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.
n 1911, Edward Aston won the title of “Britain’s Strongest Man” by defeating the great Thomas Inch in a challenge match. Aston held the title for the next 23 years and retired undefeated.
Aston was the first Englishman to lift 300 lbs. overhead with one hand and could do a one-arm snatch with 180 lbs. as well as a one-arm clean to the shoulder with 250 lbs.
Edward Aston lifted 496 pounds on a 2.25 inch thick bar with an overhand grip – a tremendous feat of grip strength.
He wrote the grip course ‘How to Develop A Powerful Grip’ in 1946.
If you want to perform amazing strength feats, then having super strong hands is a must… It’s impressive to be able to rip a deck of cards in half, but the great Texas strongman Paul Von Boeckmann took it a step further by ripping this quarter-sized chunk out of a 52-card deck. For obvious reasons, this type of feat is referred to as “card notching.” Von Boeckman could also tear a deck of cards into eighths.
Joe Price, of Gloucester, England, is one example of many blacksmiths who were also strongmen. Needless to say — and very obvious in the photo above — the vigorous muscular development due to smithing came in very handy while performing feats of strength. Price was trained by W.A. Pullum and went on to win the British Heavyweight Lifting Championship in 1922 and 1923. In addition to his lifting exploits, Price was also British Champion Farrier in 1928. Price even wrote an excellent “Vulcan” training course on using a sledge hammer to build strength (a copy of which we have been lucky enough to recently come across.) Here, Price nails in a notice with a hammer weighing in at half a hundredweight – not bad!
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.
At an exhibition in Paris, in the year 1905, ‘The Luxembourg Hercules’ John Grunn Marx bent and broke three horseshoes in the span of 2 minutes and 15 seconds. One of these horseshoes is shown above. Marx was descended from a long line of blacksmiths and was famed for his grip and forearm strength. More of Marx’s strength feats will be covered in subsequent posts.
This is what 45-pound barbell plates looked like way back in the day. If you have some, count yourself lucky, they started disappearing in the 1960’s when The York Barbell Company came out with a more streamlined plate (they could only fit so many of these on a bar with guys like Wilbur Miller around). Two great grip strength challenges either to lift one of these plates by the hub or pinch grip a pair of them. You’ve got a pretty strong pair of mitts if you can do either (or both.)