Josef Grafl

Posted on Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 by John Wood

Josef Grafl, the great strongman from Vienna, Austria, was the man to beat in the weightlifting world in the early 20th century… Grafl won championships in 1908, 1909, twice in 1910, 1911 and his last in 1913.

As you might guess by the image above, Grafl possessed immense pressing power. In Vienna, circa 1912, Grafl pressed 220.5 lbs overhead for 18 repetitions. This was not “military” style popular today but an even more strict performance: with his heels together. It was later estimated by strength historian David P. Willoughby that this performance was equivalent to a maximum single of 344 lbs.