Pyotr Krylov

Posted on Monday, January 1st, 2018 by John Wood
Billed as “The King of Kettlebells,” The great Russian Strongman Pyotr Krylov was well-known for exceptional his shoulder development and the large tattoo of the double-headed eagle gracing his chest. In the early 20th century Krylov performed a Crucifix Lift with a 90-pound kettlebell in each hand — a record that has never been equaled or beaten. One of Krylov’s favorite feats as a strongman was to break chains across his chest or with his arms. Like most other strongmen of the day, Krylov was a great wrestler (and had an excellent mustache.).

Karl Abs at The Winter Circus

Posted on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 by John Wood

Karl Abs at The Winter Circus

Here’s an extremely rare poster from the late 1880’s, when Karl Abs was the featured attraction at the Cirque d’ Hiver (Winter Circus) exhibition hall in Paris, France. Each night, Abs harness-lifted a horse and challenged all comers in the wrestling ring, (among other feats.) It’s pretty awesome that the Cirque d’ Hiver, which opened in 1852, is actually still going strong to this day.

Spike Bending with “Bull” Bonvicin

Posted on Monday, February 3rd, 2014 by John Wood
Dave “Bull” Bonvicin, from Oakland, California, was a performing strongman with many different talents. Among them was spike bending — he didn’t just bend these spikes in half but liked to make various designs and shapes out of them. “Bull” also had some pretty sweet equipment. (Is that a kettlebell I see in the background?)
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.

Bert Assirati’s One Arm Handstand

Posted on Friday, January 24th, 2014 by John Wood

Bert Assirati's One Arm Handstand

Many hand balancing experts are generally of the smaller, “gymnastic-type” physique,but there were actually several larger strength athletes who could perform hand balancing feats with ease.

At well over 300 pounds, the great Canadian Champion Doug Hepburn was a great hand balancer, as was the famous British strongman and Professional wrestler Bert Assirati, (shown here.)

At a young age, Bert was taught how to do all manner of hand balancing feats by an ex-circus performer. You can certainly tell by this picture that he has power to spare. No doubt Assirati’s one arm handstand training contributed to his one arm dumbbell press of 160 lbs.

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.

Pat Casey’s 210 Pound Dumbbell Incline Press

Posted on Saturday, August 18th, 2012 by John Wood

Pat Casey 210 Pound Dumbbell Incline Press

On March 25th, 1967 Pat Casey became the first man to break the 600 pound barrier in the bench press with an official lift of 615 lbs. — Keep in mind that was without a bench shirt, elbow wraps or other nonsense that typically goes on these days.

Casey was no one-lift specialist either, as he was also the first man to squat over 800 pounds and total over 2000 pounds in an official contest.

For his workouts, Casey used to grab a pair of 210 pound dumbbells, haul them over to the incline bench, get the dumbbells into position, perform his reps, then return the dumbbells to the rack — all unassisted — quite an impressive feat of strength in its own right.

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.

Hans Zdrazila

Posted on Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 by John Wood

They say a picture is worth a thousand words… if you are paying attention to this one, your take away should be that the overhead dumbbell press is an exercise worth adding to your training. Core strength? Yeah, you can see his abs through his shirt. The man at the other end of those awesome dumbbells is Hans Zdrazila, Czechoslovakian weightlifter who took home the gold medal in the middleweight class at the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan (with a 445.5 kg total, btw).

1902 Milo Barbell Company Advertisement

Posted on Sunday, January 8th, 2012 by John Wood

The Milo Barbell Company

In 1902,The Milo Barbell Company, headed by Alan Calvert, opened its doors. Shown here is one of the first advertisements for their wares. Back then the American public had little idea of what a barbell was or how to use one, so Calvert had his work cut out for him. The “system” in question was simply the principle of double progression… which worked great then and works just as effectively a century later.

Also of note is the dumbbell pictured in the ad… Various types of Milo Barbell equipment, dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells etc are quite rare these days but they do turn up on occasion. Only one of these particular shot-loaded dumbbells is currently known to exist, however. The lifter of said dumbbell in this ad is Mr. Frank F. Jones, weightlifting champion of Philadelphia. As noted in the ad, Mr. Jones’ bodyweight at the time was 140 lbs. yet he could lift this dumbbell loaded to 150 lbs. with ease.

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.

Jean Francois LeBreton

Posted on Monday, November 14th, 2011 by John Wood

French Strongman Jean Francois LeBreton lifts a Globe Dumbbell overhead

Jean Francois LeBreton was the lightweight lifting champion of France in the early 1900’s. One of his greatest lifts was a one-arm dumbbell swing of 200 pounds which was made at a body weight of 200 pounds… an achievement which puts him among the strongest of all time in this lift.

The Dumbbell Bench Press

Posted on Sunday, October 9th, 2011 by John Wood

Reg Park Dumbbell Bench Pres

An exercise that rarely gets its due is the dumbbell bench press. It can be performed in much safer manner than the barbell version and builds just as much (if not more) upper-body strength and power.

The Dumbbell Bench Press was one of Reg Park’s favorite exercises. Here’s Reg using 140 pounds in each hand — an impressive poundage if you can do it once… Reg lifted it for 5 sets of 10 reps in a typical workout.

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.