Apollon at 19

Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 by John Wood
The famous French strongman Louis “Apollon” Uni at 19 years of age. As the story goes he ran off and joined the circus at 14 and started performing as a strongman a year later. Even at this young age, Apollon’s potential for great strength is evident by his thick bone structure. Strength ran in the family, it as was said that he was descended from Pompelius Unicus, an undefeated Roman Gladiator.
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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.

Joe Lambert

Posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2018 by John Wood
A look at strongman Joe Lambert getting in a quick workout at the Miller Bros. Wild West Show, circa 1923. Lambert certainly made the rounds during his career in the strength business. At one point he filled in for an injured Herman Saxon in the Saxon Trio, did a posing and hand-balancing act with Adolph Nordquest (where they were known as “Young Sandow & Lambert”), and teamed up with Clevio Massimo for an act consisting of heavy weight lifting, posing, juggling, and hand-balancing.
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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 Iron Jawed Man

Posted on Monday, June 18th, 2018 by John Wood
Another look at Signor Lawanda: The Iron jawed Man. The top picture shows Lawanda at 20 years old and his neck and jaw development is quite dramatic.
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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.

Felice Napoli

Posted on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018 by John Wood
One of the earliest of the Oldtime Strongmen, Felice Napoli of Italy was performing incredible feats of strength in Wallshlager’s Circus in the 1850’s. Napoli dressed as the mythical Hercules as he performed and certainly lived up to it: Napoli’s act consisted of his having a cannon shot off while held on his shoulders, bending iron bars, lifting heavy weights while hanging upside down from a trapeze, The Tomb of Hercules, and performing feats while hanging on a vertically suspended rope, a type of feat known as “The Spanish Web’. Plus, he had an excellent goatee.

William Pagel

Posted on Tuesday, December 26th, 2017 by John Wood
The German Strongman William Pagel used to perform an amazing feat of strength: carrying a 1050-pound horse to the top of two 18-foot ladders by the use of a harness. Even more amazing was that he did this for 10 shows a day. Notably, Pagel could clean 225 pounds with one arm, jerk it to arm’s length and while holding it aloft, lay down flat on the ground and then return to a standing position, barbell still overhead. Pagel was also a great wild animal trainer.
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.

Horace Barré

Posted on Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 by John Wood
Horace Barre was Louis Cyr’s protege as they traveled the country performing in the John Robinson Circus. Though from Montreal, circuses through a more exotic moniker would be better for ticket sales so Barré was often billed as the “French Hercules” or the “French Sampson” and, like his mentor, he excelled in such oldtime strongman feats as the back lift, hefting heavy dumbbells overhead and barrel lifting.
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.

Novak & Sons: Kettlebell Juggling

Posted on Thursday, October 19th, 2017 by John Wood
After setting over 60 world records over his career, Grigori Novak did what any great former weightlifter would do: he ran off to the circus to become a genuine performing strongman. Eventually, Novak’s two sons Arkady and Roman also joined the act, you can see them above doing a little kettlebell juggling during their act. Kettlebell juggling is pretty impressive on its own, but seeing several lifters doing it at once in tandem is amazing.
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.

Goerner The Mighty by Edgar Mueller

Posted on Thursday, September 28th, 2017 by John Wood
Now you too can learn about the life and training secrets of one of the strongest men who ever walked the Earth!

Hermann Goerner

Every once in a while, a man comes along who possesses a level of strength that is simply head and shoulders above everyone else out there ~ and Hermann Goerner was just such a man!

Goerner’s strength and power was the stuff of legend, and even nearly a century after his time, no one has ever been close to many of his records.

His most famous lift is likely his ONE-HAND deadlift of 727 pounds(!), but some of his other marks were equally impressive.

These include a strict curl of 242 pounds, a deadlift of 505 pounds with just two fingers of each hand and a plank “leg press” with 24 people which totaled over two tons. Goerner even had a “Challenge weight” a 2-3/8ths inch thick-handled globe barbell which he could clean and jerk almost effortlessly which no one else could so much as budge.

Goerner’s deadlifting ability was the stuff of legend … here he is in 1933, lifting nearly 600 lbs. with only two fingers of each hand!
Goerner’s excellent “challenge” weight… Few strongmen could lift it in any capacity but Goerner did so with ease.
Goerner used to wrestle with a 700 lb. baby elephant as part of his daily act in Pagel’s Circus, South Africa.
How Did a Genuine Oldtime Strength Legend REALLY Train?
Now you Can Find out for sure!

How would you like to know how Hermann Goerner trained? I’m not talking about guesses either, but the actual sets, reps and weights that he used in his workouts. It’s not often that we can have a look into the exact training ideas and programs of a true super man, but, that is exactly what you will have an opportunity to do as noted strength historian Edgar Mueller saw fit to chronicle Goerner’s amazing life, strength records and unique training techniques…

The result was Goerner The Mighty, which was originally published in 1951 but now once again available in high-quality modern reprint edition ~ and even better than the original! Here’s a quick look at the many interesting things you will learn from its pages:

Goerner the Mighty
Table of Contents:
FOREWORD by Irving R. Clark

INTRODUCTION by John E. Dawe

Chapter I: Introducing Hermann Goerner
— What stood out in meeting Goerner for the first time… His other interests… Goerner’s sleep habits and diet

Chapter II: His Early Life
— The age that Goerner first started lifting… His earliest feats of strength as a boy… How he compared to George Hackenschmidt at the same age… His introduction and training to building “animal” strength”… Lifting titles won… Early strength performances as a member of “The Atlas Trio”… Challenge weight feats… Results of the 1913 German Weight Lifting Championship… His ‘battles’ with Karl Moerke

Chapter III: His Later Life and Travels
Pagel’s Circus and adventures in South Africa… Details of his circus “act”… Discovery by Tromp Van Diggelen and introduction to W.A. Pullum… The inspiration for the famous ‘Plank’ feat

Chapter IV: His Measurements
Goerner’s exact measurements taken by the author on December, 16th, 1934… Additional measurements… Notes on body weight at various periods throughout his life

Chapter V: His Lifting Performances and Feats of Strength
The single-handed press… Single-handed snatches… Single-handed jerks… Double- handed jerks and ‘anyhow’ lifts… How some of his lifts compare to several other famous strongmen and lifters, Saxon, Walker, Stanko, Rigoulot, etc… Double-handed snatches… Single and double-handed swings… Feats of Arm and Shoulder Strength… Two-hands slow curl… Two-hands kettlebell press… Two hands holdout… The rectangular fix… The Good Morning… Lifts to Shoulders, Single and Double-Handed… Deadlift records and performances… Supporting Feats… The ‘Plank’ and Human Bridge stunts… Lifting a Car… Carrying a Piano… Walking with a half a ton supported on his shoulders… Feats of Agility and Strength

Chapter VI: His Training Methods
— How many days per week he trained, and the specific ‘type’ of workouts taken… How long each training session lasted… Goerner’s post-workout recovery… A typical training program… Details of the “Die Kette” kettlebell workout… Specific weights used and order of exercises… Lifting tempo… Training for special feats and records… Six different one-hand deadlift “grips”… Training for two-hands deadlifting… Three of Goerner’s favorite types of shrugging movements… Training for supporting or carrying feats… The Brick Lift… Pinch Lifting… Training for a match… Additional training information, diet, massage, roadwork etc

Chapter VII: His Attitude to Lifting Feats and Feats of Strength
— Training philosophy and position on ‘Health’… The role of variety in training… Thoughts on mixing fast and slow movements in the same workout… Deadlifts… Lifting ‘Cold’… Carrying heavy weights… Unusual methods of lifting a barbell… Success in Wrist Wrestling… How Goerner could tear a deck of playing cards… Breaking one of Louis Cyr’s records… Feats of Abdominal strength… Weight Throwing accomplishments

Conclusion: Appreciation by World-Famous Authorities
— Notes and observations on Hermann Goerner from: Prof. Theodore Siebert… David P. Willoughby… George F. Jowett… Tromp Van Diggelen… Bob Hoffman… Henry Graf… Hugo Rosch… Gord Venables… Jack Reid… W.A.Pullum… Ray Van Cleef… Mac Batchelor… Leo Gaudreau

Index

The modern reprint edition of “Goerner The Mighty” by Edgar Mueller is a 5″ x 7″ trade paperback, with full glossy cover, 136 pages in length consisting of eight chapters, the contents of which are listed above.

There are also 32 rare photos and diagrams of Goerner and his exploits and training techniques as well as a full index. This modern reprint edition is nearly identical in every way to the original 1951 printing.

Order now!Goerner The Mighty by Edgar Mueller
___________$19.99 plus s/h

George Levasseur

Posted on Monday, January 30th, 2017 by John Wood
George Levasseur was the strongman for the Ringling Bros. Circus in the early 20th century. Here he is bending a horse shoe, circa 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.

Pierre Gasnier: The French Hercules

Posted on Friday, December 9th, 2016 by John Wood

Pierre Gasnier was the quintessential Oldtime Strongman: BIlled as the “French Hercules,” He performed feats of strength for the Barnum and Bailey circus in the late 1890’s: tearing decks of cards, bending horseshoes, breaking chains, and lifting his special “challenge weight” globe dumbbell shown here.

The dumbbell had a handle of 2″ in diameter and weighs 236 French Livres (which equals 260 pounds) Gasnier weighed only 138 pounds at a height of 5’3″ yet was able to lift the weight with ease, a feat that such other noted strongmen of the day such as Sebastian Miller, Hans Beck, and Franz “Cyclops” Bienkowski could not duplicate.

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.