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.
Here’s the list of Travis’ ten strength challenges:
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?)
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 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.