It has only been fairly recently that kettlebell sport has become better known in this part of the world. In competitive contests the lifts are the ‘Two Kettlebell Jerk’ and ‘One Kettlebell Snatch’; performed in that order for ten minutes each. The competitor with the highest overall score wins. With the immense increase in popularity as of late, perhaps some day well see kettlebell lifting as an Olympic event.
Another look at Carl Busch as he performs a Crucifix lift with a pair of German Kettlebells. At one time Busch had an act where he wrestled a bull (Busch always won.)
How about that kettlebell? Charles Phelan billed himself not as the World’s strongest man but the World’s most entertaining strongman as he told jokes between his strength feats while he performed at Coney Island. He weighed only 140 pounds but held five world records: a one-finger lift of 506 pounds, 700 pounds with two fingers, a hand and thigh lift of 1125 pounds, a hip lift of 1600 pounds and a backlift of 2500 pounds. Phelan was taught how to be a strongman by Warren Lincoln Travis and was a good friend of Vic Boff.
A look at the members of The Olympic Athletic Club of Stephanois (central France) and their awesome equipment, circa 1900. Check out that studded kettlebell!
Here we have Al Tauscher, the Oregon Strongman, getting in a quick kettlebell workout back around 1916. Though he only weighed 162 pounds, Tauscher was incredibly strong. In this classic shot he presses a 105 lb. kettlebell with the left hand while simultaneously curling a 75 lb. ‘bell in the right… This feat was said to be ridiculously easy for Tauscher by those who witnessed it. He could also one-arm snatch 157 pounds and one-arm clean and jerk 210 pounds, both of which were American Amateur records at the time.
The Mighty Young Apollo — A.K.A. Paul Anderson from Melbourne, Australia performed many unusual feats during his colorful career. He was fond of the Human Link Feat, letting cars and trucks run over him, and pulling railroad cars with his teeth. He once let an eight ton elephant stand on his chest! One of his feats — “The Bridge of Death” involved taking a wrestler’s bridge position whilst two men with heavy sledge hammers smashed a piece of granite on his chest, oh, and a hunting knife was placed on the ground below him with the blade at his heart! He made it through though, the Mighty Young Apollo actually was still performing amazing feats into his 80’s. Here he is bending a steel bar in his teeth.
Carl Busch was a great strongman and wrestler who was active in the early 20th century. After winning the 1901 German national title, he toured Europe performing feats of strength and wrestling all comers. He even wrestled the great Frank Gotch to a draw under Greco-Roman rules. Busch also wrestled the likes of George Hackenschmidt, Professor Roller, Heinrich Weber, Yousef Holusane, Fred Beell, and even Farmer Burns. As far as feats of strength, Busch could bent press 250 pounds at a bodyweight of only 175 pounds. In 1891, Busch started his own circus which is actually still going strong today if you can believe it.
A step-by-step look at the 2-Hands Anyhow. It has been said that this lift is the ultimate test of strength, endurance and agility: it is the method by which the greatest weight has ever been lifted overhead with one hand, the complete lift lasts 12-15 seconds, and it requires practice, balance and the perfection of having to do two things at once. Once the lifter completes a Bent Press an additional weight, in the form of a dumbbell or kettlebell, is then cleaned to the shoulder and pressed overhead. The greatest performance of all time in this lift is 448 pounds, lifted by Arthur Saxon in 1905.
Alexeev is among the many Russian Champions who maintained a love of kettlebells training throughout his career. Based on the throwing circle at his feet he’s using the kettlebell to warm up and probably about to do a little shot putting.
For several years prior to the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the Soviet Union produced a series of commemorative coins celebrating their ethnic sporting heritage. The above 10 ruble coin, shows one of the most iconic traditional sports: Kettlebell lifting — a stout fellow stands with a kettlebell lifted high above his head.
A look at “The Brooklyn Strongboy” Charles Phelan in action in mid-two-hands-anyhow with an excellent globe barbell and kettlebell. Phelan held five world records in his day: a one-finger lift of 506 pounds, a 700 pound lift with two fingers, a hand and thigh lift of 1125 pounds, a hip lift of 1600 pounds and a backlift of 2500 pounds. Phelan learned the strongman arts from none other than Warren Lincoln Travis.