Gottfried Huber

Posted on Thursday, November 30th, 2017 by John Wood
Not much is known of Gottfried Huber, the early weightlifter/strongman/wrestler from the Austrian state of Tirol. What little is remembered is that he specialized in feats of gripping power and finger lifting. Consequently, he was also a champion in the sport of Fingerhakeln (finger hooking), a test of strength in which you you try to pull your opponent across a table with your middle finger only.
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.

Strongman Stunts Made Easy by George F. Jowett

Posted on Monday, October 9th, 2017 by John Wood
The “Strongman Stunts Made Easy” training booklet, along with five other individualized courses in the “Molding” Series, appeared sometime around 1930 and George F. Jowett claimed to have sold hundreds of thousands of them all over the world.

Like much of Jowett’s writings, the material is surprisingly timeless, of course, this booklet is devoted specifically to feats of strength — the Bent Press, lifting a human being, finger lifting, steel bending, how to tear a deck of cards etc.

In what should also not be a surprise, Jowett describes the training for each feat in great detail. Copies of “Strongman Stunts Made Easy” are not easy to come by but FYI, this course is available in its entirety in The Iron League.

Jowett On Finger Strength

Posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 by John Wood
A bit on finger lifting from George F. Jowett, circa, 1924:

“So far as lifting weights with the fingers goes, I believe that Warren Lincoln Travis is the best man in the world. He certainly is the best that I ever met, in raising weights off the floor with the aid of his fingers. I have seen him make several big lifts with two fingers, but the best he ever did was the time he celebrated his fiftieth birthday, when he raised the terrific weight of eight hundred and eighty-one and one-half pounds, using just one finger of each hand. I was the referee on that occasion, and was proud to see Travis raise the world’s record so high.

On the one finger lift, he has done around five hundred and sixty pounds, while John Pagano has also raised over five hundred pounds with one finger. The lift is not made with the bare finger, as you are no doubt aware. The finger could not grasp the object to lift it. The middle finger is used, and on it the lifter fits an iron eye that has a hook attached, which grabs the object to be lifted. It is necessary that the eye should fit tightly upon the finger up at the first joint, as close to the knuckle of the hand as possible, as the finger is crooked, the eye locks thereon. Just the same it has to be raised off the floor, and that takes power. The ligament of that finger becomes very thick. In some cases, I have seen it become so thick that it made the finger crooked. A few years ago I met an old Swedish lifter who had quit the profession, but in his day was claimed to be a great finger lifter. I remember quite well that the middle finger of his right hand was almost twice as large as any of his other fingers, just from practicing that lift.”

Unfortunately we don’t know the gent pictured above but he has a pretty sweet setup, and that barrel, if filled completely, must weigh somewhere between 300-400lbs. which makes a very worthy feat.

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.

Harry Good

Posted on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 by John Wood
Like many strongmen, Harry Good was very talented at feats of grip and forearm strength. Here he lifts a set of heavy farm equipment gears weighing over 300 pounds with one finger. His best performance in this lift was with over 450 pounds.
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.

Basil Korolev

Posted on Wednesday, February 4th, 2015 by John Wood
Basil Korolev was Russian by birth but left his native land in 1919 at the start of the revolution. He settled in Japan were he was undefeated in Judo and boxing contests and held the heavyweight title in both sports until his retirement in 1936. Here is Basil at a strength demonstration curling a pair of 80-pound kettlebells with only his little fingers.
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 Great’ Joe Rollino

Posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 by John Wood

Joe Rollino

Joe Rollino learned the strongman trade as an assistant to Warren Lincoln Travis at the famed Coney Island. In the 1920’s, Rollino branched out into his own strongman act.

Joe stood 5’5″ and weighed just under 150 pounds but possessed the strength of someone twice his size. He easily performed all the traditional feats of strength such as back lifting, finger lifting, nail bending, phonebook and playing card tearing and, shown here, bending a spike in his teeth. He once lifted 635 pounds with one finger.

Rollino was also a boxer under the name “Kid Dundee” and, like many strongmen of the day, was a very good hand balancer. Joe was a lifelong vegetarian and lived to 105 years old. He passed away a few years ago, not from sickness or disease but from getting hit by a van while crossing the street to pick up his morning paper.

Stanless Steel

Posted on Thursday, August 18th, 2011 by John Wood
Stanley “Stanless Steel” Pleskun from South Brunswick, New Jersey has been quietly performing some pretty amazing feats of strength for many years. He can lift over 600 pounds with one finger, break chains, drive nails, lever sledge hammers and, incredibly, bend a penny with his bare hands. Stanless attributes his great strength to the ability to harness the power of his own mind.

Hans Steyrer: The Bavarian Hercules

Posted on Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 by John Wood
Hans Steyrer
Hans Steyrer: The Bavarian Hercules
“The Bavarian Hercules” Hans Steyrer is shown here with his signature lift: a one-finger lift of a heavy stone block, usually 500 pounds or more, combined with a muscle-out of a 50-pound kettlebell. Either one of these feats would be impressive by themselves, but doing them both at the same time put Steyrer in a league by himself. It should also be noted that Steyrer was the very first strongman ever photographed using kettlebells (at least to our knowledge.) This was around 1880 or so