Bending bars, spikes and nails has always been a traditional Oldtime Strongman feat, not only do many people find it incredibly impressive but merely doing it will build tremendous strength throughout the entire body.
You can tell that rectangular stock (like the spike above) was actually hand bent by the shape. If a piece of steel was truly hand bent, it will bend on the angle, not the flat edge.
The tavern was full of thirsty customers, but there was no doubt who was Batchelor. He weighed about 330 and most of it was muscle. I climbed up on a bar stool and introduced myself.
“Tell me Mac, “I said, “You still the world’s best arm wrestler?”
He laughed. “I think so.” He propped an arm like an elephant’s leg up on the bar.
I looked at the arm. “No Thanks.”
He looked surprised. “No? How come?”
Mac, I’ll tell ya, I said. “You might break my arm and I don’t think my insurance would cover it.”
He smiled broadly. “You know,” he said, “you’re one of the very few people who ever walked in here and didn’t think they could beat me.
“Good grief,” I said,” I ain’t too bright, but I’m not crazy. I tell you what I would like, though. I’d like to see some of those strength feats of yours I’ve heard about.”
“Sure,” he said. “Here.” He reached under the bar and brought out four bottle caps. He jammed one between each finger on his right hand and held his hand out. “Watch.” He squeezed lightly and the four caps crumpled like Kleenex…”
– from “Grip and Forearm Development” in The Complete Keys to Progress by John McCallum