Welcome to the World's Strongest Blog!
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.
Keep in mind that what you see on this page only the tip of the iceberg, check our Archive Section for all our back posts. If you are looking for any subject in particular, please try our Search page
If you want to "like" this section of our blog, please use the button above, otherwise, each individual post has it's own unique "like" button located in the upper right. Please share anything you find of interest with anyone you know who might like it!
Ahmed Madrali was actually the second well-known wrestler with the nickname "The Terrible Turk" (The first being Yusuf İsmail about a decade prior.) In one of the biggest matches of the time, on January 30, 1904, Ahmed Madrali took on "The Russian Lion" George Hackenschmidt at Olympia Hall in London, England. Anticipation for this match was high... not only were these two great competitors, there was also more than a little bit of bad blood as Madrali was managed by Antonio Pierri, who Hackenschmidt had previously defeated in 1902.
A record crowd of 20,000 people were in attendance (which also caused the largest traffic jam ever recorded up to that time.) Unfortunately the match did not end decisively... less than a minute after opening bell Madrali dislocated his elbow after being "thrown" by Hackenschmidt and could not continue. Though not ideal, this victory put Hackenschmidt's name on the map in the wrestling world and increased his fame considerably.
Also, fortunately, Madrali's injury was not serious and he was back wrestling again three months later. In 1905, Madrali made up for this defeat by winning the wrestling championship of southern France defeating "The German Oak" Ernest Siegfried. As evident in this rare picture taken from around that time, "The Terrible Turk" was also clearly a big fan of kettlebell training.
The land down under has had its fair share of great strongmen and one of the most well known was Don Athaldo from New South Wales. Athaldo (born Walter Joseph) overcame a sickly childhood and injuries incurred during World War I to become a circus strongman. Athaldo had a flair for performing, often donning tiger-skin outfits, gladiator boots and a firey red cape. Athaldo performed a number of unusual feats, including carrying a horse up a ladder with the use of a harness and supporting an automobile in the "leg press" position. Athaldo also wrote a number of training courses which were very well received.
Czechoslovakian-born Gustav Fristensky was known professionally as "The Bohemian Hercules" -- and he was aptly named. Fristensky once ran the 100 meter dash in 14 seconds while also carrying an extra 90 kg. He was also very good at repetition lifting, having been able to jerk 176 pounds 26 times and 220 pounds 18 times. Like many strongmen of the day he was also a very good wrestler (amateur and later pro). Fristensky's coach was none other than Georg Lurich.
We specialize in bringing you content that you won't find anywhere else, and here's a great example: pictured above you'll find Great Beckett "The Five-Plank Marvel." How did he get this nickname? His act consisted of hammering a large nail through (count'em) five thick wooden planks... then pulling out the nail with his teeth. Needless to say, the strength of neck, jaw, gums and teeth required for this performance is prodigious.
The French strongman Noel le Gaulois was the man to beat at certain lifts in the late 19th century. He won the world's championship in Brussels, Belgium in 1897, with a two-arm snatch with 220 pounds, a two-arm jerk of 253-pounds and a one-arm snatch of a 143-pounds... All lifts which would still be respectable a century later.
Like many strongmen of the period, he was also a very good wrestler. Later, Le Gaulois owned a café/gymnasium which was the gathering place for the famous strongmen of the day. Also, so you know, "le Gaulois" was not his actual last name but a nickname The Gaul, which referred to his outstanding mustache.
A rare look at a shot from the French Weightlifting Championship of 1942. Unfortunately records from the time period are spotty, so we don't know this lifter's name (although it may possibly be Augustin D'Halluin).
Like many big athletic competitions, this event was held at the famous Voltaire Gymnasium in Paris. Originally built in 1870, the Voltaire Gymnasium is still around, if you know where to look... it has been preserved and athletic events are still held there to this day. It's pretty amazing to think that you can go lift in the same place that Charles Rigoulot and Louis Hostin set many of their records.
Shown here is Richard Thomas of Niagra Falls, New York, and his weights, circa 1931. Mr. Thomas ran a private gym of about thirty members and was also clearly a big fan of kettlebell handles. These were Milo Barbell Co. weights and bars as things had only just barely gotten started down in York, PA at the time...
A rare image of the Gobelin Athletic Club in Paris, France, circa 1910. This was a fairly typical training studio at the time, with plenty of globe barbells, globe dumbbells, block weight, Indian Clubs, gymnastic rings and climbing ropes -- pretty much anything a strength athlete could want or need.
The extremely long globe barbells leaning up against the wall on left are a pretty interesting concept... The large, open sand pit was to prevent breakage to any globes which may have been dropped during use. This gym is where the great lifter Charles Rigoulot got his start.
The Nautilus Pullover, demonstrated here by Three-time Mr. Olympia winner Sergio Oliva, was often called "The Upper Body Squat" because it trained the largest and strongest muscles of the back in a way that is not possible with regular barbells and dumbbells...
However, like any tool, the pullover must be used correctly. "Correctly use" entails not just the form of the movement itself but also the volume and intensity in which sets and reps are performed. A lot of people dind't do it right from the outset and wrote it off, which is a shame... Once you "get" how to use the pullover correctly, the results are like night and day. Though this particular machine was originally in production over forty years ago, they are still surprisingly easy to find -- we may actually do a special feature on the pullover at some point.