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 © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

Al Beinart

Posted on Sunday, April 8th, 2018 by John Wood
Over a century later, Arthur Saxon still holds the greatest bent press poundage ever recorded. The man who has come the closest under official conditions was Al Beinart who managed 330 pounds and trains at Yaco’s Gym in Detroit. The hardest part of the lift, according to Beinart, is getting the weight to the shoulders. This is the style that he used. and with 300+ pounds, that’s an impressive feat by itself.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

Carl Busch

Posted on Friday, February 2nd, 2018 by John Wood
Carl Busch was a great strongman and wrestler who was active in the early 20th century. After winning the 1901 German national title, he toured Europe performing feats of strength and wrestling all comers. He even wrestled the great Frank Gotch to a draw under Greco-Roman rules. Busch also wrestled the likes of George Hackenschmidt, Professor Roller, Heinrich Weber, Yousef Holusane, Fred Beell, and even Farmer Burns. As far as feats of strength, Busch could bent press 250 pounds at a bodyweight of only 175 pounds. In 1891, Busch started his own circus which is actually still going strong today if you can believe it.

Bob Harley

Posted on Friday, January 26th, 2018 by John Wood
Bob Harley, of Sig Klein’s Gym was one of the world’s greatest masters of the bent press. In fact, Bob Harley was the winner of the New York City Bent Press contest (put on by Sign Klein in 1940 — lifting in the 181 lb. class, Harley out bent-pressed the heavyweights (including John Davis) with a winning lift of 254 lbs. Harley was one of the few men to successfully bent-press the Rolandow Dumbbell.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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 2-Hands Anyhow

Posted on Friday, November 10th, 2017 by John Wood
A step-by-step look at the 2-Hands Anyhow. It has been said that this lift is the ultimate test of strength, endurance and agility: it is the method by which the greatest weight has ever been lifted overhead with one hand, the complete lift lasts 12-15 seconds, and it requires practice, balance and the perfection of having to do two things at once. Once the lifter completes a Bent Press an additional weight, in the form of a dumbbell or kettlebell, is then cleaned to the shoulder and pressed overhead. The greatest performance of all time in this lift is 448 pounds, lifted by Arthur Saxon in 1905.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

An Interesting Comparison

Posted on Friday, November 10th, 2017 by John Wood
An interesting comparison of bent-press techniques. On the left, Real Lacombe of Toranto, Canada bent-presses a heavy dumbbell. On the right, grandmaster martial artist Wang Zi Ping does something similar with a Chinese stone lock. The bent-press is not, to our knowledge, named so in ancient Chinese training literature, but it is clear that it — or a version of it — was certainly practiced.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

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.

Bert Elliott in Action

Posted on Thursday, October 19th, 2017 by John Wood
Another look at Bert Elliott’s excellent bent-pressing ability. This rare shot was at the AAU Southern California Weightlifting Championships, circa early 1960’s. This globe barbell was loaded to 270 lbs. Note how balanced (and therefor stable) Elliott is, you could draw a straight line between the arm holding the barbell and his right foot. — That’s the only kind of form that will allow a successful Bent-Press lift.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

Strongman Stunts Made Easy by George F. Jowett

Posted on Monday, October 9th, 2017 by John Wood
The “Strongman Stunts Made Easy” training booklet, along with five other individualized courses in the “Molding” Series, appeared sometime around 1930 and George F. Jowett claimed to have sold hundreds of thousands of them all over the world.

Like much of Jowett’s writings, the material is surprisingly timeless, of course, this booklet is devoted specifically to feats of strength — the Bent Press, lifting a human being, finger lifting, steel bending, how to tear a deck of cards etc.

In what should also not be a surprise, Jowett describes the training for each feat in great detail. Copies of “Strongman Stunts Made Easy” are not easy to come by but FYI, this course is available in its entirety in The Iron League.

The Mark Berry Bar Bell Courses Poster Set

Posted on Friday, September 15th, 2017 by John Wood
“Something NEW for your Gym Wall!”
Give your weight room an OLD SCHOOL look with the Mark Berry Bar Bell Course training posters:

Around 1936, the great strength author Mark H. Berry put together three classic mail-order training courses which he featured in his magazine Physical Training Notes. Berry’s courses consisted of basic (but incredibly effective) exercises which could be performed with barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells.

Mark Berry Bar Bell Courses Poster #2Mark Berry Bar Bell Courses Poster #2

As was Berry’s style, these courses were straight and to the points, but since strength training was still relatively new to the masses, many trainees needed additional instruction as to how to perform each of the suggested movements.

The Mark Berry Bar Bell courses were all text but since “a picture is worth a thousand words,” each of the courses also came with a large instructional wall chart illustrating how to perform each of the exercises which were discussed.

Not only that, but the individual who was shown demonstrating the exercises on the charts was none other than a young John Grimek (It was Mark Berry who initially mentored Grimek and taught him the value of heavy, basic training.)

Today we proudly announce that the Mark Berry Bar Bell Course posters are once again available! Whether you are looking for instruction, inspiration or decoration, these posters will make a fantastic addition to your gym wall.

The First Course

The poster for the First Course showcases exercises for building upper body strength. These include: weighted and un-weighted situps, kettlebell swing, kettlebell side bends, calf raises, bent-over rowing, the floor press, the behind the neck press, shrug, straddle deadlift, side press, bridge press, the wrist roller etc.

The Second Course

Though you will see a few upper-body exercises mixed in for good measure, the poster for the Second Course focuses primarily on exercises on strength building exercises for the hips, legs and low back. These include: the squat, the deadlift, stiff-leg deadlift, weighted step up, barbell “leg press,” good mornings, the “low” squat etc.

The Third Course

The Third Course poster illustrates the finer points of many of the quick lifts and several single-arm exercises: the one and two arm snatch, the one and two hand clean, the one hand jerk, the bent-press, the dumbbell swing, the push press etc

Keep in mind that the list of exercise given above is by no means exhaustive, there are many more exercises pictured.

Each poster is 14″ x 20″ in size and printed on 100 lb. heavy weight glossy enamel paper making them excellent for framing or otherwise displaying prominently on your gym wall.  These posters are folded once horizontally and will arrive at your door sealed in heavy cardboard for protection.

“Grab a set of the Mark Berry posters and make your gym a little more Oldschool!”
The Mark berry Barbell Course Poster Set (3)Order now!___________$29.99 plus s/h