Arthur Lancaster: The Man With The Grip of Iron

Posted on Monday, February 10th, 2014 by John Wood

Arthur Lancaster, of Brixton, England, desired to do something that had never been accomplished before, and on July, 4th, 1908, he accomplished his goal. It was on that date, at the Crystal Palace (London), that he swung an eight pound blacksmith’s hammer for twelve straight hours. It was supposed to be a contest of endurance against a Frenchman, but the latter did not keep his engagement, so the Englishman began his task alone (albeit, still in front of two judges.)

Lancaster swung the hammer with one hand during meal breaks and resumed two-handed swinging once finished. It was estimated that Lancaster “lifted” over 350 tons over the course of his hammer-swinging session. Unsurprisingly, Lancaster reported that his performance was as much a triumph mentally as physically. Thereafter, he was known as: “The Man With The Grip of Iron.”

Charles Vansittart: The Man With The Iron Grip

Posted on Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 by John Wood
Vansittart: The Man With The Iron Grip
Given his penchant for ripping tennis balls in half and bending railroad spikes, it is not hard to see why Charles Vansittart was known as the man with the “Iron Grip.”

Though this photo is well over a hundred years old, you can still plainly see that Vansittart had the genetics to be a strength champion. You can read about some of Vansittart’s favorite exercises HERE.

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.

Professor James Harrison and his War Clubs

Posted on Friday, November 29th, 2013 by John Wood

Professor James Harrison

“… We learn that Mr. Harrison first began to use the clubs three years ago, at which time his muscular development was not regarded as being very great, his measurements being: round the chest 37-1/2 inches, round the upper arm 13-7-8ths inches, and round the forearm 13-1/4 inches.

The clubs with which Mr. Harrison commenced weighed about seven pounds each; he has advanced progressively until he can now wield with perfect ease two clubs. each weighing 37 pounds, and his heaviest weighing 47 pounds.
The effects of this exercise on the wielder’s measurements are as follows: round the chest 42-1/2 inches, the upper arm 15 inches, and the forearm 14 inches.

At the same time, his shoulders have increased immensely, and the muscles of his mid-section which were weak when he first used the clubs, are now well-developed and powerful. In short, all the muscles of the trunk have been improved by this exercise.”

Professor James Harrison
As Featured in The Illustrated London News
August 14th, 1852

Professor Harrison of London was a well-known gymnastics and physical culture teacher who was honored by Queen Victoria for his physical prowess. It was watching Professor Harrison expertly swing his heavy “war clubs” which inspired Sim Kehoe to bring club swinging back to America and promote it on a wide scale.

Henry Holtgrewe: The Cincinnati Strongman

Posted on Friday, July 12th, 2013 by John Wood

Henry Holtgrewe: The Cincinnati Strongman

Henry Holtgrewe was born in Hanover, Germany in 1862 but came to live in the United States at an early age. He settled in Cincinnati, where he ran a saloon in the Over-The-Rhine area of the city, near down town. In his spare time, he delighted in performing feats of strength, especially lifting barbells and dumbbells with thick handles — which not only confounded smaller-handed competition, but also allowed Henry Holtgrewe to build a tremendous 15-1/2 inch forearm in the process.

Holtgrewe also out “pressed” the great Louis Cyr with a single-arm lift of 287 pounds. It was said that each time Eugen Sandow performed in Cincinnati, Holtgrewe challenged to a lifting contest — and each time Sandow refused.

In 1904, Holtgrewe backlifted two opposing baseball teams at Redlands Field in Cincinnati. The combined weight was estimated at 4103 pounds easily placing him among the strongest backlifters of all time.

John Grunn Marx

Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2013 by John Wood
A look at John Grunn Marx about to break a chain with the arm that broke three horseshoes in two minutes and 15 seconds. Marx did a lot of training with thick-handled barbells and dumbbells which gave him a grip of steel, in fact, that was the title of a grip course that he wrote: “The Grip of Steel. The Complete Science of Hand and Forearm Training.”
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.

Joe Price, The Gloucester Blacksmith

Posted on Monday, April 1st, 2013 by John Wood
Joe Price, The Gloucester Blacksmith

Zander Machines

Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 by John Wood

Zander Machines

Gustav Zander was a Swedish physician who created over 70 different exercises “machines” at the turn of the century. Zander’s machines were very meticulously designed with a very intricate system of pulleys, pendulums and counter-balances which accounted for the leverages of the human body.

Each machine developed a particular area of the body. The machine shown above was for training forearm extension.

Also, despite their obvious similarities in appearance, Arthur Jones had no prior knowledge of Gustav Zander or his machines when he designed the Nautilus Machines. (Which actually function quite a bit differently.)

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.

Hercule Elsener ~ Chain Breaking Champion of the World

Posted on Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 by John Wood

Hercule Elsener ~ Chain Breaking Champion of the World

Francois ‘Hercule’ Elsener, of Roubaix, France was the Chain Breaking World Champion in 1903. Elsener could break chains with ease in every conceivable manner but his specialty was to break them around his chest and bicep.
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.

The Killer Karate Krusher!

Posted on Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 by John Wood
Chuck Sipes Demosntrates 'The Killer Karate Krusher!'
We have long been making the case that grip strength is a valuable commodity to all athletes, case in point: The Killer Karate Krusher! If you have ever wanted ‘A Bone-Crushing Grip”, “Fingers as Tough as Steel”, and “A Fist as Tough as a Sledge Hammer” then the ‘Killer Karate Krusher’ is one to check out. The Killer Karate Krusher is the only exercise which permit full “finger bombing” for an extra-powerful grip — or at least that’s what is said in the ad. Who knows how many of these were ordered from outta the back of comic books?

Demonstrating is IFBB Mr. America, Mr. Universe and Mr. World, Chuck Sipes, who was clearly no stranger to forearm work.

Paul Anderson, The Nail Driver

Posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2012 by John Wood
Paul Anderson The Nail Driver
Paul Anderson accomplished many things in his life including an Olympic Gold Medal and World Records in just about every lift he tried… but I bet you didn’t know he was also an expert nail driver too… When he traveled around for speaking engagements, Big Paul figured the quickest way to get an audience’s attention was to perform an unusual feat of strength — and a man driving a nail through a wooden board with his bare hand sure fits the bill! Other great nail driving strongmen include Alexander ‘Amazing Samson’ Zass, Siegmund Breitbart, Dennis Rogers, and The Mighty Atom.