Specific training to build an “iron grip and powerful forearms” was essential to the Oldtime Strongmen for what should be some very obvious reasons: you can’t bend a horseshoe, rip a deck of cards, or tear a phone book in half if you don’t have strong hands. This is also a big factor in why many of the Oldtime Strongmen were well known for their unbelievable grip strength – and why many of their records in that department still stand to this day.
Now you can learn exactly how to do it too, directly from the greatest strong men themselves with our collection of FOUR Classic Grip Courses. Each of these authors has the credentials and know-how to help you build some of the strongest hands around:
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.
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.
- Molding a Mighty Arm
- Molding a Mighty Chest
- Molding a Mighty Back
- Molding a Mighty Grip
- Molding Mighty Legs
- Strongman Stunts Made Easy
Jowett’s course on grip training can be found with our other classic grip courses.
Sandow thrilled audiences all over the world with his classical physique as well as his amazing feats of strength. In fact, many of the most famous Iron Game luminaries such as George Jowett and Alan Calvert (among others) were inspired to begin training after seeing Sandow in action.
Once he tired of the performing life, Sandow established the very first “Health Studios,” mail order training courses, mail order training equipment and physical culture magazine — all “firsts” for things which are now commonplace in the modern age.