Here’s a look at the famous Canadian strongman Arthur Dandurand as he supports a 406 lb. Ford engine block on his shoulder. Dandurand was only 5’8″ and 180 pounds but possessed very unusual strength. He was documented as having first accomplished this feat on January 17th, 1930 and could do it any time he was asked. — and perhaps, even more impressivly, no other strongman was ever able to duplicate it! You can read more about Arthur Dandurand in Physical Training Simplified by Mark H. Berry.
Like much of Jowett’s writings, the material is surprisingly timeless, of course, this booklet is devoted specifically to feats of strength — the Bent Press, lifting a human being, finger lifting, steel bending, how to tear a deck of cards etc.
In what should also not be a surprise, Jowett describes the training for each feat in great detail. Copies of “Strongman Stunts Made Easy” are not easy to come by but FYI, this course is available in its entirety in The Iron League.
Von Boeckmann was certainly on to something as he won many championships in both wrestling and weightlifting. He could bent-press of 201 pounds, do a “hand and thigh” lift with 1652 pounds and has an immense “challenge” Indian club that no one could shoulder.
Joe stood 5’5″ and weighed just under 150 pounds but possessed the strength of someone twice his size. He easily performed all the traditional feats of strength such as back lifting, finger lifting, nail bending, phonebook and playing card tearing and, shown here, bending a spike in his teeth. He once lifted 635 pounds with one finger.
Rollino was also a boxer under the name “Kid Dundee” and, like many strongmen of the day, was a very good hand balancer. Joe was a lifelong vegetarian and lived to 105 years old. He passed away a few years ago, not from sickness or disease but from getting hit by a van while crossing the street to pick up his morning paper.
His first training course showcased a number of exercises that could be done with chest expanders and bodyweight exercises. Theses courses were very popular since they did not require a lot of equipment and could be done at home.