Charles A. Sampson at Prince Albert Hall

Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 by John Wood
Step right up… a rare show poster from Charles A. Sampson’s performance at Royal Albert Hall, London England, on November 22nd and 23rd, 1899. If you had been in attendance, you would have seen Sampson perform his signature feats: harness lifting, coin bending, lifting heavy thick-handled globe barbells, and breaking chains wrapped around his bicep.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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 Thomas Inch Dumbbell – Lifted At Last!

Posted on Friday, November 10th, 2017 by John Wood
History is made! John Gallacher of Glasgow became the first man in modern history to decidedly lift the Thomas Inch Dumbbell at the 1957 NABBA Mr. Universe Contest held in London, England.

Mr. Gallacher fully deadlifted the Inch Dumbbell THREE times that night and was awarded the Special Plaque by Thomas Inch himself. As you should well know, the famous Thomas Inch Dumbbell weighs 172 pounds and has a 2-3/8th inch diameter thick handle making it a tremendous grip challenge for anyone who attempts to lift it. This challenge weight defied thousands of athletes until Mr. Gallacher came along. As luck would have it, Mr. Gallacher called my office a few years back and I got a chance to speak with him at length about the special training which allowed him to lift The Inch Dumbbell.

George Challard, The Man With The Iron Neck

Posted on Monday, October 20th, 2014 by John Wood

We have featured many unusual feats of neck strength in our blog and here is another very impressive one to add to the mix: George Challard was a laborer from the Woolwich borough of London who possessed an unusual level of neck strength, as you can see shown here, letting a friend bend a stout piece of iron ’round his throat. Don’t try this one at home, folks.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

Professor James Harrison and his War Clubs

Posted on Friday, November 29th, 2013 by John Wood

Professor James Harrison

“… We learn that Mr. Harrison first began to use the clubs three years ago, at which time his muscular development was not regarded as being very great, his measurements being: round the chest 37-1/2 inches, round the upper arm 13-7-8ths inches, and round the forearm 13-1/4 inches.

The clubs with which Mr. Harrison commenced weighed about seven pounds each; he has advanced progressively until he can now wield with perfect ease two clubs. each weighing 37 pounds, and his heaviest weighing 47 pounds.
The effects of this exercise on the wielder’s measurements are as follows: round the chest 42-1/2 inches, the upper arm 15 inches, and the forearm 14 inches.

At the same time, his shoulders have increased immensely, and the muscles of his mid-section which were weak when he first used the clubs, are now well-developed and powerful. In short, all the muscles of the trunk have been improved by this exercise.”

Professor James Harrison
As Featured in The Illustrated London News
August 14th, 1852

Professor Harrison of London was a well-known gymnastics and physical culture teacher who was honored by Queen Victoria for his physical prowess. It was watching Professor Harrison expertly swing his heavy “war clubs” which inspired Sim Kehoe to bring club swinging back to America and promote it on a wide scale.

Tom Burrows Makes The Record

Posted on Saturday, June 16th, 2012 by John Wood

Tom Burrows Makes The Record

On April 18th, 1913, the Australian All-Around Athlete and Club Swinging champion Tom Burrows accomplished an incredible feat: he swung a pair of Indian Clubs for 100 hours straight without a rest. He averaged 80 repetitions a minute through the entire affair, a mind-boggling feat of muscular endurance and toughness. That’s a record you won’t see challenged any time soon.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

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.