Training for Gotch

Posted on Sunday, December 10th, 2017 by John Wood
George Hackenshmidt drew a crowd while in training to face Frank Gotch for the second time, in Chicago in 1911. Hack is shown here building his neck strength with the the wrestler’s bridge. His training partners Dr. Benjamin Roller and Gus ‘Americus’ Schoenlein, look on.

Gotch vs. Hackenschmidt

Posted on Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 by John Wood

The greatest pro wrestling match ever held is undoubtedly on April 3rd, 1908 when the Frank Gotch and George “The Russian Lion” Hackenschmidt stepped in the ring to face each other after years of build-up. The undefeated Hackenschmidt was favored to win but after two hours of grappling, he finally submitted to an ankle lock by the American Champion Gotch. The match took place at Chicago’s Dexter Park Pavilion. The referee (middle, above) was Ed Smith.

Gotch and Hackenschmidt would face each other once again on September 4, 1911, this time at Comiskey Park stadium in front of 30,000 fans. Gotch won the rematch in two straight falls and would go on to hold the heavyweight title until he retired in 1913.

Edward Aston

Posted on Monday, January 23rd, 2017 by John Wood
From 1911 to 1934, Edward Aston held the title of ‘Britain’s Strongest Man’ and judging by this picture, it’s not hard to see why. One of Aston’s “Secrets” was to pay particular attention to strengthening the grip and forearm. He employed a number of different exercises to build his hand strength but one of his favorites was to do one-arm timed hangs from a climbing rope.

Josef Grafl

Posted on Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 by John Wood

Josef Grafl, the great strongman from Vienna, Austria, was the man to beat in the weightlifting world in the early 20th century… Grafl won championships in 1908, 1909, twice in 1910, 1911 and his last in 1913.

As you might guess by the image above, Grafl possessed immense pressing power. In Vienna, circa 1912, Grafl pressed 220.5 lbs overhead for 18 repetitions. This was not “military” style popular today but an even more strict performance: with his heels together. It was later estimated by strength historian David P. Willoughby that this performance was equivalent to a maximum single of 344 lbs.

Karl Swoboda Medal

Posted on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 by John Wood

Karl Swoboda Medal

An Austrian by birth, Karl Swoboda was one of the early strength “Giants” — literally — as he eventually reached a bodyweight of over 400 lbs. Swoboda later owned his own restaurant and did plenty of lifting back in the “bier garden.” His best year was 1911 when he won two world titles.
You can read more about Karl Swoboda in Physical Training Simplified by Mark Berry and The Truth Abut Weight Lifting by Alan Calvert.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Louis Vasseur

Posted on Friday, March 21st, 2014 by John Wood

Louis Vasseur, Of Roubaix, was the first man to one-hand snatch 100kg (220 lbs.), a feat which he accomplished in 1911. Vasseur was also a great track and field athlete who excelled in the throwing events, especially the discus, in which he set a French professional record with a throw of 41.6 meters in 1912.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.