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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 ain't nothin' like it anywhere else! You'll want to check back several times per day, we update often.

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Whipper Watson Barbell Plates

Whipper Watson Barbell PlatesThe list of athletes who had their own line of barbells is a pretty short one, but one surprising example is the great Canadian professional wrestler "Whipper" Billy Watson.  Like many "signature" plates, these were mostly available in sporting goods store ~ although they are very tough to come by these days.  Watson had many side ventures, one of which was evidently the barbell business.  Perhaps the idea came from Doug Hepburn, who used to wrestle and perform feats of strength at shows promoted by Watson.

Sig Klein's Press

Sig Klein's Press

A Look at Sig Klein's record military press: 229-1/4 lbs. at a bodyweight of 152 lbs. Keep in mind this was a true "press;" back straight, heels together, knees locked -- not the "standing bench press" of later years. You won't find many heavyweights these days who could duplicate such a weight in this style, so for a man of Sig's size, this is a truly phenomenal feat.

Handbalancing Made Easy by E.M. Orlick

Professor E.M. Orlick was an outstanding strongman, physical culturist and gymnast who came from a long line of circus performers.
 
Over the years Orlick wrote hundreds of training articles on a variety of topics and was also the editor or "Mr. America" magazine for a number of years as well as the assistant editor of a Boxing/Wrestling magazine.

While Orlick was certainly proficient at a number of strength feats,, handbalancing was his forte, and he wrote several training courses on the subject, one of which was "Handbalancing Made Easy."

Orlick's other handbalancing training courses include: "Walking and Jumping on Your Hands," "How To Do The One-Hand Handstand" ~ all of which we'll be reprinting at some point.
Handbalancing Made Easy by E.M. Orlick

The Smith Machine

Rudy Smith and the Smith Machine
You've heard of the Smith Machine?  Well here's 'Smith' as in Rudy Smith who came up with his machine in the early 1950's as a manager at Vic Tanny's Gym in Los Angeles, California.  Today a Smith machine can be found in just about every gym in the land.  In the picture above, Rudy is sitting on the very first Smith machine ever.  

Mr. John

Mr. John. Vaudeville

Now THAT'S a chest expander!  "Mr. John" was a vaudeville performer in the teens who worked feats of strength into a slapstick comedy routine.  As you might guess, many of these feats involved prodigious strand pulling feats.

Physical Culture Magazine: April, 1906

Physical Culture Magazine, April, 1906A look at the cover of Bernarr MacFadden's Physical Culture Magazine from April of 1906.  Macfadden's arm graces the cover and while his methods were unconventional (even by today's standards) they were certainly effective.

Jackson Barbell Company Plates

Jackson Barbell Plates

You are more likely to win the lottery than come across any equipment from the The Jackson Barbell Company. We are incredibly fortunate to have several full sets in our facility. This equipment is a true joy to train with as Andy Jackson's immense attention to detail is evident over every square inch.

Anchor Lifting

Don't have a weight set?

No worries, grab anything with some reasonable heft and you should be in business, as this gent demonstrates in lifting a very cool "Popeye" anchor while on holiday at the beach.

Barbells and dumbbells were made to be lifted so they are perfectly balanced, but at times it pays to lift awkward, unbalanced objects and I'd say this anchor certainly fits the bill nicely.
Anchor Lifting

Siegmund Breitbart Newspaper Clipping

Siegmund Breitbart Newspaper Clipping
Siegmund Breitbart


The great strongman Siegmund Breitbart toured the United States in the 1920's, performing feats of strength AND amazing crowds wherever he went.

Here's a clipping from the Chicago News, October 22nd, 1923, showing Breitbart demonstrating his nail driving ability -- pounding a nail through a one-inch thick oak board with nothing but his bare hand.

Nail Driving is one of the classical strongman feats, one that not only wows 'em
every time but also one that builds tremendous strength in the shoulder and upper body.   Several "oldtime" boxers actually practiced nail driving in order to build striking power.

Luigi "Milo" Brinn

Luigi 'Milo' Brinn
Milo Brinn (born Luigi Borra) performed feats of strength and took on all comers as a wrestler at the famous Folies Berger in Paris.  Brinn's act at the Folies consisted of tumbling and gymnastics, hand balancing, figure display, heavy juggling and feats of supporting and carrying weights.  He could perform a crucifix with 66lb. in each hand and could do a one-leg squat holding 60 kg.

As a wrestler, Brinn won the amateur world's title  in 1887 and supposedly once defeated Sandow in a match.
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