The Strength of Paul Anderson

Posted on Friday, December 15th, 2017 by John Wood
Back in the mid-1940’s, Paul Anderson started lifting weights to get bigger for football and just kept growing. He eventually became one of the strongest men of all time while establishing many strength records and winning the Gold Medal at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia.

Paul Anderson was also a Senior World Champion and a 2-time Senior National Champion in Weightlifting. He set nine World Records and Eighteen American records during his career and retired undefeated.

He was also incredibly strong in what would eventually become the three Power Lifts: the squat, bench press and deadlift.

Here’s a look at some of Paul Anderson’s record lifts:

* Squat: 1185 lbs.

* Bench Press: 625 lbs.

* Deadlift Record without Straps: 780 lbs.

* Deadlift Record with “Hooks”: 820 lbs.

* Clean & Press: 485 lbs.

* Clean & Jerk: 485 lbs.

* Snatch: 375 lbs.

* Push Press: 545 lbs.

* Back Lift: 6270 lbs.

* Dumbbell Side Press: 240 lbs. x 40 / 300 lbs. x 11

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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.

Batchelor’s Backlift

Posted on Thursday, October 26th, 2017 by John Wood
A look at mighty Mac Batchelor as he takes a breather from backlifting, circa 1949. Look closely and you’ll see that his “human weight” included Les Stockton and Roy Hilligenn of South Africa (who had recently won the Mr. Pacific Coast contest.) Mac had recently “trained down” to 275 lbs. (a loss of about 50 lbs. from his normal weight.)
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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.

Victor DeLamarre’s Backlift

Posted on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 by John Wood
In October, 1928, Victor DeLamarre performed a backlift of an entire precinct of Quebec policemen. The captain, Emile Trudel, stands in the foreground. Interestingly, DeLamarre only weighed about 200 pounds at the time. It was said that one of the reasons for DeLamarre’s great strength was that he had thicker than average tendons and bones.
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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.

The Heaviest Weight Ever Lifted – June 12th, 1957, Paul Anderson’s Record Backlift

Posted on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 by John Wood
The Heaviest Weight Ever Lifted – June 12th, 1957, Paul Anderson’s Record Backlift

It was on June 12th, 1957 when Paul Anderson backlifted 6270 pounds — a well-documented and still-unbroken feat. Paul Anderson, of course was a noted Olympic Gold Medal Winner and Strongman. If you are unfamiliar with the backlift, it is an oldtime lift which was very popular with many of the greatest strongmen,

…likely as a result of being able to lift some truly huge poundages — backlifts are usually measured by the ton. This made for a much more visually effective feet — to lift a ship, or an elephant, or some cannons, or bales of hay, or beer barrels, or a group of people rather than merely a stack of pig iron. Other great backlifters include Doug Hepburn, John Davis, George Levasseur, Jack Walsh and Louis Cyr who was able to backlift “only” 4300 pounds in his prime.

Anyhow, one reason you don’t see the back lift much these days is that it requires a special setup. (The only modern backlifter that I know of is Steve Justa who Discusses his special backlift setup in Rock Iron Steel.) You’ll need a sturdy thick wood or metal platform and a lot of Weight. In many performances, volunteers from the audience were used to stand on the platform since it was a very easy and convenient source of a lot of weight. There is also a small bench or support underneath the platform which the lifter braces his upper body on.

The lifter then positions himself under the ponderous load and straightens his legs moving the platform off the ground. The movement itself is an inch or less and a “good” lift must be held at least for a count of two. While the backlift may not be the best lift for training these days, heavy supports will never go out of style. Load the bar and hold – squats, deadlifts, benchpress, curls, the standing press – pretty much any lift can be done in this manner. Try it, but be sure to add weight very slowly as this type of training is very demanding on your overall system. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what happens after several weeks of productive training.

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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.

Baillargeon’s Backlift

Posted on Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 by John Wood
Here’s a rare shot of Adrian Baillargeon (of the great Baillargeon Brothers) performing a backlift of well over 3000 pounds.
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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 Cyr’s Backlift

Posted on Saturday, February 20th, 2016 by John Wood

A rare woodcut of the great Louis Cyr’s famous backlift. Cyr astonished the world with a lift of 4337 pounds!
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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.

Andre LaFeuille, The Piano Man

Posted on Saturday, November 29th, 2014 by John Wood

Over half a century before Billy Joel’s hit tune, the original “Piano Man” was Andre LaFeuille of Paris, France. He was a dock worker who became the toast of the town because of his unique ability to…(wait for it)…lift pianos. On August 27th, 1920, LaFeuille (back)lifted four of them, totaling over 3000 pounds, a record at the time.

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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.

Jack Walsh

Posted on Friday, August 22nd, 2014 by John Wood

Jack Walsh from Trenton, New Jersey, is the strongest man you’ve never heard of. Over his career he performed all kinds of crazy strength feats, including lifting elephants, towing trains and letting trucks run over his body. At a bodyweight of 190 pounds, he even broke Louis Cyr’s backlift record. Anyhow, here’s Jack Walsh jerking a 230-pound dumbbell overhead — That’s damn strong! Do you know anybody that can jerk more than bodyweight overhead with one arm?
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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.

Henry Holtgrewe: The Cincinnati Strongman

Posted on Friday, July 12th, 2013 by John Wood

Henry Holtgrewe: The Cincinnati Strongman

Henry Holtgrewe was born in Hanover, Germany in 1862 but came to live in the United States at an early age. He settled in Cincinnati, where he ran a saloon in the Over-The-Rhine area of the city, near down town. In his spare time, he delighted in performing feats of strength, especially lifting barbells and dumbbells with thick handles — which not only confounded smaller-handed competition, but also allowed Henry Holtgrewe to build a tremendous 15-1/2 inch forearm in the process.

Holtgrewe also out “pressed” the great Louis Cyr with a single-arm lift of 287 pounds. It was said that each time Eugen Sandow performed in Cincinnati, Holtgrewe challenged to a lifting contest — and each time Sandow refused.

In 1904, Holtgrewe backlifted two opposing baseball teams at Redlands Field in Cincinnati. The combined weight was estimated at 4103 pounds easily placing him among the strongest backlifters of all time.

Paris ~ The Boat Man

Posted on Sunday, December 23rd, 2012 by John Wood

Paris The Boat Man

Paris, the great French strongman was known as “The Boat Man.” Why? Because in his act he lifted boats! Paris often performed at the famous Folies Bergeres, and backlifted a boatload (literally!) of men, a total weight said to be over 1000 kg.
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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.