Custer’s Dumbbell

Posted on Tuesday, May 29th, 2018 by John Wood
General George Custer first came to Kansas in 1866 as Lieutenant Colonel of the newly formed 7th U.S. Cavalry. He spent late spring of 1867 at Fort Hays, where the 7th camped until they had accumulated adequate supplies and ammunition for a summer campaign. Time in camp was quite boring and to pass the hours, as well as keep physically fit, Custer commissioned the fort’s blacksmith, Thomas Kennedy to make this dumbbell for him sometime in 1867. It is made of bronze and weighs around 25 pounds. Custer’s Dumbbell currently resides in the Kansas Museum of History.

Al Beinart

Posted on Sunday, April 8th, 2018 by John Wood
Over a century later, Arthur Saxon still holds the greatest bent press poundage ever recorded. The man who has come the closest under official conditions was Al Beinart who managed 330 pounds and trains at Yaco’s Gym in Detroit. The hardest part of the lift, according to Beinart, is getting the weight to the shoulders. This is the style that he used. and with 300+ pounds, that’s an impressive feat by itself.
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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.

Dennis Rogers’ World Record Dumbbell Curl

Posted on Tuesday, January 9th, 2018 by John Wood
At 5’9″ and a bodyweight around 160 pounds, Dennis Rogers sure doesn’t look like your average strongman… But when it’s time to lift some iron, Dennis can do some things that will shock and amaze you. One of Dennis’ unusual abilities is his incredible bicep strength.

At Memorial City Mall in Houston, Texas, Dennis Rogers’ established a World Record One Arm Dumbbell Curl record of 98 pounds x 10 Reps with an Iron Master Dumbbell- he weighed 148 Pounds at the time. Not many heavyweights can even come anywhere close to such a display.

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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.

An Interesting Comparison

Posted on Friday, November 10th, 2017 by John Wood
An interesting comparison of bent-press techniques. On the left, Real Lacombe of Toranto, Canada bent-presses a heavy dumbbell. On the right, grandmaster martial artist Wang Zi Ping does something similar with a Chinese stone lock. The bent-press is not, to our knowledge, named so in ancient Chinese training literature, but it is clear that it — or a version of it — was certainly practiced.
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.

Cadine’s Leverage Bells (?)

Posted on Sunday, October 18th, 2015 by John Wood
Now here’s a curious one: We have several rare shots of the great French weightlifter Ernest Cadine with these interesting pieces of equipment. You could make the case that they have the trappings of kettlebells but they appear to be used more like dumbbells with an unusual twist. The counterweight can be adjusted along the handle to increase or decrease the resistance but the resulting torque of holding them in place must be tremendous which means even curls, presses or other basic movements would be terrific grip developers. Cadine was certainly no slouch in the forearm department. We’ve never seen these advertised so they must have been for his own personal use.
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 Gittleson Dumbbell

Posted on Friday, May 9th, 2014 by John Wood

The Gittleson Dumbbell

The ‘Gittleson Dumbbell’ is so named because it sat on my college strength coach Mike Gittleson’s desk for all the years that I was at Michigan, and likely at least a decade before that. (Mike was the University of Michigan’s football strength coach for 30 years and produced more All-Americans and NFL Draft picks than any other college strength coach in history.)

As you can see this unforgiving chunk of iron weighs 120 pounds. I’ve bent pressed it, snatched it but not yet strictly overhead pressed it ~ something I am on track to do soon…

The Swingbell

Posted on Thursday, March 20th, 2014 by John Wood

The Swingbell is essentially a dumbbell with the weights loaded in the middle instead of either end. This configuration has a great feel for exercises such as curls, wrist curls, abdominal work and, as the name implies, swings.
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.

Doug Hepburn The Pro-Wrestler

Posted on Friday, February 21st, 2014 by John Wood

Doug Hepburn The Pro-Wrestler

Most people don’t know that Doug Hepburn had a short professional wrestling career in Canada once his weight lifting career came to an end. Shown above, he even got his own Parkhurst trading card in the 1955-56 set.
Doug often performed feats of strength before his matches, hence the dumbbell by his feet.

Doug’s finishing move was an inverted bear-hug, using his great strength to squeeze the life out of his opponents until they had no choice but to submit.

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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.

Chuck Ahrens

Posted on Monday, December 23rd, 2013 by John Wood

Chuck Ahrens was never interested in showing off so no one really knew what he was capable of. Feats like this had a lot of people wondering just exactly what his limits were. I count twelve 10-pound plates and 2 smaller ones, likely 7-1/2 pounders, for each dumbbell — that’s approximately 135 pounds per hand – and Chuck reportedly pressed them with ridiculous ease. Even when dressed in a baggy, flannel shirt, you can tell Chuck Ahrens was built for some serious horse power.
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 Strength Maker Kettlebell

Posted on Monday, August 13th, 2012 by John Wood

Professor Anthony Barker Strength Maker Kettlebell

Kettlebells? They have a longer history in America than you might think… Case in point, this “Strength Maker” kettlebell, was produced by Professor Anthony Barker around 1910 or so. The “Strength Maker” was a set which consisted of two hollow globes and various handles. Depending on what you wanted to train with, you could screw in a short handle to make a dumbbell, a long handle to make a barbell, or the handle shown above to make a nifty pair of kettlebells. The globes were hollow and weight could be adjusted with shot as needed.
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.