The great German strongman Hermann Goerner was known as “Goerner The Mighty” — and for very good reason. Among his many amazing feats were a one-arm deadilift of 734.5 lbs and a “leg press” of 24 men sitting on a plank, a total weight of 4123 lbs. Above, Goerner lifts his famous challenge barbell, which was 330-3/4 lbs. and had a 2-3/8ths-inch handle.; Goerner’s challenge was to clean and jerk this unique barbell without moving the feet, something which he could do easily but which no one else was ever able to duplicate.
Karl Moerke was a German Strongman in the early 1900’s. At a bodyweight around 250 pounds at a height of only 5’2 Moerke was quite the powerhouse. He could deadlift 650 pounds, jerk 375 pounds (shown here), and had a 19-inch neck. Moerke is thought to be the first man to squat 600 pounds.
Karl Abs, known as “The German Oak” was the first man in Germany to continental and jerk 330 pounds… he accomplished this feat back in 1885. Abs also won the European Greco-Roman Heavyweight Championship in 1894.
A rare shot of a German weightlifting club and their classic equipment, taken around 1919. Also notice the particularly large and wide handles on their kettlebells. This style of handle served a specific purpose as the German strength athletes were particularly fond of juggling and throwing and catching their kettlebells.
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