Al Gerard

Posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2018 by John Wood
Over three decades ago, Al Gerard, an engineer and Powerlifter from North Carolina invented a piece of training equipment that would change strength training forever. His “Gerard Trap Bar” allowed trainees to train their legs without overtraining the lower-back.

The Trap Bar has become the piece of equipment for every gym. Al was able to deadlift over 725 pounds using his invention. Here’s a look at Al and the quite impressive results of heavy Trap Bar Training.

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 Strength of Paul Anderson

Posted on Friday, December 15th, 2017 by John Wood
Back in the mid-1940’s, Paul Anderson started lifting weights to get bigger for football and just kept growing. He eventually became one of the strongest men of all time while establishing many strength records and winning the Gold Medal at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia.

Paul Anderson was also a Senior World Champion and a 2-time Senior National Champion in Weightlifting. He set nine World Records and Eighteen American records during his career and retired undefeated.

He was also incredibly strong in what would eventually become the three Power Lifts: the squat, bench press and deadlift.

Here’s a look at some of Paul Anderson’s record lifts:

* Squat: 1185 lbs.

* Bench Press: 625 lbs.

* Deadlift Record without Straps: 780 lbs.

* Deadlift Record with “Hooks”: 820 lbs.

* Clean & Press: 485 lbs.

* Clean & Jerk: 485 lbs.

* Snatch: 375 lbs.

* Push Press: 545 lbs.

* Back Lift: 6270 lbs.

* Dumbbell Side Press: 240 lbs. x 40 / 300 lbs. x 11

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.

Malcolm “Mac” Richards

Posted on Sunday, December 3rd, 2017 by John Wood
“Mac” Richards started powerlifting when he was 57 years old and within a year set new Masters World Records in each of the three lifts: squatting 425 pounds, benching 308 pounds, deadlifting 479 pounds and totaling 1212 pounds. In the years that followed, he won 18 National titles and four World Powerlifting Championships.

Here were his marks at the age of 75 years and 198 lbs, (Still Masters records for the International Powerlifting Association, by the way.)

* Squat: 440 pounds
* Bench: 330 pounds
* Deadlift: 470 pounds
* Total: 1240 pounds

Mac was inducted into the York Barbell Powerlifting Hall of Fame in the year 2000. He was also a good friend who will be missed.

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.

J.C. Tolson ~ The Young Mighty Apollon

Posted on Thursday, November 2nd, 2017 by John Wood
J.C. Tolson, of Yorkshire, England, took the stage name of “The Young Mighty Apollon” after his hero the original Apollon”, the great French Strongman. Tolson was a master of many different strength feats, including bending steel as shown here. The image above is actually from the Apollon Bar Bending Course which is posted in full in The Iron LeagueTolson was not a large man but had tremendous full-body power. In 1927, at a bodyweight of only 185 pounds, Tolson easily deadlifted 550 pounds, one of the first men to do so. .

Julius Cochard

Posted on Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 by John Wood
The French strongman and wrestler, Julius Cochard, possessed an unusual level of strength and endurance. His best known feat was to carry a 220-pound sack on his shoulders from Paris to Reims, a distance of 112 miles. It took him just under a week to cover that distance. He was also very adept at feats of finger strength, being able to snatch and swing 110-pound dumbbell with only one finger. Cochard pulled one of the first recorded impressive deadlifts when he lifted 661 lbs. way back in 1895. Cochard, whose name was also spelled “Cochart” in some circles, weighed around 220 lbs at a height of 5’10”

The Origin of The Kennedy Lift

Posted on Tuesday, October 24th, 2017 by John Wood
“About forty years ago, at the height of the new wave of strong man popularity, the late Richard K. Fox, then publisher of the Police Gazette, the leading sporting journal of America, had a 1000 pound dumb-bell cast, but it was not in the shape of the dumbbells today. It was more like a massive block of iron. He offered a very valuable gold medal and title to the first man to lift this 1000 pound weight.

At that time there was a man known as James Walter Kennedy who was athletically inclined and developed. He was an oarsman and general athlete, leaning, however, more toward the strong man. He was about 6 feet tall and weighed around 190 pounds, had jet black curly hair and mustache and at a time was a special officer at The Globe Museum at 298-300 Bowery, New York City.

Kennedy took a notion that he could lift this 1000 pound dumbbell with his hands and he began to train with a big whiskey cask, not using whiskey in it, but water, sand and rock as he gained strength. In other words, he used the Milo Bar Bell system of gradually increasing weight as he improved in his strength.

The first time he tried lifting the 1000 pound weight he failed but some time later he succeeded. His style was to straddle the weight and have one hand in front of his body grasping the weight and the other hand grasping it in the rear of his body, this position being known as the Hands Alone Lift. His body was erect with the exception that the knees were bent about 2 or 3 inches.”

– Warren Lincoln Travis
My 40 years with the World’s Strongest Men

Wilbur Miller

Posted on Friday, October 20th, 2017 by John Wood
Wilbur Miller is a big reason why the York Barbell Company had to phase out the Deep Dish Plates and go with a slimmer profile. No room for collars … note that the plates here had to be strapped on to the bar!
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 Mark Berry Bar Bell Courses Poster Set

Posted on Friday, September 15th, 2017 by John Wood
“Something NEW for your Gym Wall!”
Give your weight room an OLD SCHOOL look with the Mark Berry Bar Bell Course training posters:

Around 1936, the great strength author Mark H. Berry put together three classic mail-order training courses which he featured in his magazine Physical Training Notes. Berry’s courses consisted of basic (but incredibly effective) exercises which could be performed with barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells.

Mark Berry Bar Bell Courses Poster #2Mark Berry Bar Bell Courses Poster #2

As was Berry’s style, these courses were straight and to the points, but since strength training was still relatively new to the masses, many trainees needed additional instruction as to how to perform each of the suggested movements.

The Mark Berry Bar Bell courses were all text but since “a picture is worth a thousand words,” each of the courses also came with a large instructional wall chart illustrating how to perform each of the exercises which were discussed.

Not only that, but the individual who was shown demonstrating the exercises on the charts was none other than a young John Grimek (It was Mark Berry who initially mentored Grimek and taught him the value of heavy, basic training.)

Today we proudly announce that the Mark Berry Bar Bell Course posters are once again available! Whether you are looking for instruction, inspiration or decoration, these posters will make a fantastic addition to your gym wall.

The First Course

The poster for the First Course showcases exercises for building upper body strength. These include: weighted and un-weighted situps, kettlebell swing, kettlebell side bends, calf raises, bent-over rowing, the floor press, the behind the neck press, shrug, straddle deadlift, side press, bridge press, the wrist roller etc.

The Second Course

Though you will see a few upper-body exercises mixed in for good measure, the poster for the Second Course focuses primarily on exercises on strength building exercises for the hips, legs and low back. These include: the squat, the deadlift, stiff-leg deadlift, weighted step up, barbell “leg press,” good mornings, the “low” squat etc.

The Third Course

The Third Course poster illustrates the finer points of many of the quick lifts and several single-arm exercises: the one and two arm snatch, the one and two hand clean, the one hand jerk, the bent-press, the dumbbell swing, the push press etc

Keep in mind that the list of exercise given above is by no means exhaustive, there are many more exercises pictured.

Each poster is 14″ x 20″ in size and printed on 100 lb. heavy weight glossy enamel paper making them excellent for framing or otherwise displaying prominently on your gym wall.  These posters are folded once horizontally and will arrive at your door sealed in heavy cardboard for protection.

“Grab a set of the Mark Berry posters and make your gym a little more Oldschool!”
The Mark berry Barbell Course Poster Set (3)Order now!___________$29.99 plus s/h

William Boone’s 1937 Training Program

Posted on Thursday, September 29th, 2016 by John Wood
William Boone’s 1937 Training Program
by Brooks Kubik
William Boone was a tremendously powerful lifter in the 1930’s and 40’s. He first achieved fame when reports were published of his astonishing gains on a program of heavy, high-rep squats, which he was inspired to follow after reading about what a similar schedule did for his Herculean contemporary, Joseph Curtis Hise. If memory serves correctly, Boone gained something like 80-100 pounds on the squat program.

William Boone
William Boone Training in his back yard

Boone eventually built up to a bent-press of close to 300 pounds … a deadlift of 700 or so … a partial dead lift of 900 pounds … and a jerk from the rack of 420 pounds, which certainly ranks him as one of the strongest men in the history of the world.

I believe that he made these lifts in the mid-to-late 40’s, or the very early 50’s. These achievements are all the more remarkable because Boone worked a very hard, hot, heavy job digging water wells in Louisiana and Texas.

According to Boone, one job digging wells on a ranch in Texas was so hot that the men had to drink 4 gallons of water per day just to keep from overheating under the scorching southwestern sun! …And yet, Boone often would work all day and THEN do his training!

Where did Boone train? In his backyard! He didn’t even have a garage or basement in which to train. He lifted huge weights standing on the grass or on a dirt surface.

So don’t let anyone tell you that you need to quit your job and lay around all day in order to make good gains …and don’t let anyone tell you that you need to train at some sort of super-duper training center jammed with all of the latest miracle machines.

Boone’s training was very unique. He always followed what I refer to as “abbreviated training programs.” A 1937 issue of Mark Berry’s little magazine, “Physical Training Notes,” contains a letter from Boone to Berry with the following update on Boone’s training.

The following information is from a period when Boone was building up to the really big lifts mentioned above:

I have been doing only three exercises, namely the Two Arm Press, Two Arm Curl, and the Deep Knee Bend…”

“Here is my last workout. I work only once a week on pressing and twice a week on squatting. Monday and Friday — D.K.B.’s (i.e. squats); Wednesday — pressing. My workouts average about an hour in length …”

“Wednesday: press –240 five times; 240 seven times; 250 four times; 260 three times; 270 twice; 275 once; then reduce the weight to 240 for four repetitions and again with two more presses; 212 pounds six times and then four times; 182 six and then four times. Then reverse curl twelve times with 136 pounds and regular curl 160 ten repetitions and then again twice.”

“My arms measure better than 18 inches now and I have hopes of pressing 250 pounds ten times and 300 pounds once.”

“Here is my last workout on the squat, which is also my best: once each with 405, 435, and 470; three times with 515; short rest; sixteen times with 400; short rest; eight times with 400. On October 21st I did my best, or rather highest, D.K.B. —
525 pounds.”

Yours in strength,

Brooks D. Kubik

Benoit Cote

Posted on Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 by John Wood
Benoit Cote was another great Canadian strongman from Quebec and the rival of fellow countryman Doug Hepburn. The two met head to head in 1961 at a four-lift contest consisting of the Press, Bench Press, Squat and Deadlift. While Hepburn bested Cote in the bench press and overhead press, Cote beat Hepburn in the squat and deadlifted 752-1/2 pounds (shown above) to win.
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.