Milo Steinborn’s Orange Avenue Gym

Posted on Tuesday, April 30th, 2019 by John Wood
Milo Steinborn's Orange Avenue Gym
Henry “Milo” Steinborn was a 5’8″ 205 lb German wrestler and strongman who became the first man to ever squat 500 lbs. In fact, his world record squat of 553 lbs. (set during the 1920’s) would not be officially bested until the early 1950’s by Doug Hepburn. It was Milo who popularized the heavy deep knee bend as one of the most productive training lifts for anyone interested in building real strength.

In 1952, Milo opened the Orange Avenue Gym down in Orlando, Florida, which makes it the oldest weightlifting gym in America. Along with plenty of weights and barbells, Milo’s Gym had a wrestling ring and other physical training equipment. Milo is flanked here by his sons Dick (left) and Henry (right).

It was here that Milo taught a young Jim Flanagan how to get strong. I was fortunate enough to visit the Orange Avenue Gym on a trip back in 2003 — it still had some of Milo’s original training equipment.

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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 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.

George Brosius’ Gym

Posted on Wednesday, August 29th, 2018 by John Wood
What a great gym! – This fantastic facility was established by George Brosius, a pioneer gymnastics coach and famous “Turner” in the Milwaukee area. You can read more on Brosius and his amazing story here and here. Gotta love the Indian clubs, climbing ropes, and medicine balls. This pictures dates from about 1900.

Shafran’s Gym

Posted on Wednesday, December 6th, 2017 by John Wood
Harry Shafran was an oldtime lifter who owned a couple successful gyms in New York back in the 1920’s. Eventually he grew tired of big city lift and retired to a farm near Scranton, Pennsylvania where he converted the large barn in the back of his house into one of the greatest gyms of all time.

Here’s a look back in time… Globe dumbbells, climbing ropes, Milo kettlebells, gymnastic rings, swedish bars — note the double handled kettlebells used for swingbell exercises. A half-moon bench can be seen in the foreground. This unique piece of equipment was used specifically for chest expansion exercises and used to be quite common. Also note the handbalancing stands on the right, with a dumbbell in between, presumable for lifting in the teeth at the same time — that’s old school! Look closely and you’ll also see a 150 lb. kettlebell.