Charles A. Sampson at Prince Albert Hall

Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 by John Wood
Step right up… a rare show poster from Charles A. Sampson’s performance at Royal Albert Hall, London England, on November 22nd and 23rd, 1899. If you had been in attendance, you would have seen Sampson perform his signature feats: harness lifting, coin bending, lifting heavy thick-handled globe barbells, and breaking chains wrapped around his bicep.
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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2018 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 Scottish Hercules William Bankier

Posted on Monday, June 18th, 2018 by John Wood
William Bankier, also billed as “Apollo, The Scottish Hercules” Was born the eldest son of a weaver and after becoming fascinated by the idea of becoming a circus performer, ran away and did just that at twelve years old. At first, Bankier did hard labor and whatever else the circus life required to earn his keep. Bankier was particularly enamored by the strongman and kept a close eye on his act. One day, when the strongman had a little too much to drink, Bankier stepped in and gave a satisfactory performance. He was fifteen years of age at the time.

The bosses were impressed and his reputation spread. Over the next few years, Bankier performed with several different circuses. Among other feats, for his act, Bankier would harness lift an elephant and perform a backward somersault over a chair while carrying a 56 lb weight in each hand. Bankier had a rather interesting method for building bicep strength and size which is covered here.

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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2018 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.

Nino The Carousel

Posted on Monday, December 26th, 2016 by John Wood

The Italian strongman “Nino” figured out very early on that making a lift impressive went far beyond mere poundage, “what” was lifted was a big part of it too, and he had a flair for making his feats remarkable productions. Here’s a perfect example: Nino as the fulcrum in a carousel consisting of two motor cars. This was the early 1900’s so those cars had to weigh a few thousand pounds apiece, and to boot each was also filled with an additional four people. — I’d certainly pay to see that.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

Warren Lincoln Travis’ Challenge

Posted on Sunday, November 27th, 2016 by John Wood

If you wanted to win the Richard K. Fox Heavyweight Strongman Champiionship Belt you had to beat Warren Lincoln Travis at his own game in a challenge match.

Here’s the list of Travis’ ten strength challenges:

1. 100 lb.barbell brought from the floor with both hands, pressed overhead with both hands, while seated(thirty seconds).

2. Pair of ninety pound weights brought from side of body to shoulders, then slowly pressing to arm’s length over the head.

3. Teeth Lift from floor, hands behind back, 350 lbs.

4. 350 lbs. from floor with one finger, eight times in five seconds.

5. One finger lift from floor, 560 lbs. once.

6. Two-hand grip lift, straddling the weight from floor, 700 lbs. twenty times in ten seconds.

7. Hand and knee lift from floor, 1600 lbs. once.

8. Back lift, 3660 lbs. once.

9. Harness lift, 3580 lbs. once.

10. 2000 lb. back lift, 250 times, seven minutes.

(Did I mention all these lifts must be accomplished in 30 minutes or less if you want to win the belt?)

The Hip Lift

Posted on Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 by John Wood
One of the most interesting training techniques of the Oldtime Strongmen is to use short-range movements with very heavy weights. This not only gives a super workout for the muscles, but strengthens the tendons, ligaments and bones and also gives the psychological boost of being able to lift far above what you would normally be able to.

Here’s John Grimek, training his legs by performing a Hip Lift with what looks like 600 lbs. or so. To find out more about how Grimek trained, you’ll want to pick up a copy of The Mark Berry Bar Bell Courses (which features this famous picture on the cover).

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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 Trappen

Posted on Wednesday, August 17th, 2016 by John Wood

The German strongman and weightlifter Paul Trappen’s name isn’t mentioned very often but it certainly should be. At the 1913 German weightlifting Championships, Trappen defeated both Karl Moerke and Hermann Goerner to win the heavyweight title. Some of Trappen’s best lifts were a 320 pound Clean and Jerk, 215 pounds in the one hand clean and jerk and 183 pounds in the one arm press.

All impressive marks but the lift which he should be remembered best for is his harness lift of a pair of oxen totaling 5225 pounds – that would make his performance the greatest ever recorded in that particular lift.

Trappen also performed for the Barnum and Bailey Circus and did some wrestling in addition to feats of strength.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

Cyclops and Sampson: The Strongest Men on Earth

Posted on Sunday, October 25th, 2015 by John Wood
A rare poster advertising the strongman duo of Franz “Cyclops” Bienkowski and Charles A. Sampson. Sampson’s Harness Lift is highlighted.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

Unknown Strongman #6

Posted on Tuesday, July 14th, 2015 by John Wood
[https://www.ironleague.com] – Unfortunately this fellow’s name is lost, which is unfortunate since this is one of the more impressive feats of strength that we have ever highlighted (and that is really saying something!) Even if we are pretty conservative with the bodyweights, that’s got to be close to 900 pounds. Supporting feats always go over well because very heavy weights can be used but doing so in a full backbend is utterly ridiculous.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

Young Bill Good and The Good Dumbbell

Posted on Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 by John Wood

A look at the great American weightlifter Bill Good in the midst of harness lifting the equally famous Good Dumbbell. circa 1934. Good, a Reamstown, Pennsylvania, native was a seven-time National weightlifting Champion (1930-1935, 1937) and competed in the 1932 and 1936 Olympic Games. Good liked to celebrate his birthday each year by harness lifting the 2150 lb. Good Dumbbell for as many repetitions as the number of years of his age, a feat he kept up until he was 90.

Anton Riha

Posted on Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 by John Wood

Back in 1890, Anton Riha, of Bohemia, set an unusual record for weight supporting. Using a specially designed harness rig, he was able to support and/or hang 1400 lbs. of globe barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, ring weights and other miscellaneous weights on his body in a standing position. This record was broken shortly afterwards though by a strongman from Vienna who upped the ante to over 2000 lbs.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.