Laverie Vallee was a trapeze artist from Sacramento, California who took the stage name Charmion when she performed in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. At ten years of age, young Charmion became enamored with the circus, and through great determination (and some reluctance from her family) undertook a variety of physical training disciplines at a local gymnasium. Charmion’s physique, which would be just as impressive these days, well over a century later, was built through not only trapeze work, but training on the horizontal bars, fencing, bag-punching, wrestling, and hand-balancing. She also regularly lifted dumbbells in the 50-70 pound range. She stood only five feet tall and weighed 115 pounds but was said to have an arm just as big around as the prize-fighter James J. Corbett.
Yousef Housane was a great early wrestler and one of Earle E. Liederman’s top students. Housane was well-known for his incredible Bicep Development which was quite impressive, especially considering the time period (he could use some work on his forearms though).
A look at the cover of Mr America Magazine: Volume 7, Number 8, featuring Larry Scott which came out in August of 1965. Larry won the Mr. America in 1962 and about a month after this issue hit the news stand, became the very first Mr. Olympia. He certainly looks in fine form here. Articles by Dave Draper and Steve Reeves make this issue a must have.
An obvious characteristic of the early Nautilus machines is what are appropriately called “spider cams,” which you can see on this bicep/tricep. You would be hard-pressed to find a better arm workout… but only if this machine is used correctly (which is exactly how most people don’t use it.)
I believe that advertisements tell as much about strength history as the books and courses, hence the reason I reproduce many of them here — (and you sure won’t find them anywhere else!) Here’s a fantastic ad from deep in the archives: Thomas Inch’s “Evolution of a Biceps.”