Before he became one of the world’s most well known strength historians and authors, David Webster was quite a “Strongman” himself. In fact, David won the Strand Pulling World’s Title back in 1954. He wrote two books specifically on strand pulling (Modern Strand Pulling (1962) and Strength Lore and Strands (1978)) Here’s a look on something he wrote in another of his excellent titles, The Complete Physique Book (1963):
“Much has been said in favor of the chest expander for the man who trains at home in limited space, for the person who has to travel around the countryside and for the person who just wants to keep fit or develop big muscles and herculean strength. Most certainly strand pulling is ideal for these people but it can be also be adapted to suite all other physical culture purposes. Great progress has been made since the first days of the “Chest Expander” — as it was known. Nowadays, the strands are used for everything from remedial work in hospitals to competitive sport and there is considerable evidence to consider evidence to indicate that strands are sold in greater quantities than weight-lifting equipment.
There are a number of reasons why strands are so popular:
1. They are inexpensive, and are now available in numerous strengths ranging from 5-50 pounds.
2. In use or in storage little space is necessary.
3. They have several resistance properties which are not present in other forms of resistance exercises. Some of these properties are a bit too involved for discussion, kinetic recoils and oscillation having a rather specialized application but one great asset will immediately appeal to the enthusiast who is well-versed in the subject.
4. The tension of the springs or bands increases as they are stretched thus “peak contraction” or heavy inner range muscle work is done in every exercise.
For those who are not particularly interested in championship honours it should be stressed that it is not my intention to claim that you should devote all your time to strand-pulling. I believe by strand-pulling, the average person can cram lots of exercises into a short workout and those who practice weightlifting, hand balancing and so on would profit greatly by adding a few strand pulling exercises for variety and all around work.”