Joe Zimmerman

Posted on Monday, March 13th, 2017 by John Wood
Joe Zimmerman and his brother Dick were Bob Hoffman’s neighbors in York, Pennsylvania and they hung around the York Barbell Company office doing crazy feats of strength. Here’s Joe performing a handstand on some boxes — which is tough enough by itself — but he is also lifting the 202-pound Louis Cyr Dumbbell in his teeth at the same time!
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.

The Complete Keys to Progress by John McCallum

Posted on Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 by John Wood
SOLD OUT!

We recommend >>> Gray Hair and Black Iron

The 1946 U.S. World Weightlifting Team

Posted on Wednesday, September 21st, 2016 by John Wood

A look at most of the 1946 U.S. World Weightlifting Team left to right: John Davis, Emerick Ishikawa, Frank Spellman, John Terpak, Stan Stanczyk, and coach Bob Hoffman. (not pictured: Frank Kay.)

This was the first team to lift against the Russians. Davis and Stanczyk both won Gold, Terpak and Kay took Silver and Spellman took Bronze. The Russians entered ten lifters to only six from the US but the US came back with the team championship.

Val De Genaro

Posted on Monday, August 22nd, 2016 by John Wood

The old York Lifters all used to practice the bent-press because the lift built incredible core strength. This, in turn, helped in increasing their Olympic Lifting totals.

One of the most talented of the bent-pressers was Val De Genaro who could lift 215 pounds. Bob Hoffman said that De Genaro had the most perfect bent-press technique that he had ever seen. Perhaps due in great part to his bent pressing ability, as a 148-pound lifter, De Genaro could Jerk 290 pounds.

De Genaro was also, unsurprisingly, an excellent hand-balancer who could walk the length of a football field on his hands.

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.

Grimek’s Handstand

Posted on Thursday, October 15th, 2015 by John Wood

For a period of a few years, John Grimek didn’t touch a weight of any kind… no barbells, no dumbbells, no nothing BUT he still continued to maintain and even enhance his impressive physique by focusing intently on his hand-balancing skills. The great thing about hand-balancing is that it’s a lot like riding a bike, once you learn how to do it, you never forget. This classic shot of Grimek looks like it was probably taken in Bob Hoffman’s back yard in North York, PA.

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.

Early York Barbell Co. Advertisement – “We Build Mighty Men”

Posted on Thursday, September 17th, 2015 by John Wood
Here’s an ad for the York Barbell Company from 1934 making it a very early one. Notice Bob Hoffman — with hair! — and the famous picture of Wally Zagursky and Tony Terlazzo getting in a quick workout with York equipment in BoHo’s backyard on Lightner’s Hill in north York.
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.

The Famous Rolandow Dumbbell

Posted on Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 by John Wood

The Rolandow Dumbbell has a very interesting history. It was originally cast by the McLoughlin Iron Foundry in Brooklyn, New York in 1896 at the request of Warren Lincoln Travis who wanted to use it in his act.

The dumbbell was supposed to be 200 lbs. but came out of the mold just over it at 209 lbs.

A few years went by and fellow strongman G.W. Rolandow offered to purchase it from Travis, on the condition that Travis deliver the bell himself.

Travis grabbed the bell, hopped on the nearest street car, transferred twice and carried the bell two city blocks and up two flights of steps to Rolandow’s office.

Rolandow then stated that unless he could lift the dumbbell, there would be no sale. And with that, we walked over to it, hefted it to his shoulder and commenced to bent-press it no less than seven times!

After several decades, Rolandow closed his gym and his famous dumbbell eventually became acquired by Sig Klein who featured it as a challenge weight in his own facility.

If someone could succeed in bent-pressing the Rolandow Dumbbell, Klein put their name on an Honor Roll, here’s how it looked:

(1) G.W. Rolandow
(2) John Grimek
(3) Bob Hoffman
(4) Wally Zagurski
(5) John Davis
(6) Jack Kent
(7) Frank Bates
(8) Bob Harley
(9) Siegmund Klein
(10) Aurele Velleux
(11) George Hobby
(12) Elwood Holbrook

1900
1934
1936
1936
1936
1937
1937
1937
1939
1939
1940
1941

The current whereabouts of the Rolandow Dumbbell are unknown.

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.

Hoffman’s Chest Expansion

Posted on Sunday, August 17th, 2014 by John Wood

Whether or not the ribcage can be enlarged or expanded through specific training is a topic that continues to elicit a lot of dialogue. The theory is that vigorous leg work combined with unavoidable deep breathing deepens the chest, creating a larger “frame” while also increasing oxygen uptake, both of which set the stage for increased muscle growth. Is chest expansion “for real?” Here’s Bob Hoffman, about sixty years of age, sporting some pretty impressive ribcage development that simply wasn’t there when he was a younger man which makes for some interesting food for thought on the matter.
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.

Bob Jones at the York Picnic

Posted on Thursday, February 20th, 2014 by John Wood

Bob Jones Does His Thing at the York Picnic

Bob Jones (who else?) does a one-arm handstand on a (tipped) rocker at the York Barbell picnic some time in the late 1930’s (probably 1937). The early York picnics were held right behind Bob Hoffman’s house on Lightner’s Hill in North York, Pennsylvania. Hoffman can be seen bent-pressing the large globe barbell in the background in another picture taken the same day HERE.

They say that the York picnics were so popular that cars were parked three quarters of a mile in every direction. Hoffman’s house is still there and you can see it if you know where to look.

Strength and Health, July 1947: Clancy Ross Cover

Posted on Monday, February 10th, 2014 by John Wood

The great Clancy Ross graces the cover of the July, 1947 issue of Strength and Health (Ross was the S&H photo contest winner that month). A short time later, Ross would go on to beat Steve Reeves in the 1948 Mr. USA contest.

Also found in this issue: “Secrets of Strength (part III) by Bob Hoffman, “The Super-Duper Body Building Program by Gord Venables, “Barbelles” by Pudgy Stockton, “If you Want Big Muscles and Greater Strength,” also by Hoffman, and a feature on the Screwball Gym, by Harv Easton.