Al Berger was a great strength athlete and classic bodybuilder during the 1940’s. Berger was a very good bodybuilder but was most well-known for his ability to perform incredible feats of strength while “pinch gripping” rafters in his basement. He could do 12 pinch-grip chins on rafters 30-inches apart, 6 with an additional 10-pounds and 1 with an incredible 43 additional pounds. In addition to his pinch-gripping feats, Berger could perform a reverse curl with 165 pounds.
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.
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.
One of the all-time best strongman feats is to drive a nail through a thick board with your bare hand. There are two different techniques for doing so, the “slap” technique and the “punch” technique shown here demonstrated by The Amazing Samson, Alexander Zass. You’ll probably be better at one more than the other but it pays to practice both of them.