Charles Phelan and His GIANT Kettlebell

Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 by John Wood
How about that kettlebell? Charles Phelan billed himself not as the World’s strongest man but the World’s most entertaining strongman as he told jokes between his strength feats while he performed at Coney Island. He weighed only 140 pounds but held five world records: a one-finger lift of 506 pounds, 700 pounds with two fingers, a hand and thigh lift of 1125 pounds, a hip lift of 1600 pounds and a backlift of 2500 pounds. Phelan was taught how to be a strongman by Warren Lincoln Travis and was a good friend of Vic Boff.

Apollon at 19

Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 by John Wood
The famous French strongman Louis “Apollon” Uni at 19 years of age. As the story goes he ran off and joined the circus at 14 and started performing as a strongman a year later. Even at this young age, Apollon’s potential for great strength is evident by his thick bone structure. Strength ran in the family, it as was said that he was descended from Pompelius Unicus, an undefeated Roman Gladiator.
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.

Lorenz Geer – King of The Snatch

Posted on Tuesday, August 14th, 2018 by John Wood
Lorenz Geer, the popular oldtime strongman from Munich, Germany, was known as “King of The Snatch” in the later part of the 19th century. He achieved a right-hand snatch of 165 pounds and 9 reps with 142 pounds. Geer was particularly fond of working with thick-handled equipment.

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 Scottish Hercules William Bankier

Posted on Monday, June 18th, 2018 by John Wood
William Bankier, also billed as “Apollo, The Scottish Hercules” Was born the eldest son of a weaver and after becoming fascinated by the idea of becoming a circus performer, ran away and did just that at twelve years old. At first, Bankier did hard labor and whatever else the circus life required to earn his keep. Bankier was particularly enamored by the strongman and kept a close eye on his act. One day, when the strongman had a little too much to drink, Bankier stepped in and gave a satisfactory performance. He was fifteen years of age at the time.

The bosses were impressed and his reputation spread. Over the next few years, Bankier performed with several different circuses. Among other feats, for his act, Bankier would harness lift an elephant and perform a backward somersault over a chair while carrying a 56 lb weight in each hand. Bankier had a rather interesting method for building bicep strength and size which is covered 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.

Eugene Caouette

Posted on Friday, April 20th, 2018 by John Wood
Eugene Caouette is another name in the great Quebec Strongman Tradition. The giant French Canadian stood well over six feet and tipped the scales at 460 pounds! His best lifts were a Crucifix with a pair of 76-pound dumbbells, a Kennedy Lift with 1354 pounds, one-arm snatch 173-3/4 pounds (with either hand) and a one-arm clean and jerk of 213 pounds.

Felice Napoli

Posted on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018 by John Wood
One of the earliest of the Oldtime Strongmen, Felice Napoli of Italy was performing incredible feats of strength in Wallshlager’s Circus in the 1850’s. Napoli dressed as the mythical Hercules as he performed and certainly lived up to it: Napoli’s act consisted of his having a cannon shot off while held on his shoulders, bending iron bars, lifting heavy weights while hanging upside down from a trapeze, The Tomb of Hercules, and performing feats while hanging on a vertically suspended rope, a type of feat known as “The Spanish Web’. Plus, he had an excellent goatee.

Viktor Solovyev

Posted on Monday, January 1st, 2018 by John Wood
Viktor Solovyev, the great Ukranian strongman and wrestler, is shown here looking quite impressive in this rare picture take around 1906. As far as his lifting feats, he was able to ‘slow curl’ 165 pounds, perform a Crucifix Lift with 60 pounds in each hand and could jerk 293 pounds. As a wrestler, he defeated Franz ‘Cyclops’ Bienkowski, the French Giant Louis ‘Apollon’ Uni, George Lurich, Pyotr Krylov and many others on the way to winning several world championships.

Pyotr Krylov

Posted on Monday, January 1st, 2018 by John Wood
Billed as “The King of Kettlebells,” The great Russian Strongman Pyotr Krylov was well-known for exceptional his shoulder development and the large tattoo of the double-headed eagle gracing his chest. In the early 20th century Krylov performed a Crucifix Lift with a 90-pound kettlebell in each hand — a record that has never been equaled or beaten. One of Krylov’s favorite feats as a strongman was to break chains across his chest or with his arms. Like most other strongmen of the day, Krylov was a great wrestler (and had an excellent mustache.).

Alan P. Mead: Muscle Control Miracle

Posted on Monday, December 4th, 2017 by John Wood
Alan P. Mead lost a leg during the War and in order re-build his strength, he sought out several forms of physical training. He eventually found that he had a natural talent for Muscle Control and constant practice in this lost art made him into one of the most physically impressive men in strength history. In fact, he was often called the “Human Anatomy Chart.” Here’s a look at some of the things he had to say about the value of muscle control:

“Complete control of movement of the human body is performed entirely by contraction and relaxation of the voluntary muscles. It must be remembered that a muscle can act in one direction only and that the energy that it is capable of exerting can be converted into movement only by pulling, a muscle cannot push. The reverse action is performed by that muscle’s opponent muscle, usually situated on the opposite side of the limb or part of the body in which the movement is produced.”
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.

Harry Luft: The Brooklyn Samson

Posted on Friday, November 10th, 2017 by John Wood
Shown here is Harry Luft, age 17, performing his own specialty of tearing not one but TWO 2000 page telephone directories in half. Harry, who weighs but 142 pounds, stand 5 feet 4 and does other strongman feats such as bending iron bars in his teeth, is one of the “Samson Twins” of Brooklyn, New York. The other twin is his 15 year old brother Sol who also bends iron bars in his teeth and who emulates his older brother’s book tearing stunt by destroying Red Books, which are about 1/3rd as thick as the directories. Harry elected to tear these phone books lengthwise instead of the more common method of breaking the spine ~ impressive! Harry was inspired to become a strongman by Siegmund Breitbart. Luft was also a vegetarian.