Professor Desbonnet

Posted on Thursday, September 19th, 2013 by John Wood

Professor Edmond Desbonnet is often called “The Father of Modern Weightlifting” — and for good reason, there are a lot of “firsts” associated with his name. A few good examples: he was the first to compile a records table of great performances, the first to introduce referees into a weightlifting competition and the first to codify the press, snatch and jerk into competitive lifts.

Desbonnet opened several schools of physical training (including in 1900, the Halterophile Club de France) and wrote a number of incredible books and courses dealing with strength training and early physical culture. All of his books are detailed and extremely rare. His two most famous titles are Les Rois de la Lutte (The Kings of Wrestling) and Les Rois de la Force (The Kings of Strength).

Apollon: King of Strength

Posted on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 by John Wood
Apollon!
Louis Uni, the French Strongman known professionally as “Apollon,” was certainly one of the greatest, if not the greatest strongman who ever lived. It was Apollon, along with Louis Cyr who were dubbed “Les Rois de la Force” (Kings of Strength) by Professor Desbonnet because their strength was so far above and beyond the ordinary.

Apollon, who was at his peak during the 1890s, stood 6″2′ and, in solid muscular condition, around 260 pounds.

While he was certainly thickly-muscled and strong all over, he excelled in grip an forearm feats, especially lifting thick handled weights, such as the Challenge Weight that bears his name. Also of note is the fact that even though this images was taken well over a hundred years ago with crude photographic equipment by today’s standards, Apollons tremendous “core” strength — built through years of heavy one-arm and two-arm overhead lifting — is evident.