Barrel Lifting Strength Feats

Posted on Tuesday, August 7th, 2018 by John Wood
It has been well written that many so-called “feats of strength” had their roots in manual labor. Back in the beer halls of Bavaria and old, Old, OLD Vienna I’m sure a couple of robust beirmeisters once sat around shooting the breeze when one bet another that he could lift the biggest barrel — and it’s all been down hill from there.

Many of the old timers were well-known for their barrel or keg lifting feats, including Louis Cyr (who was said to have been able to lift a 400 lb. barrel to his shoulders) and George F. Jowett who included a Barrel Lifting Course in his Molding a Mighty Grip training guide. I would imagine the “Cincinnati Strongman” Henry Holtgrewe lifted a few barrels and kegs in his time. He owned a tavern down on 6th street in downtown Cincinnati just after the turn of the century.

Several modern day strongmen have included barrel lifting in their training. Probably the two most well known are Steve Justa and Brooks Kubik who wrote extensively about barrel lifting in Dinosaur Training. Keep in mind that lifting a 200 pound FULL barrel is actually easier than lifting a 150 pound HALF-filled barrel.

The Strongest Man in The World: Louis Cyr

Posted on Sunday, April 8th, 2018 by John Wood
Louis Cyr passed on over a hundred years ago but his legacy is still as strong as ever. In fact, people are still writing books about him today. Case in point: The Strongest Man in The World: Louis Cyr, a children’s book written in 2007 by Nicolas Debon. This book won an award from the Boston book club and the artwork is superb as you’ll see if you get a chance to grab a copy.
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.

Cyr’s One Finger Lift

Posted on Tuesday, January 9th, 2018 by John Wood
At St. Louis Hall in Chicago, Illinois on May 7th, 1896, in front of 1000 spectators, Louis Cyr lifted a 535 lb. weight clear of the floor with one finger. This was just a warmup through, among the other feats performed that day: a “muscle out” with a 131-1/4 lb. dumbbell, held for five seconds at a perfect right angle to the body, then brought back to the shoulder with ease … a one arm press of 258-1/4 lb. dumbbell … shouldering with one hand, a 433 lb. barrel filled with sand and water … pressing a 162-1/2 lb dumbbell overhead 36 times in succession.
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 Brothers McCann

Posted on Thursday, November 2nd, 2017 by John Wood
The Brothers McCann, Henry (left) and Louis (right), of Birmingham, England, were known as Hercules and Samson when they became professional strongmen in the late 1800’s. In December of 1890, at The Royal Music Hall, they challenged Eugen Sandow to a match — and Won! …although they were defeated by Louis Cyr in a similar contest a few years later.

Dinosaur Training by Brooks Kubik

Posted on Thursday, September 21st, 2017 by John Wood
~ Lost Secrets of Strength and Development ~
A man who lifted weights for his entire life once took a good look at the world of strength training around him…
…and he didn’t like what he saw … so he did something incredible…

Here’s what happened next:

A gym used to be a serious place for serious people, interested in building serious strength, but in modern times its safe to say that gyms have become glorified juice bars — with no shortage of chrome, ferns, and pencil-neck pseudo experts who wave around plastic dumbbells while making sure their designer headbands matched their suede lifting belts.

This guy… Brooks Kubik. As he trains in his basement gym with a bunch of rusty old weights and oldschool techniques — no chrome or ferns to be found!

Yeah, you know exactly what I’m talking about! Weight training was slowly but surely being taken over by the druggers … the toners … the bros … the poseurs … the pretty boys … the pencil necks … the whiners … the pump artists …the arm-chair experts …and the mirror athletes. (no doubt you’ve seen them all, and this makes you just as sick.)

This man had enough – Enough! His name was Brooks Kubik, and what happened next started a revolution throughout the entire world of strength.

And so it Began

…So Brooks began to write. While Brooks had authored articles in several different publications over the years

(including Milo, Hard Gainer, Iron Master and Iron Man) the words that were now issuing forth on his type writer were somehow different than ever before.

He wrote about the training that had worked for him, how he trained in high school, how he trained in college, how he trained to win multiple National Championships in Bench Press Powerlifting meets, and how his favorite oldtime strongmen used to train…

Brooks had originally planned to type out a fifty or so page manuscript and possibly sell (though more likely give it away) to the few people out in the world he thought might be interested in it. Brooks reached fifty pages after only a few short days of writing, and there was still more material he wanted to cover — a lot more.

Fifty pages turned into a hundred, a hundred pages turned into two hundred. and it didn’t stop there. With the encouragement of several the top people in the strength world, the finished product was titled Dinosaur Training since it was covered training techniques that were almost (but not quite!) extinct.

Dinosaur Training covered the methods that the strongest men who had ever lived had utilized — sure, with traditional weights such as barbells and, but also highly unusual implements such as sandbags, kegs, rocks, anvils, sledge hammers and more. Brooks Kubik went ahead and published Dinosaur Training, releasing it on an unsuspecting world…

And Then Everything Changed
Arthur Saxon — also known as “The Iron Master” — put more weight overhead with one arm than anyone in history, nearly 400 lbs.!
John Davis, multiple-time Olympic weightlifting champion and world record holder, could have just as easily been a champion bodybuilder
Doug Hepburn, the great Canadian champion, was easily one of the strongest men of all time. His workouts are covered in details in ‘Dinosaur Training’.

It was as if the ghosts of Iron Game’s past were suddenly brought back to life… men like Arthur Saxon, John Davis, Reg Park George Hackenschmidt and Steve Stanko became household names again

All of a sudden people started attacked their training with a ferocity that hadn’t been seen for many years. Calloused hands started lifting odd objects again – sand bags, kegs, rocks, anvils, anchors. Training methods such as thick handled weights, heavy partial movements and power rack work all experienced a resurgence in popularity. Suddenly it became OK to lift heavy chunks of iron and steel once again.

Dont’s just train…
Revolution or Evolution?

Less than eighteen months after it appeared, the entire first printing of Dinosaur Training sold out completely … College and NFL strength coaches began reading it and incorporating Old School training techniques into their programs … Everyone started setting up personal gyms in their basements and garages, stocking them with plenty of “old fashioned” equipment that worked better than anything else available.

This wasn’t just a local thing either; orders started flooding in from all over the globe. The strength world had come full circle… once again, people were training like they did in years past — AND building strength like they did in years past.

When it came time for the second printing, Dinosaur Training became even bigger …literally – Brooks added two additional chapters of intense training material. Today, over twenty years after its initial release, Dinosaur Training still stands as one of the all-time great strength books. You would be hard pressed to find a weight training book which has helped more people get the fire back in their belly (or get it going in the first place) when it comes to serious training.

With the treasure trove of solid training information that it contains, it is no wonder that Dinosaur Training and the Dino-Attitude has reached such great heights of popularity. Now you can read and learn from one of the best training books ever published …the book that started a Revolution.

Take a look at all the valuable training information what you will learn within its pages:

The tremendous value of basic exercises …the exercises that MUST be in your program …and which exercises to avoid at all costs (since they are nothing but a waste of your time)

The biggest reason why most of what you read about modern training is unproductive, and THREE simple things you can do turn the ship around if that’s the direction you were headed

What is the Dinosaur challenge? …are you up to it?

7 ways to “Be A Dinosaur” and how to crank the intensity of your workout up a notch or three

The ONE characteristic that all Dinosaurs have in common – find out what it is

3 steps that will make your training more productive – instantly

The #1 reason why most people give up and how you can avoid that like the plague

Think you know the “Best” program?… you’ll be surprised at Brooks’ answer to this one

Brooks Kubik’s favorite strength writers and training tips from the last 100+ years

What an outline of productive training looks like and how to put together your workouts so it’s guaranteed to work

How to train with a water filled barrel or keg, and how that training style nearly put Brooks down for the count

Why hard work is necessary, and how to make sure you are getting the most out of your workout

The 5 reasons people fail according to Dr. Ken Leistner… – probably the most valuable lesson strength training can teach you

What hard work is and is not

2 types of abbreviated training styles that you can use for big gains

The real meaning behind hard work vs. “bunny” training

What the name of the game is… and it’s not what you think

2 approaches to poundage progression, and how to make sure the gains keep coming for a long time

Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced workout routines, laid out step-by-step

Want to know the “secret” of advanced gains? – You’ll be surprised at how simple it really is

How to make progress with multiple sets of low reps

What the 5 x 5 system is, and how Reg Park, Champion strength athlete and bodybuilder, used it to build super strength fifty years ago

How to use “singles” in the most effective manner in your training

Why thick-bars “work” and how to implement them into your workout

How you can make fear work for you instead of against you

10 grip exercises and a dynamite beginners program for future grip masters

6 advanced grip exercises for monster crushing power

How to build real strength with logs, barrels and heavy bags

The many benefits of proper power-rack training

5 hard core power-rack routines

8 fads, fallacies and pitfalls of modern training and how to avoid them all

Much more!!

As you can see, Dinosaur Training covers a lot of ground. Of particular note are three big chapters on grip training which helps anyone lay a solid foundation.

A Crash Course in How to gain Super Strength with
One of the World’s Greatest Teachers

Do you remember the first time you tried to learn something for the first time? Starting out, nothing made sense and you felt like giving up. That’s how it is for a lot of people who want to start lifting weights – they get confused and don’t know what to do – and so they do the only thing they could do, they give up.

Now imagine how confident you felt when someone took the time to explain some things to you. What used to be frustrating, now makes perfect sense and now that you know exactly what to do, it’s off to the races.

That’s exactly how it is when you have Brooks as your teacher. As you turn the pages of Dinosaur Training, all of a sudden all the confusing things about strength training will make sense – you’ll know how many sets to do, you’ll know which exercises to do, you’ll know how much weight to use… and you will begin to build the strength you have always dreamed about.

Get your copy of Dinosaur Training and join the Revolution!

Order now!Dinosaur Training by Brooks Kubik
_________ $19.99 plus s/h

Young Louis Cyr

Posted on Tuesday, April 18th, 2017 by John Wood

A look at a young Louis Cyr taking a huge Globe Dumbbell for a ride. Cyr was 18 years of age at the time. This rare engraving is from a Quebec newspaper from the late 1800s. Cyr had just defeated David Michaud, the Canadian champion. It was with this very dumbbell that Cyr set many of his strongman records.
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.

John Y. Smith

Posted on Sunday, November 27th, 2016 by John Wood
John Y. Smith was a great strongman in the New England area in the early 1900’s. Among his many impressive feats were a right-hand bent-press of 275-1/2 pounds (which broke Louis Cyr’s mark) and a left-hand bent-press of 248 pounds (Which stood as an American record for many years.) It was said that Smith’s hands resembled “Iron Claws” due to his extensive training with Thick Bars. It was only when this vintage photo was colorized when Smith’s rather amazing “Iron Claw” forearm development become obvious.
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.

Louis Cyr’s Backlift

Posted on Saturday, February 20th, 2016 by John Wood

A rare woodcut of the great Louis Cyr’s famous backlift. Cyr astonished the world with a lift of 4337 pounds!
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.

John Grimek vs. The Cyr Dumbbell

Posted on Monday, June 15th, 2015 by John Wood

…Also, the Cyr dumbell we had was always a bone of contention. Men from all parts of the country came to see if they might get it overhead. It weighed “only” 202 pounds empty but it could be loaded with lead shot to over 270. We never loaded it over 269½ pounds, and even then it defied most men who tried it.

One time, Milo Steinborn and four or five other wrestlers stopped by on their way to Baltimore. Milo had Primo Carnera with him – truly an impressive individual. When Carnera shook hands you could feel your whole hand being swallowed by something that felt like an octopus. Because all the men were wrestling that evening none of them cared to train that afternoon, but most of the lifters kept on training. In the center of the gym was the awkward Cyr dumbbell that seemed to be in the way of everyone. Without thinking I picked it up off the floor and tossed it aside so it wouldn’t be in the way. I remembered the huge hands Carnera had when he shook my hand, and knew if anyone could handle this weight it was him. I called out to him to try it. He smiled as if to say, “that’s easy,” and no one would doubt him. he came over, very casually gripped the stubby handle and made a half-hearted attempt to lift it. A look of surprise came over his face as the weight slipped from his grip. I offered him some chalk to absorb the moisture of his hand. With some disdain, instead, he grabbed the handle and though he lifted it a little you could see that the weight was a great surprise to him.

I tried to explain that there was a slight technique to handle this weight. He just kept looking at me and the awkward hunk of iron mass that was defying him. I chalked up, especially the heel of my hand, gripped the weight and tossed it a few feet to one side. Carnera only growled. However, I feel sure that with his banana-like fingers he could have done things with that Cyr dumbbell that no one else could do. Others felt much the same way about this big man.

I must point out that many men who tried to lift the small clumsy dumbbell failed. This awkward hunk of iron required lots of practice before one learned the little details needed to be successful at lifting it. No one played around with this weight more than I did; and eventually I was the only one who lifted it off the floor to an overhead position using one and only when it weighed 254 pounds. Stanko was the first man who picked it up off the floor in one sweeping movement. Unfortunately, I do not remember how much it was loaded to at the time. The weight of that dumbbell was always being changed. It always looked formidable and defying. Those who tried it remember that only too well…

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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.

Louis Cyr and Horace Barre ~ John Robinson’s $25,000 Challenge Feature

Posted on Friday, October 31st, 2014 by John Wood
During the 1898 Circus Season, Canadian Strongman Louis Cyr and his assistant/protege’ Horace Barre performed their unique feats of strength all around the country in the John Robinson Circus. As Cyr and Barre criss-crossed the map, John Robinson put up $25,000 for any person who could duplicate any ONE of their feats. Their performance included the back lift, Cyr’s Barrel Lifting Feat, supporting feats, and lifting other heavy dumbbells or blockweights of various sizes and shapes. Adjusting for inflation, that would be nearly $600,000 today, and, ironically enough, their money would still be safe…
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.