Milo Steinborn’s Orange Avenue Gym

Posted on Tuesday, April 30th, 2019 by John Wood
Milo Steinborn's Orange Avenue Gym
Henry “Milo” Steinborn was a 5’8″ 205 lb German wrestler and strongman who became the first man to ever squat 500 lbs. In fact, his world record squat of 553 lbs. (set during the 1920’s) would not be officially bested until the early 1950’s by Doug Hepburn. It was Milo who popularized the heavy deep knee bend as one of the most productive training lifts for anyone interested in building real strength.

In 1952, Milo opened the Orange Avenue Gym down in Orlando, Florida, which makes it the oldest weightlifting gym in America. Along with plenty of weights and barbells, Milo’s Gym had a wrestling ring and other physical training equipment. Milo is flanked here by his sons Dick (left) and Henry (right).

It was here that Milo taught a young Jim Flanagan how to get strong. I was fortunate enough to visit the Orange Avenue Gym on a trip back in 2003 — it still had some of Milo’s original training equipment.

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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.

Quite a “Bar-Belle

Posted on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019 by John Wood
Norma Wieland
Bar”Belle” Norma Wieland lifts some interesting train-wheel weights at Yaco’s Gym in downtown Detroit, Circa 1945. Of course, something as nifty as a train-wheel barbell would have to come from Detroit. There is just something about the look and feel of unique training equipment that makes for better workouts. I bet those particular weights were fun to lift…
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.

Squatting with Casey

Posted on Friday, December 28th, 2018 by John Wood
Squatting with Casey
If there is a “secret” to super strength it’s hard, intense leg work. Here’s eventual 1971 Mr. America Casey Viator getting in a quick squat workout at the infamous quonset hut in Deland, Florida in the early days of Nautilus. There’s 535 lbs. on the bar — not bad for a “training weight.”

The Mr. America contest was still a few months out, and when the day came, Casey won in the most dominating fashion possible taking not only the overall title, but also five out of six of the subdivision: Best Chest, Best Legs, Best Arms, Best Back, and Most Muscular. The only subdivision that Casey didn’t win was “Best Abs” which went to Chuck Amato.

Bob Hoffman’s Bent Press

Posted on Wednesday, August 29th, 2018 by John Wood
Bob Hoffman’s favorite lift was the bent press. Here’s Bob pressing about 240 pounds .This lift took place during a visit to Cuba in early 1939. Note the sweat-shirt, this helped create more friction for the upper body and prevent slippage during the lift — a tactic used by many bent-pressers.
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.

Unknown Strongman #8

Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2018 by John Wood
Another unknown strongman… That’s one great barbell, though.
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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.

Never Miss a Workout!

Posted on Monday, August 13th, 2018 by John Wood
Never Miss a Workout! – The Olympic weightlifting team continued to train even while sailing aboard the SS Manhattan traveling to Berlin for the 1936 Olympic Games. Bill Good is shown practicing his jerks while the other members wait their turn. You want core strength? Try holding a heavy weight overhead while on a ship.
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.

Doug Hepurn – Press!

Posted on Thursday, December 28th, 2017 by John Wood
I wonder how different things would be if the standing press were as popular as the bench press? I suspect there would be many more strong folks walking around. Here’s the great Doug Hepburn pressing 425 pounds from a rack – that’s more than most people can squat! One thing’s for sure, increase your press and you’ll get a whole lot stronger everywhere else too.
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.

Dr. Georges Rouhet’s Favorite Barbell

Posted on Monday, December 25th, 2017 by John Wood
Dr. Georges Rouhet is shown here demonstrating an overhead press with his favorite barbell. It was listed that this barbell weighed 216 French Livres, or just over 233 lbs.
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.

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.

Paul Baillargeon

Posted on Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 by John Wood
I have said many times that Arthur Saxon’s records would never be broken… and they won’t be… but the man who has come the closest was Paul Baillargeon of the famed Baillargeon Brothers of Quebec. These six brothers were all incredible wrestlers and strength athletes who toured their native Canada and the US taking on all comers.

Paul, shown here, who was quite possibly the strongest of the brothers, often lifted a horse as the finale of their strength performances. This picture shows him officially bent-pressing a barbell loaded to 321 pounds, a feat which he achieved on May 11, 1951, in front of Harry B. Paschall and other reliable witnesses at the Apollo Health Studio in Columbus, Ohio.

Paul Baillargeon actually did succeed in bent-pressing 375 pounds in practice a few times but never under official conditions.