Joseph Vanderzande

Posted on Monday, September 25th, 2017 by John Wood
Joseph Vanderzande, the great Belgian strongman, was a contemporary of Arthur Saxon. Vanderzande is widely recognized as the strand pulling champion of the late 1800’s (note the pair of chest expanders on the platform behind him.) He was said to have been able to “pull” several reps with a 20-strand chest expander with a 297 pound level of resistance.

1903 German Sport Club

Posted on Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 by John Wood
1903 German Sport Club
A look at a German Sport club, circa 1903. As for their equipment, as was the custom with German-style kettlebells, the handles were large and open to enable juggling… the barbells also appear to have thick handles, which encourage grip and forearm development.

The Man in The Gymnasium

Posted on Thursday, December 13th, 2012 by John Wood

The Man in The Gymnasium

The Man in The Gymnasium… unfortunately his name is lost to the sands of time. We do know two things though: he had excellent taste in equipment AND was a snappy dresser. This picture was taken around 1900.
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.

Risa Bey, The Turkish Strongman

Posted on Saturday, December 8th, 2012 by John Wood

Risa Bey, The Turkish Strongman

Now THAT is a show that I’d like to see! The Turkish strongman/wrestler Risa Bey incorporated all manner of exciting elements into his act, including teeth-lifting, knife throwing, rock breaking and firing off a live cannon cradled in his arms.
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. Rouhet’s Weights

Posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 by John Wood

Dr. Georges Rouhet, French Physical Culture

Shown is the famous French physical culturalist Dr. Georges Rouhet and some of his fantastic training equipment. Having been at this for a while now, our conclusion is that the French Strongmen had the best equipment available to train with. Also of note are the French blockweights in the foreground.

French Weightlifting Club, circa 1906

Posted on Monday, July 16th, 2012 by John Wood

FRench Weightlifting Club, 1906

A rare look at a French weightlifting club, and their awesome training equipment, circa 1906.  One thing is for sure about the French lifters: they certainly had plenty of style.  Their equipment is basic: globe barbells, globe dumbbells, block weights, chest expanders etc, but undoubtedly more than enough to get it done.  Note the Sandow poster on the back wall. The president, Msr. Gustave Dechelpretre sits in the center.

Harry Shafran’s Gym

Posted on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 by John Wood

Harry Shafran's Gym

Think you could get a pretty good workout here? …A unique look at some of the equipment once belonging to Harry Shafran and housed in his great gym. Much of what is shown here was previously owned by Warren Lincoln Travis. Some of this equipment has a very interesting story since the time this picture was taken… part of which will be covered in The Dellinger Files Volume II.

The Lille Athletic Club, 1901

Posted on Saturday, March 17th, 2012 by John Wood

The Lille Athletic Club, 1901

rance was a center of physical training activity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  This was due in large part to Professor Edmond Desbonnet who founded his school of physical culture in his home town of Lille, in northern France. Here’s a look the members of the Lille Athletic Club, circa 1901, with some of their classic equipment: globe barbells and dumbbells, chest expanders and blockweights etc. Desbonnet himself is pictured at the far right.

Unknown Strongman #2

Posted on Thursday, March 15th, 2012 by John Wood

Unknown Strongman #2

Here’s another good example of an unknown strongman, whose name and feats are unfortunately lost to the sands of time. This fellow is obviously a big fan of barrel lifting and blockweights or kettlebells. Notice that while his arms are not particularly large his forearm development is exceptional — no doubt the result of lifting, heavy, awkward objects.

UPDATE: Unknown no more! He is Signor Dondretti, Iron Jaw Athlete and contortionist – he performed with the King & Franklin’s New Colossal Shows in the late 1800s and lifted a 1000 lb. horse with his teeth!

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.

Bazin: The Cannon Man

Posted on Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 by John Wood
Bazin, The Cannon Man
If you are interested in true “Oldtime” feats of strength, then late-19th century France was the place to be. Whether at a night club, concert, or street fair if there was a crowd present, it was an opportunity for a strongman to showcase his talents.

This extremely rare poster, dating from 1876 highlights, Bazin, The Cannon Man, whose act must have been a sight to see.  Sure he lifted and juggled heavy weights etc… but notice that not only is Msr. Bazin pictured firing a cannon from his shoulder but walking with strapped to his feet as well! Bazin was also a wrestler, and, ironically enough, defeated by English champion Tom Cannon.

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.