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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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The Amazing Samson's Chain Breaking

The Amazing Samson Chain Breaking"The Amazing Samson" Alexander Zass was a master of many different strength feats, among them chain breaking of various sorts.  This is a shot of one of his more original efforts, snapping a chain secured underfoot and wrapped around his neck.

1938 Senior Nationals Program

1938 Sr. Nationals Weightlifting Program

A look at an extremely rare program from the 1938 Senior National Weightlifting contest.  If you had been in attendence, you would have seen quite a show: Firpo Lemma, out of the Bates Barbell Club of Patterson, New Jersey set two records in the 112 lb. class: a press of 205 lb. (which was a World record) and a Clean and jerk of 210 lbs. (An American record).

Anthony Terlazzo set a World record in the 148 lb. class with a Clean and Jerk of 320 lb., John Terpak set an American record in the snatch with a lift of 250 lb.   In the 181 lb. class, Stanley Kratkowski set an American record in the Clean and Jerk with 330 and John Grimek set an American record in the press with 250 lb.

In the heavyweights, Bill Good set an American record in the Clean and Jerk with a lift of 340 lb. but Steve Stanko came along and broke it a few minutes later with a lift of 345 lb.   It should also be noted that Weldon Bullock, then only 17 years old, shook up the weightlifting world with a Clean and Jerk of 330 lb.

Alfred Decottignies

Alfred Decottignies

Alfred Decottignies, shown here 'muscling out'a block weight whilst simultaneously pressing a heavy globe barbell overhead, established the Comines Weightlifting Club in northern France in 1892.   The club is still going strong today making it the oldest ongoing weightlifting club in existance.   Alfred's son, Edmond Decottignies went on to win the gold medal in the lightweight class in the 1924 Paris Olympic games.

Warren Moon on the Double Shoulder

Warren Moon trains on a Nautilus DOuble Shoulder machine

Warren Moon, circa 1976, then a junior at the University of Washington, getting in a workout on a Nautilus double shoulder machine.  Despite training on machines, Moon somehow still went on to become one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

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.

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