Harry Shafran’s Gym

Posted on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 by John Wood

Harry Shafran's Gym

Think you could get a pretty good workout here? …A unique look at some of the equipment once belonging to Harry Shafran and housed in his great gym. Much of what is shown here was previously owned by Warren Lincoln Travis. Some of this equipment has a very interesting story since the time this picture was taken… part of which will be covered in The Dellinger Files Volume II.

German Kettlebell Club, 1903

Posted on Thursday, April 26th, 2012 by John Wood

German Kettlebell CLub, 1903
A look at a German kettlebell club from the turn of the last century and a selection of their awesome equipment.  German strength athletes were particularly fond of juggling their kettlebells, hence “German” kettlebells had much larger and more pronounced handles.  Also of note is the fact that most of the barbells have thick handles.

Ahmed Madrali ~ “The Terrible Turk”

Posted on Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 by John Wood

Ahmed Madrali, The Terrible Turk, lifts a large kettlebell.  Two globe barbells are at his feet.

Ahmed Madrali was actually the second well-known wrestler with the nickname “The Terrible Turk” (The first being Yusuf İsmail about a decade prior.) In one of the biggest matches of the time, on January 30, 1904, Ahmed Madrali took on “The Russian Lion” George Hackenschmidt at Olympia Hall in London, England. Anticipation for this match was high… not only were these two great competitors, there was also more than a little bit of bad blood as Madrali was managed by Antonio Pierri, who Hackenschmidt had previously defeated in 1902.

A record crowd of 20,000 people were in attendance (which also caused the largest traffic jam ever recorded up to that time.) Unfortunately the match did not end decisively… less than a minute after opening bell Madrali dislocated his elbow after being “thrown” by Hackenschmidt and could not continue. Though not ideal, this victory put Hackenschmidt’s name on the map in the wrestling world and increased his fame considerably.

Also, fortunately, Madrali’s injury was not serious and he was back wrestling again three months later. In 1905, Madrali made up for this defeat by winning the wrestling championship of southern France defeating “The German Oak” Ernest Siegfried. As evident in this rare picture taken from around that time, “The Terrible Turk” was also clearly a big fan of kettlebell training.

Unknown Strongman #2

Posted on Thursday, March 15th, 2012 by John Wood

Unknown Strongman #2

Here’s another good example of an unknown strongman, whose name and feats are unfortunately lost to the sands of time. This fellow is obviously a big fan of barrel lifting and blockweights or kettlebells. Notice that while his arms are not particularly large his forearm development is exceptional — no doubt the result of lifting, heavy, awkward objects.

UPDATE: Unknown no more! He is Signor Dondretti, Iron Jaw Athlete and contortionist – he performed with the King & Franklin’s New Colossal Shows in the late 1800s and lifted a 1000 lb. horse with his teeth!

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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 Iron Master Dumbbell

Posted on Sunday, February 12th, 2012 by John Wood
From 1989 to 2000, Osmo Kiiha published “THE IRON MASTER” one of the most informative periodicals ever produced on the history of strength training. What made this publication stand out from anything before or since was the focus on training — every issue focused on one or more of the all-time greats but it wasn’t just talk, there was always a number of workouts included so that readers could learn exactly how the champs trained.

At one point, Osmo decided to create a further link to the past by coming out with his own classic equipment. He created a series of globe barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells which were reminiscent of the kind of equipment that the MILO Barbell Company had produced a century before. The “Iron Master” Dumbbell is shown above.

Like the MILO models, these had hollow globes which could be filled either with shot or loaded with smaller plates through the handle. They were cast in either aluminum or steel and were machined, one at a time, by hand ~ true works of art.

Sig Klein

Posted on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 by John Wood

Sig Klein with some classic barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells.

Sig Klein inherited much of his great equipment when he married Professor Attila’s daughter and took over his gym in New York. Of course, Sig had pretty good taste in equipment and often had custom-made barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells fashioned to train with.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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.

Edward W. Goodman

Posted on Monday, November 21st, 2011 by John Wood

Edward W. Goodman climbs a tree with a 75 lb. kettlebell on each elbow

Edward W. Goodman was a Los Angeles attorney who also liked to lift a few weights… so much so that he became the Amateur Champion of Southern California. Over the course of an afternoon he broke seven of the British amateur lifting records. As shown here, he could also climb a tree with a 75-pound kettlebell hanging from each arm — not a bad feat. Goodman was featured prominently in the literature for Alan Calvert’s MILO Barbell Company since his all of his impressive development came solely from regular barbell training.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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.

German Weightlifting Club ~ 1919

Posted on Saturday, August 27th, 2011 by John Wood

A rare shot of a German weightlifting club and their classic equipment, taken around 1919. Also notice the particularly large and wide handles on their kettlebells. This style of handle served a specific purpose as the German strength athletes were particularly fond of juggling and throwing and catching their kettlebells.

Russian Kettlebell Exercises

Posted on Sunday, August 21st, 2011 by John Wood

Kettlebell Exercises

If you’re going to train with Russian Kettlebells, may as well go back to the source to see how to do it right. Pictures help, but you’ll get a little more out of this post if you can read Cyrillic. “Traditional” kettlebell exercises consist of the snatch (which is more like a “swing” since it travels in an arc) and the clean and jerk (mainly just the jerk) done for maximal high reps.