty heavy back then and there isn't much leverage to be had from this position, this is no small feat.

August, 2015