By the way, the athlete shown here is Carl Schuhmann who won four Olympic Gold Medals in gymnastics and wrestling in Athens. Schuhmann’s first opponent in wrestling was actually Launceston Elliot and beat him handily. Schuhmann also competed in the weightlifting event, finishing fourth.
National Geographic Magazine
They soon became a standard piece of gymnastic training equipment in physical culture gymnasiums, YMCAs and especially in the military. The Swedish Bars are used to build flexibility as well as to perform a variety of exercises, most notably abdominal work by hanging from them and performing leg lifts, etc..
Sensing potential threats invading from the Alpine border, back in the late 1800’s, the French Military formed a special brigade devoted specifically to mountain warfare Their cannon were often transported by mules, yet there were many places where the mules were not able to travel so these soldiers did what they had to do in order to be prepared, and that often meant putting their cannons on their backs and carrying them themselves.
As these kinds of things often do, it became a sense of pride to see who could lift the heaviest cannon. One of the highest compliments that could be said for a member of these battalions was that “he can do the work of two (or three) mules.” The cannon that the gentleman above is shown carrying was listed as weighing 280 kg — that’s over 600 pounds!