One of Sig’s absolute favorite types of training was hand balancing, and he mentioned it often as the way he trained in the days before he got his weight set. Sig felt that hand balancing was not just for show but was a fantastic way to build size and strength — a viewpoint that we certainly agree with. Sig also believed that regular hand balancing was a great way to improve the press …and the results speak for themselves.
Here’s Burt Lancaster — yes THAT Burt Lancaster, the movie star — doing a handstand in his suit coat and penny loafers soon after he arrived in New York from Italy aboard the SS Liberté. This shot was from December, 1951. Lancaster developed an interest in acrobatics as a young man and just after college, literally ran away and joined the circus where he performed feats on the horizontal bar. These skills would go on to serve him well during his eventual film career as he could perform many of his own stunts.
Joe Zimmerman and his brother Dick were Bob Hoffman’s neighbors in York, Pennsylvania and they hung around the York Barbell Company office doing crazy feats of strength. Here’s Joe performing a handstand on some boxes — which is tough enough by itself — but he is also lifting the 202-pound Louis Cyr Dumbbell in his teeth at the same time!
You can count Pudgy Stockton among the many strength stars who were also excellent handbalancers. Holding a handstand is a more impressive feat than you may realize at first glance, since the sand does not allow the fingers the same stability as a solid surface would. If you’d like to get started in handbalancing, we recommend checking out THIS and THIS.
We’ve covered Sig Klein’s handbalancing feats before. Above you’ll find what ol’ Sig thought of as the ultimate handbalancing feat, or at least the one that he was most proud of. Not only could Sig hold a handstand on a freestanding globe barbell, he could roll the whole affair across the floor while doing so ~ That’s pretty awesome!
The fact that Sig Klein has been mentioned so many times throughout this blog should tell you that he was a jack of all trades — and he most certainly was. Name a classic training discipline and ol’ Sig was a master: muscle control… kettlebell and barbell juggling… heavy weight lifting… posing … the bent press … the list goes on and on.