De Arte Gymnastica by Hieronimus Mercurialis

Posted on Saturday, February 17th, 2018 by John Wood
It doesn’t get any more “Old School” than De Arte Gymnastica by Hieronimus Mercurialis. Published in 1569, this is the oldest book ever written on physical training. It describes exercises as practiced by the classical Greeks and Romans: the value of walking, throwing the discus, climbing ropes, training with heavy balls (i.e. Medicine Balls) and, as seen in the wood cut above, dumbbells and heavy stone tablets called “plummets” — history’s first odd object lifting!
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.

William Pagel

Posted on Tuesday, December 26th, 2017 by John Wood
The German Strongman William Pagel used to perform an amazing feat of strength: carrying a 1050-pound horse to the top of two 18-foot ladders by the use of a harness. Even more amazing was that he did this for 10 shows a day. Notably, Pagel could clean 225 pounds with one arm, jerk it to arm’s length and while holding it aloft, lay down flat on the ground and then return to a standing position, barbell still overhead. Pagel was also a great wild animal trainer.
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.

Sandbag Lifting

Posted on Friday, December 8th, 2017 by John Wood
The Oldtime strength athletes figured out a long time ago that sometimes lifting unbalanced, awkward objects build a very different type of strength than traditional barbells and dumbbells. This Italian wrestler was lifting sandbags back in 1906 and doesn’t look like a fellow that you would want to mess with.
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.

Odd Object Lifting in Ancient Japan

Posted on Friday, November 10th, 2017 by John Wood
Barrel lifting goes back a little farther than Dnosaur Training… The Japanese painter Hokusai is best-known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji and his most recognized print The Great Wave of Kanagawa. Among his many drawings was this one, “Sakadaru o sashiageru otoko” showing a man lifting a sake barrel overead with one arm. This drawing was completed sometime around the year 1810 but the one-arm press is certainly still a great exercise.
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.

Mac Batchelor

Posted on Friday, November 10th, 2017 by John Wood
Mac Bachelor was well-known for his feats of grip strength but he was a fine all-around strength athlete. Here’s ‘Big mac’ getting in an impromptu “odd object” workout while working at his tavern in California. Mac’s thick bone structure is evident, it should come as no surprise why Mac was never defeated at armwrestling.
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.

Barrel Lifting

Posted on Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 by John Wood
Lifting Barrels and Kegs has long been a Oldtime strongman Tradition since it builds a unique kind of strength — especially is the barrel is only partially filled… If water (or beer) is sloshing around inside the barrel, it becomes a “live” weight, and a tremendous test of strength — and it takes a lot less weight than you think. A partially-filled barrel weighing as little as fifty pounds can give you a tremendous workout.

Suggested barrel lifting exercises include:

* Curls
* Overhead Pressing (shown)
* Shouldering
* Bear Hugs
* Carrying for Distance
* Throwing (steel keg only!)

Joe Ragusa BackLifts an Elephant

Posted on Thursday, October 19th, 2017 by John Wood
Strongman Joe Ragusa shows one way to lift an elephant: via back lift. Ragusa regularly performed this feat in nightclubs and television shows. You can see another elephant being lifted here.
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.

Henri Toch – “The Cannon Man”

Posted on Sunday, October 8th, 2017 by John Wood
Henri Toch was a Belgian strongman in the late 1800’s who was billed as “L’Homme Canon” or “The Cannon Man.” It was with pretty good reason, his unique performance included the incredible strength feat of holding 365 Kilogram Cannon on his shoulders while it fired. Toch met an unfortunate end in 1890 when when a cannon on his shoulder was accidentally mis-loaded with powder and blew up.

Dr. Ken’s Steel Suitcases

Posted on Thursday, March 24th, 2016 by John Wood

The farmers walk is a great exercise and has always been one of my favorites — just grab a weight in each hand and start walking. How far you go is up to you, but one thing is always for sure: you can go a lot farther than you think you can since your mind will give out before your body does. Needless to say, this is a great exercise for building hand strength AND mental toughness.

As far as the weights you can use, a pair of dumbbells is a good choice, as are sandbags, or even some specially made handles which some folks like to use.

If you got a chance to check out some of Brooks Kubik’s old Dinosaur Training videos, you saw Brooks performing the Farmers walk with some highly unusual implements: a pair of 180-pound iron suitcases made by Dr. Ken. Imagine two pieces of metal each shaped like an “I” with handles welded on top and that’s what we are dealing with.

Brooks, the madman that he is, decided to take these little monsters for a walk around the city block in his Bags, Barrels, and Beyond video and if you’ve seen it, you know it is in-tense.

Apollon vs. The Piano

Posted on Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 by John Wood

Talk about “Odd Object Lifting!” The great Apollon’s grand finale at the Reichshallen Theater in Berlin during the 1897 season was to walk across the stage carrying a piano (AND it’s player!) on his mighty shoulder.
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.