Mike Brown

Posted on Sunday, August 19th, 2018 by John Wood
Mike Brown is a modern day Renaissance man who has written several unique books on various aspects of strength training (as well as many other unique topics.) Judging by the size of that arm, I’d say Mike looks like he knows a thing or two about building strength and power. Mike was always a big fan of expander training and came up with his own unique “Samson Cables” set which he used to advertise in the back of Ironman Magazine. Theses handles actually unscrew apart so the bands can be looped on to them – an ingenious design, really. Here’s a look at Mike around the time he wrote Iron Claws: Grip Development and Bench Press Course which is definitely worth a look.
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.

Professor Anthony Barker’s Herkules Exerciser

Posted on Friday, May 4th, 2018 by John Wood
The need for great equipment hasn’t changed much over the last hundred years which is why chest expanders work just as well today. This ad for Professor Anthony Barker, Herkules Exerciser originally appeared in 1910.
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.

Tarzano Breitbart

Posted on Saturday, January 6th, 2018 by John Wood
The great German Strongman Tarzano Breitbart vs. one HELL of a spring expander. That must have been quite a feat to see. Tarzano appears to have been active in the 1940’s and did many feats with other similarly impressive expanders but not much else is known about him
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 “Machine Expander”

Posted on Thursday, October 26th, 2017 by John Wood
I was flipping through the November 9, 1928 Issue of Health and Strength (With Thomas Inch on the cover!) and found this pretty cool picture. Over in the UK, chest expanders or “Strand pulling” is much more popular and many of the fitness magazines from over there feature some kind of chest expander workouts, news, contest results, updates, etc in almost every issue.

Obviously this was an attempt to figure out a method of putting a “number” on someone’s chest expander performance with the addition of some sort of tensiometer on the cable. According to the magazine, this is A.W. HOWE, 9 stone amateur Champion of the World, performing a World’s Record Right Hand Military Press using the “Machine Expander.”

P.S. You should be doing this movement in your chest expander workout — it’s one of the best there is.

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.

David Webster – 1954 World’s Strand-Pulling Champion

Posted on Monday, October 9th, 2017 by John Wood
Before he became one of the world’s most well known strength historians and authors, David Webster was quite a “Strongman” himself. In fact, David won the Strand Pulling World’s Title back in 1954. He wrote two books specifically on strand pulling (Modern Strand Pulling (1962) and Strength Lore and Strands (1978)) Here’s a look on something he wrote in another of his excellent titles, The Complete Physique Book (1963):

“Much has been said in favor of the chest expander for the man who trains at home in limited space, for the person who has to travel around the countryside and for the person who just wants to keep fit or develop big muscles and herculean strength. Most certainly strand pulling is ideal for these people but it can be also be adapted to suite all other physical culture purposes. Great progress has been made since the first days of the “Chest Expander” — as it was known. Nowadays, the strands are used for everything from remedial work in hospitals to competitive sport and there is considerable evidence to consider evidence to indicate that strands are sold in greater quantities than weight-lifting equipment.

There are a number of reasons why strands are so popular:

1. They are inexpensive, and are now available in numerous strengths ranging from 5-50 pounds.

2. In use or in storage little space is necessary.

3. They have several resistance properties which are not present in other forms of resistance exercises. Some of these properties are a bit too involved for discussion, kinetic recoils and oscillation having a rather specialized application but one great asset will immediately appeal to the enthusiast who is well-versed in the subject.

4. The tension of the springs or bands increases as they are stretched thus “peak contraction” or heavy inner range muscle work is done in every exercise.

For those who are not particularly interested in championship honours it should be stressed that it is not my intention to claim that you should devote all your time to strand-pulling. I believe by strand-pulling, the average person can cram lots of exercises into a short workout and those who practice weightlifting, hand balancing and so on would profit greatly by adding a few strand pulling exercises for variety and all around work.”

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.

The Expander Overhead Downward Pull

Posted on Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 by John Wood

John Grimek demonstrates the overhead downward pull with a set of York chest expanders. This movement is STILL one of the very best back developers and can’t be done with a barbell or dumbbell. If you are lucky enough to have access to a good set of expanders, this move should be in your program. Grimek also may have done a few squats in his day, eh?…
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.