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!
Francois 'Hercule' Elsener, of Roubaix, France was the Chain Breaking World Champion in 1903. Elsener could break chains with ease in every conceivable manner but his pecialty was to break them around his chest and bicep.
Here's one you can try at home: do a front hold out with an Olympic barbell, then, by wrist power alone twist it from horizontal to vertical and back again. At 70 years of age, "The Mighty Norseman," Karl Norberg could do this with ease.
Here's a look at a vintage ad for the Milo Barbell Company circa 1920. Read the words carefully. Interestingly enough, the messages of proper training and necessity for good equipment have not changed one bit over the last hundred years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .