Charles Phelan and His GIANT Kettlebell

Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 by John Wood
How about that kettlebell? Charles Phelan billed himself not as the World’s strongest man but the World’s most entertaining strongman as he told jokes between his strength feats while he performed at Coney Island. He weighed only 140 pounds but held five world records: a one-finger lift of 506 pounds, 700 pounds with two fingers, a hand and thigh lift of 1125 pounds, a hip lift of 1600 pounds and a backlift of 2500 pounds. Phelan was taught how to be a strongman by Warren Lincoln Travis and was a good friend of Vic Boff.

Archie Vanderpool

Posted on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016 by John Wood
If you want to practice heavy partial deadlifts or hand-and-thigh lifts, you’ll want a setup like Archie Vanderpool here. The strongman (and proud member of the York Barbell Club) from Woodbine, Iowa, specialized on a number of unusual — and very heavy — lifts. For example, his record in the lift shown was 1840 pounds. He also liked to do things like shouldering a 1100 pound railroad rail and then going for a walk.

He also reported carrying a barbell loaded to 400 pounds for a distance of 80 feet. If this looks and sounds familiar, it’s because Archie was good friends with Steve Justa’s father.

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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 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.

Paul Von Boeckmann’s Breathing Gymnastics

Posted on Saturday, July 21st, 2012 by John Wood

Many people think “Strength” only comes down to the muscles – it doesn’t. One Oldtime Strongman who understood this concept very well was Paul Von Boeckmann from New Braunfels, Texas whose “Breathing Gymnastics” course focused on building lung power along with great strength and development.

Von Boeckmann was certainly on to something as he won many championships in both wrestling and weightlifting. He could bent-press of 201 pounds, do a “hand and thigh” lift with 1652 pounds and has an immense “challenge” Indian club that no one could shoulder.