Theodore Lang

Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 by John Wood
Theodore Lang
Here we have Mr. Theodore Lang of Macassar, Dutch Indies, showing his stuff circa 1930. It was said that two buddies and another 160 pounds of fully-loaded barbell totaled around 400 pounds which he held in a top-of-the-head bridge — not bad!

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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 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.

Harry Ekizian

Posted on Sunday, May 19th, 2019 by John Wood
Harry Ekizian
As a boy, Harry Ekizian escaped the Armenian Genocide. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a short time later he was sold as a slave to Arabs. After four years of hard labor, he escaped and eventually made his way to the United States and joined the Navy where he worked as a fireman. There, he learned wrestling and won the Fleet Championship in the middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight divisions and after an international match in Copenhagen, Ekizian was awarded the title of World Champion Navy Wrestler. Here, Harry exhibits his immense strength on the deck of the airplane carrier Lexington as he resists twelve sailors pulling a thick rope around his neck. Harry had an unusual diet: he ate eight pounds of onions a day!

Ekizian eventually retired from the Navy in 1932, shaved his head, and became the well known “heel” wrestler “Ali Baba.” He wrestled all the greats of the day, including Milo Steinborn on one occasion. On April 24, 1936, Ekizian defeated World Heavyweight Champion Dick Shikat in front of over 8,000 spectators in Detroit, Michigan and was formally declared the World Heavyweight Champion a month later when he defeated Shikat a second time at Madison Square Garden.

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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 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.

Henry Cooper’s Bridge

Posted on Thursday, March 28th, 2019 by John Wood
Henry Cooper's Bridge
British Heavyweight Boxer Bert Copper is shown here doing neck bridges during a workout in December of 1960. Less than a week later, Cooper defeated Alex Miteff on points after 10 rounds at Wembley Arena. You’ll find other boxers similarly training their necks here and here.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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.

Jean Baillargeon’s Bridge

Posted on Thursday, February 28th, 2019 by John Wood
Jean Baillargeon's Bridge
Jean Baillargeon was one of famed Brothers Baillargeon, (and perhaps the strongest of them all, which is really saying something.) Looks to be about 230 pounds on the bar. It is unclear whether he pulled the weight over, bounced it off his belly or chest, or if the barbell was handed to him, but either way, simply holding this amount of weight in this position (all of it supported by the neck musculature) is VERY impressive. Jean was also a professional wrestler so the ability to bridge with a substantial amount of weight I’m sure came in very handy.
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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 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.

Neck Training With Sonny Liston

Posted on Thursday, November 29th, 2018 by John Wood
The great boxer Sonny Liston used to strengthen his neck by doing a headstand on a table and working his body back and forth then left and right, in order to hit all four “sides” of the neck. I can say from experience that this method is simple but very effective.

This picture was taken in May of 1963 while Liston was in training to face Floyd Patterson for the second time. Liston knocked out Patterson in the first round just like he did the first time they fought. With this victory Liston retained the WBA, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles and won the vacant inaugural WBC heavyweight title.

Neck Stands

Posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2018 by John Wood
The oldtime boxers seem to “get” why neck strength is important a lot more-so than they do today. Here, Mexican boxer, Ignacio “The Pineapple Bomb” Pina does a highly underrated exercise for building neck strength: a simple head stand. This picture was taken in 1960 at Joe Bloom’s gym in London in preparation for his match with Freddie Gilroy. (The Pineapple Bomb went on to win on points after 10 rounds in what was considered a major upset.)

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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 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.

Farmer Burns: The Hangman’s Drop

Posted on Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 by John Wood
Farmer Burns built his neck strength to such an advanced level that he could literally “hang” himself with a noose, including the drop, — and live (all the while whilst whistling Yankee Doodle!) That’s pretty intense as this rare photograph shows (DO NOT try this at home.) His theory was simple — one of the most important physical training goals of any combat athlete is to build the neck to the point that no one can choke you out. The “Old Farmer” built up his neck strength with his favorite exercise: The Wrestler’s Bridge.
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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 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 Jawed Man

Posted on Monday, June 18th, 2018 by John Wood
Another look at Signor Lawanda: The Iron jawed Man. The top picture shows Lawanda at 20 years old and his neck and jaw development is quite dramatic.
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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 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 Great Peters — The Man With The Iron Neck!

Posted on Thursday, February 1st, 2018 by John Wood
Aloys Peters was a German acrobat who developed an unusual skill — he could jump off a platform 75 feet in the air with a hangman’s noose around his neck and yet not hang himself. He had figured out the knack where he could maneuver his body mid-air and “tame the arc” taking the jolt out of gravity’s cruel grasp. Peters performed this feat initially for the famous Strassburger Circus in Berlin and then the Sells-Floto Circus on US shores in the early 1930’s.

The Wheel of Death!

Posted on Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 by John Wood
Indian Strongman Najeeb Goswami allows a cart loaded with a few hundred pounds of passengers to pass over his neck – a feat that he terms “The Wheel of Death!” Mr. Goswami was not the only one who accomplished this feat.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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.