Pulling heavy loads has been a great training technique for years. Strongman and wrestler Hans Kavan does the old draft horse routine, circa 1925.
Giovanni Raicevich was an Italian professional wrestler known for his great strength. He won many international tournaments and two world championships in 1907 (defeating Laurent le Beaucairois.) and 1909 (defeating Paul Pons). Raicevich fought (but lost to) Frank Gotch in November of 1909 in a 2-out-of-3 falls match. Raicevich retired after his last professional match, a win against Hans Kavan, in 1929. His brothers were Roberto Massimo and Emilio Ruggerio Raičević who were also champion wrestlers.
In March of 1925, Hans Kavan “The Austrian Hercules” noted wrestler and sometimes strongman performed this “human link” feat to win a wager. Kavan was thankfully not torn asunder with two horses on each arm, pulling in opposite directions. Kavan had a brother named Franz who was also a decent wrestler. (That’s right, Hans and Franz from Austria was a real thing!)