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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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Dennis Rogers

Dennis Rogers

Over the last decade and a half, Dennis Rogers has become the most widely seen Strongman in history. More people have probably seen Dennis than all the other performing strongmen - ever!

Dennis has appeared on The Discovery Channel, The Best Damn Sports Show Period, Ripley's Believe It or Not!, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Stan Lee's Superhumans and dozens of other television shows in the US and all over the world.

You may not believe this but Dennis Rogers weighed 79 lbs. in high school and even today tips the scales at only 160 pounds. Even though he may not fit what you think of as a typical "Strongman" Dennis has performed feats that have yet to be duplicated.

Health and Strength Magazine: October 26th, 1907

Health and Strength Magazine: October 26th, 1907

The great British strongman Thomas Inch graces the cover of the October 26th, 1907 issue of Health and Strength Magazine with his latest feat: holding a loft a bicycle and its rider.  These old Health and Strength mags are all but impossible to find, luckily, we just came across a few of them...

'The Great' Joe Rollino

Joe Rollino

Joe Rollino learned the strongman trade as an assistant to Warren Lincoln Travis at the famed Coney Island. In the 1920's, Rollino branched out into his own strongman act.

Joe stood 5'5" and weighed just under 150 pounds but possessed the strength of someone twice his size. He easily performed all the traditional feats of strength such as back lifting, finger lifting, nail bending, phonebook and playing card tearing and, shown here, bending a spike in his teeth. He once lifted 635 pounds with one finger.

Rollino was also a boxer under the name "Kid Dundee" and, like many strongmen of the day, was a very good hand balancer. Joe was a lifelong vegetarian and lived to 105 years old. He passed away a few years ago, not from sickness or disease but from getting hit by a van while crossing the street to pick up his morning paper.

The Big Wheel at Zuver's Hall of Fame Gym

The Big Wheel at Zuver's Hall of Fame Gym

At Zuver's Hall of Fame Gym, everything is BIG, including the unique piece of equipment seen here: The BIG Wheel. That's a heck of a way to do pulldowns. Check out the handle, and that's a pretty good sized anchor chain too.  Dr. Ken Leistner, who trained at Zuver's long ago, actually had a reproduction of the Big Wheel made for his Iron Island Gym (made by Jim Sutherland.)

Jaw Strength

Many of the Oldtime Strongmen used teeth lifting in their performances and also as a neck developer. If you do decide to incorporate this lift into your training, please do so safely. Here's a classic shot of Jim Murray, managing editor of Strength and Health Magazine, using a York Barbell Company custom-made mouthpiece to lift a 200-pound dumbbell.

Aaron Molyneaux Hewlett

Aaron Molyneaux Hewlett

Aaron Molyneaux Hewlett was the first African American on the Harvard University staff and the director and curator of the Harvard Gymnasium from 1859 to 1871. He also taught gymnastics, boxing and the use of dumbbells.

He is pictured here with the tools of his craft: boxing gloves, Indian Clubs, Dumbbells, medicine balls and the wooden wand. It should also be known that this picture represents the very first time a medicine ball was photographed in the US (taken around 1860). Interestingly, at the time most physical culture figures generally recommended very light apparatus work but Hewlett appeared to favor much heavier clubs and dumbbells. Also of note are those pretty nifty "dumbbell clubs" on the left.

Two other items of interest about Mr. Molyneaux:

His daughter, Virginia married Frederick Douglass.

In 1900, his son, E.M. Hewlett, became the first African American lawyer to win a case before the Supreme Court of the United States (Carter vs. Texas).

Les Willoughby

Les Willoughby

Les Willoughby, the great light-heavyweight British weightlifter, is shown here about to perform the 2-dumbbell press, one of the seven best power-building exercises. His best performance in this lift was a press of 230 pounds for two reps. He could also barbell press 245 lbs., snatch 242-1/2 lbs. clean & jerk 330 pounds and just may have done some squatting in his day.

German Weightlifting Club ~ 1919

A rare shot of a German weightlifting club and their classic equipment, taken around 1919.  Also notice the particularly large and wide handles on their kettlebells.  This style of handle served a specific purpose as the German strength athletes were particularly fond of juggling and throwing and catching their kettlebells. 


I couldn't find anything in our files about Mr. Barletti but the one thing we do know is that he liked to lift horses as a part of his act. He most likely copied this feat from Sandow, and I'd be willing to bet it wasn't exactly done on stage like it is pictured here.

Charles Rigoulot

Charles Rigoulot

Charles Rigoulot was the last great lifter to forgo shot-loaded equipment in international competition. In fact, he won the light-heavyweight Gold Medal  at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, France using a shot-loaded barbell -- and was actually the only lifter to use shot-loaded equipment in the contest.

Rigoulot was also the first man to clean and jerk over 400 pounds, lifted Apollon's Wheels. and broke 57 weightlifting records over the course of his career.  One of these records was a one-arm snatch of 261 pounds, which will likely never be broken. Rigoulot was also a very successful professional wrestler and his greatest match was against fellow strongman Milo Steinborn.

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