Glenn Sundby

Posted on Friday, August 3rd, 2018 by John Wood
Glenn Sundby was one of the biggest “names” at the original Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, CA, co-founded USA gymnastics, helped establish the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame and was the editor and chief of several successful gymnastic magazines. Sundby was born in Minneapolis, MN and as a youngster, became fascinated with gymnasts, bodybuilders and Hollywood stunt men. At 5 feet, 5 inches, he was a perfect “top man” and eventually teamed up with wrestler and bodybuilder George Long as a traveling acrobatic group. Not long after, Sundby’s sister Delores joined the group. They famous as the Wayne-Martin Trio appearing at nightclubs, carnivals, The Ed Sullivan Show and even with Spike Jones and his Musical Depreciation Society (how you know you have REALLY made it!)

Just for kicks, on December 29, 1949, Sundby walked down all 898 steps of the Washington Monument on his hands. At various points in time, Sundby was the editor in chief of “Acro-Chat,” Acrobat Magazine, Modern Gymnast, and International Gymnast magazine. Here’s Glenn doing a little light reading at his desk.

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 Incredible Arms of Clevio Massimo

Posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2018 by John Wood
It was said that Clevio Massimo’s family was descended from great Roman athletes of antiquity. That certainly isn’t too difficult to believe, Tony was one of the most muscular men who ever lived and excelled at a number of great feats. He could support a piano and player in the Tomb of Hercules position, bend spikes and tear phone books. Massimo was also a great Hand Balancer and wrestler — he only weighed 190 pounds but you would never think it looking at his pictures.

Jimmie Payne

Posted on Friday, April 20th, 2018 by John Wood
Jimmie Payne was one of Jack LaLanne’s good friends and training partners at the original Muscle Beach scene in Santa Monica, California. Payne’s background in hand balancing served him well, first as a lifting champion, then as a physique title holder (He competed in the Pro Mr. America four times) and finally as a stage athlete. He and his lovely partner Cindy Layne performed across the country as “Payne and Layne.”

He was no slouch in ‘normal’ lifts either, accomplishing a straight-arm pullover with 160 pounds, deadlifting 500 pounds for 8 reps and a standing press with a pair of 115-pound dumbbells.

Clevio Massimo Strongman Poster

Posted on Friday, February 2nd, 2018 by John Wood
An old poster of the strongman Clevio Massimo during the time he appeared on the stage throughout the country, depicting some of the feats of strength he included in his act: harness lifting, the One Arm get Up, Kettlebell Crucifix, card ripping, hand balancing etc. He included quite a variety; many not illustrated here, and his ability as a showman only enhanced his fine performances. Massimo also played the violin in one portion of his act to prove he was a capable musician as well as a genuine strongman.

Master Hand Balancer Professor Paulinetti

Posted on Monday, December 4th, 2017 by John Wood
Handbalancing goes back a long way although the man that took it to a whole new level was Professor Paulinetti. He perfected many of the most difficult hand balancing feats — and was the first man to accomplish the incredibly difficult one-arm planche. Professor Paulinetti was also the mentor to famed hand balancer Bob Jones. In fact, the image above once belonged to the personal collection of Bob Jones. On the back it is written that this photograph was taken in Italy around the year 1900.
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.

Hepburn’s Hand Balancing

Posted on Friday, November 10th, 2017 by John Wood
Hand Balancing was part of Doug Hepburn’s regular training program. He figured the the increased blood flow to the upper body while in the inverted position would be good for building his pressing strength. Given his track records, there certainly may be something to that. Here’s Doug as the ‘bottom man’ in a unique feat: that’s a 205 pound barbell and a 170 pound man he’s holding overhead. This picture is more impressive than it may appear when you consider how they got in that position in the first place – a feat in itself. This picture was taken just after Doug established a new world record in the press with a lift of 353 pounds.
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.

Heidenstam’s Handstand

Posted on Saturday, November 4th, 2017 by John Wood
Heidenstam's Handstand
Oscar Heidenstam is known as the Father of British Bodybuilding. In 1937, he won the “Mr. Britain” contest on his first try and went on to win the 1939 “Mr. Europe” title, the first British bodybuilder to do so. Later, he became president of not one but two bodybuilding promotions: The World Amateur Body Building Association (WABBA) and the National Amateur Bodybuilders Association (NABBA).

Heidenstam wrote many books on physical training including “Modern Bodybuilding” which can be found in The Iron League.” Above, Heidenstam, a life-long devotee of gymnastica and hand-balancing, easily goes down a flight of steps on his hands — he was 45 years of age at the time.

Try Hand-Balancing! by Sig Klein

Posted on Friday, October 6th, 2017 by John Wood
Try Hand-Balancing!
Sig Klein’s “Lost” Course Shows You How!
Try Hand-Balancing by Sig Klein

The Maestro, Sig Klein, shows his stuff, holding a handstand on a sturdy bench. This wasn’t all though, several full range handstand pushups followed.The details of this movements and several more variations are covered in “Try Hand-Balancing.”

WHEN YOU BUY A COLLECTION, you never know what you might find…

That was sure the case just recently when a big box of “forgotten lore” yielded a very interesting discovery: it turns out that the great Sig Klein wrote a course on hand-balancing that no one today (including me) had ever heard of before.

As you are probably aware, we are BIG fans of all things hand-balancing, and, of course, we are big fans of Sig Klein, so this training guide was certainly worth its weight in gold to us on many levels.

We immediately made plans to shine it up re-release this course again to the world so that everyone could once again benefit from Sig’s teaching.

First, we had all the text transcribed so that we could lay it out more readily. Second, we carefully re-scanned each image at the highest resolution possible in order to avoid the dreaded moire (checkering) effect…  blemishes, specs, age spots and imperfections in the images were digitally edited and/or removed, and finally each scan was, enlarged, cropped, centered and leveled.

Our original plan was to put out this “lost” course as a hard copy, and you know how we like to do it, taking a lot of time, effort and great care in paper selection, layout and all other aspects of the presentation so that you end up with something in your hands that you can be proud to own.

We still intend on doing that at some point, but it recently came to our attention that a lot of people might also like to get an electronic copy. There are, of course, advantages in either case, but the immediate bottom line is that, with most of the layout work done, we could get an electronic copy up and ready to go in a matter of days and make it available immediately.

And so we did… and, as of the time of this writing, the electronic Kindle version of “Try Hand-Balancing” by Sig Klein is current climbing the charts over on Amazon.com.

Now, just to give you an idea of the kind of information that is covered in this course, here’s quick a look:

  • The THREE most important reasons to give your lower body a rest and increase the strength of the upper body by turning your training upside-down!
  • Why hand-balancing is and can be of the utmost importance for women and how a several groups of women easily show up their male counterparts
  • The simplest method for practicing your hand balancing skills — a skill that you should be able to do easily, even if you have never even attempted a handstand before
  • The two important factors that you must take into consideration when using the wall for practice
  • A simple-as-pie elementary exercise that will help you learn to position your feet correctly
  • How to perform the basic movement that will help you bridge the gap into advanced advanced exercises and movements
  • The two simple calisthenic exercises that will increase your hand-balancing skills
  • The spectacular hand-balancing feat that can be done with a simple chair, which is also a fantastic abdominal strength builder
  • Why Sig Klein believes every human being should be able to manage the weight of his body under all conditions
  • How hand-balancing builds steady nerves and quiet tempers through strengthening “concentration”
  • How to perform the highly impressive “Tiger Bend” and the small detail that finally allowed Sig Klein to conquer it. Also, why brute strength alone may not get the job done.
  • A three image sequence on how to perform the push-up-to-hand-stand on low parallel bars and why the low parallel bars are more of a challenge than high parallel bars for this movement
  • Details on the handstand bench push-up and its variations. How many times can Sig perform this movement?
  • The highly impressive “free” barbell hand-stand, and why Sig Klein says it is “only the b-e-g-i-n-n-i-n-g”
  • How to perform the Planche on low parallels
  • What Sig Klein feels is the biggest secret of hand-balancing success, and why you won’t get far without knowing it…
Additional Instruction from John Wood!

But that’s not all! Sig Klein wrote this course roughly seventy five years ago, but the principles which make hand-balancing work are eternal. When I embarked on my own hand-balancing journey, unsurprisingly, I learned from and practiced many of the movements that Sig discusses in his course. Since I went from knowing absolutely nothing about hand-balancing to being able to hold a “pretty good” one, (especially for a former nose-guard) there were a few additional details that I wanted to share along with what can already be found in Sig’s course.

So, in the latter pages of the course, I have put together TEN tips, tips, techniques and pieces of advice that I wished I knew when I got started, or which I learned along the way. Here’s an idea of what I mean:

  • The biggest mistakes that I made with my first hand-balancing effortss, why I initially quite and the completely random experience at an amusement park that occurred about a decade later pulled me back in
  • The biggest Secret to hand-balancing success – yes, Sig covered it already, but I wanted to list it again just to make absolutely sure that it sinks in.
  • How long will it take you to be able to hold a handstand? Everyone progresses at different rates, but I can tell you how long it too me, and the markers that I like to use.
  • What to do in case you have a bad workout …and the foolish mistake that *I* made that lead to one of the worst hand-balancing workouts that I ever had, something that I sure never repeated
  • How my early hand-balancing workouts will differ from my later ones, and the types of movements I recommend putting your focus toward early on
  • How to break up your training into three distinct phases: the “conditioning” phase, the “practice” phase and the “mastery” phase and the specific types of training that should happen in each
  • What my early hand-balancing workouts looked like, how long they generally lasted and why that time frame was important
  • The simple way that I like to keep track of my exercises to ensure progress is taking place
  • “Strait talk” on using the wall for your practice, when it is important and when it is a good idea to stop using it.
  • How often to train.. what I learned about frequency, and how often I currently practice
  • Why being “never satisfied” is a good thing when it comes to hand-balancing and how to make it work for you
  • A discussion on training environment, and how you can avoid the mistake that I made that made my wife very angry
  • Mental training for hand-balancing, a lesson from a Jedi master and how to not be your own worst enemy
  • The two visualization techniques that I use, and how they help me improve in my sleep!

IMPORTANT: Try-Hand-Balancing by Sig Klein is currently ONLY available in electronic format on the Kindle and available from Amazon.com. The order button below will take you directly to the order page on Amazon.com where it can be purchased. If we go ahead with a PRINTED version we will make an announcement once it is ready.

Order now!____$9.99 (Click this button to order from Amazon.com)
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.

Hand-Balancing for Muscular Development by Bill Hinbern

Posted on Friday, September 30th, 2016 by John Wood
I used to fall flat on my face…
but NOW, I can hold a handstand like an expert
every single time!
Let me tell you what made the difference:

I couldn’t tell you the exact year, but I’m pretty sure I was around 10 years old or so… What I do very clearly remember was that it was on a Saturday afternoon when I found an article on hand balancing in an old magazine. My intentions were admittedly to be able to show off in a more dramatic manner…

I thought that holding a hand stand and being able to walk around on on my hands was just about one of the coolest things ever. I figured that with my new-found knowledge, come Monday morning I was going to impress all my friends at school (if I didn’t decide to run off and join the circus before then, of course!)

I didn’t bother to read the article though, I just jumped right in to trying to duplicate some of the exercises shown in the pictures. I did a lot more falling than balancing… It some how wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. What should come as no great surprise is that it didn’t go very well and my first hand balancing escapade ended in frustration after less than a half-hour.

This was a case of making several classic mistakes: the first was attempting to jump in at a level far above what I was capable of, the second was not having any kind of plan and the third, was completely ignoring the written directions (not that it would have done much good, given the other afore-mentioned issues.)

To these you can also add in my own unrealistic expectations so its pretty easy to understand why things ended up the way they did. Despite my initial lack of success, my fascination with hand balancing skills still remained…

An Oldtime Secret of Strength and Development

As I mentioned earlier, my initial interest in hand balancing was basically just to show off — and it’s a pretty good way to do so — but if you take a look back through the history of strength training you’ll notice something else about it that stands out. Many of the oldtime strength athletes used hand balancing as a way to build incredible strength and upper body development.

The list of strength athletes who were also great hand balancers reads like a “who’s who” of legends: Sig Klein, John Grimek, Doug Hepburn, Paul Anderson, Jack LaLanne, Bert Assirati, George F. Jowett, Steve Reeves, Otto Arco, Bert Goodrich and Clevio Massimo… just to name a few that come immediately to mind.


SIG KLEIN was a master
of many hand balancing feats
and valued it highly
There was a period of time when
the only training that JOHN GRIMEK
did was handbalancing
Big guys can learn handbalancing too: Doug Hepburn balanced with ease at a bodyweight of 305 lbs
Why it’s much easier than it looks
(If I can learn to do this, anyone can!)

It took a little while, a few decades, in fact, but eventually my interest in hand balancing came back in a big way. There were several factors which contributed to this: first of all, I got really interested in improving my overhead press, and hand balancing is one of the “lost” methods that the oldtime lifters used to use for doing so.

Second, as the time passed, I got a little more of this “stuff” called wisdom (which tends to accumulate over the years) and I grew up more than a little. One of the most important things that happened was that I no longer expected to become an expert over night…

I had the motivation and I had the wisdom, but what I was lacking was a plan. It an amazing stroke of luck that right around this time, (and thirdly), that Bill Hinbern also came out with a
fantastic training guide which outlined decades of hand balancing
knowledge. With this guide in hand, I was no longer in the dark as
far as how and where to get started. My “getting started” frustration
and anxiety disappeared instantly.

Introducing your Road Map for Hand
Balancing Success: Hand-Balancing for
Muscular Development by Bill Hinbern

Now, I know that hand balancing might look pretty complicated but once you understand the principles — and know which specific skills that you should be practicing — it’s actually very simple. This is the course that helped me get started. Here’s a look at many of the things that you will learn:

1. The very specific and exact ways that your body maintains a sense of balance and why understanding them will be
critical to your hand balancing success

2. How to quickly and easily solve the common problems of unbalancing and overbalancing (two of the most important things you can know)

3. The best ways to fall safely and correctly (info which you will NEED to know.)

4. How your hands and fingers must be positioned for the perfect handstand

5. The 16 preliminary exercises (with and without equipment) that you can use to build a solid
foundation

6. A selection of 7 barbell exercises to use in preparation for hand balancing workout, AND suggestions on the specific days of the week to focus on them


7. The 4 basic parts of the perfect hand balance and why you will end up flat on your face if you
leave out any of them

8. The 3 simplest ways to “get up” into the hand stand position

9. How to correctly use a wall for hand balancing practice

10. The best locations and positions for your gym mats

11. The Best “type” of surface for the
most effective hand balancing training — and which surfaces to avoid

12. The 2 keys to practicing hand balancing with or without a partner

13. How to perform “The Headstand,” The “Handstand,” “The Frogstand” and 7 more basic hand balancing moves

14. How to perform a handstand from a cartwheel

15. How to condition your hands, fingers, wrists and forearms for supporting your
bodyweight with a unique exercise called “The Gargoyle”

16. The finer points of “The Press-Up Handstand,” “Half-Lever Swing Up,” “The Chairstand” and 12 more
Intermediate hand balancing movements


17. The 5 different types of “floor bars” and why you may or may not need to train with them

18. Why “The Tiger Bend” is one of the most effective exercises and how to use it to build strong, powerful arms (a favorite of Sig Klein)

19. Twenty Advanced Hand balancing moves guaranteed to impress anyone

20. Seven different methods for progressing to the one armed hand stand

21. How to perform “The Snap Down” – a spectacular way of finishing off your hand balances

22. Four different variations of “The Planche”

23. Methods for Mastering the Press-Up from Planche to Hand Stand

24. How to walk up and down stairs on your hands

25. “Hopping” on one hand, two hands, and stacking and removing blocks

26. How to perform a hand stand from the seated position

27. The most difficult part of the Backward Roll up into The Handstand and a quick tip for conquering it easily

28. Details for mastering the MOST impressive hand balancing feat of all…

29. The hand Balancing movement that is also one of the very best for building abdominal strength

29. Four different stretching exercises for maintaining strong, flexible shoulders

30. The One most important thing to remember above all else for hand balancing success

31. An Anatomy chart of all the major muscle groups

32. A Full resource section for all equipment described and used throughout the course


Hand-Balancing for Muscular Development by Bill Hinbern
__________________$29.99 plus s/h

Does it work? Here’s the Proof:




The Basic Hand Stand: All other skills can only be accomplished by mastering this movement. Not bad for a former nose guard with zero previous gymnastic experience!

If you’d have seen me when I started you would never have thought this was even possible.

Yes, it took plenty of practice to be able to do this. Hand balancing is a lot like riding a bike, after a while you just “get it” and you wonder why it ever seemed so difficult in the first place…

Staggered Balancing: Another challenge is to hold a balance with your hands at different heights. One of the most popular methods of doing this is using a common kitchen chair but you can learn to do it just about anywhere.

Yes, that IS a classic MILO globe dumbbell under my right hand (in the interest of full disclosure, it was “blocked” so that it didn’t roll but the ability to hold it otherwise is not too far off.)

The “Figure Four”: Once you get pretty good at the basic hand stand, you can move on to more challenging skills. This intermediate move is called “The Figure Four” since the body looks like a “4” when viewed from the side. You’ll find it discussed in detail on page 41.
Narrow Balancing: Adjusting the width of your base is another way to work on different skills. Look closely and you’ll see that my thumbs are touching, a surprisingly difficult balance. If you want to improve your overhead press, this movement builds tremendous shoulder strength and stability.
So Get Started Already!

You wouldn’t have read this far if you didn’t mean business… It took roughly two decades between the time I first got interested in hand balancing to the time I was actually able to accomplish it but I could have condensed that down to only a few weeks if I knew the right place to begin…When I started, I had the desire and the motivation, but I lacked the know-how. Today, the know-how is now right in front of your face. I can only dream of where I might be if I had Bill Hinbern’s course way back in the day. You have a chance to not just get started, but to get started at the best possible place and know exactly what you should be doing. It is like the difference between taking the long, slow, frustrating road which may or may not get you to where you want to go… or, on the other hand, you can take a straight-line “shortcut” right to the top.

Yes, there will be work involved, there’s no way around that, but there sure won’t be any more work than what is necessary… Hey, if I can learn to do this, anyone can, take the plunge and order your copy of Hand-Balancing for Muscular Development right now and maybe one day you will run off and join the circus!

Hand-Balancing for Muscular Development by Bill Hinbern is a paper and ink printed course and is not available in e-book format.

The course is paperback, consiste of 72 pages, profusely illustrated with dozens of rare pen and ink drawings and has a heavy-stock cover. An Anatomy chart, kilo to pounds conversion table and full list of resources are also included.

The contents and topics covered in this course can be found else where on this page.

Order now!Hand-Balancing for Muscular Development by Bill Hinbern
___________$29.99 plus s/h
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.

Grimek’s Handstand

Posted on Thursday, October 15th, 2015 by John Wood

For a period of a few years, John Grimek didn’t touch a weight of any kind… no barbells, no dumbbells, no nothing BUT he still continued to maintain and even enhance his impressive physique by focusing intently on his hand-balancing skills. The great thing about hand-balancing is that it’s a lot like riding a bike, once you learn how to do it, you never forget. This classic shot of Grimek looks like it was probably taken in Bob Hoffman’s back yard in North York, PA.

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.