Novak’s World Record Press

Posted on Friday, May 9th, 2014 by John Wood

A look at the great soviet weightlifter Grigori Novak’s World Record standing press of 315 pounds (at 5’3″ and a bodyweight of only 181 pounds!) This would have been in 1949 in a meet in Moscow. Novak’s career was marred by an elbow injury which necessitated an operation – you can tell his left arm is a bit “off” here.

Art Levan

Posted on Friday, May 9th, 2014 by John Wood

Art Levan

Besides being a a great Olympic lifter (10x National Champion in the 126 lb. class) Art Levan, of Reading, Pennsylvania, was also a master of several unusual feats of strength as well. Here’s Art hanging by his teeth with a 70-pound kettlebell in each hand.
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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 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.

Alexeev’s Unusual Training

Posted on Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 by John Wood
The Russian Champion Vasily Alexeev is one of the greatest weightlifters who ever lived. One of Alexeev’s most unusual training techniques was to practice his cleans in waist-deep water. This famous shot was taken of Alexeev as he trained in the Don River in Mother Russia. Unconventional… but certainly effective: Alexeev set the first of his 80 world records in 1970 and was undefeated for the remainder of his career which also included two Olympic Gold medal winning performances (1972, Munich and 1976, Montreal).

Anton Gietl

Posted on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 by John Wood

Anton Gietl was a German weightlifter who won the Gold in the 1937 German championships and, later that year, the Bronze medal at the World Weightlifting Championship in the light heavyweight class. Gietl placed in the top five of the German weightlifting championships eight times in 1929 through 1949 ~ a pretty impressive feat in itself. Gietl’s specialty was the one-arm snatch, setting a world mark with 90 kg in 1933 (notably with his left arm.)

Stan Stanczyk

Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2013 by John Wood

Stan Stanczyk

The great Olympic weightlifter Stan Stanczyk was the first man to win three successive World titles in three different weight classes. Lifting for the York Barbell Club, he won five in all. He also won six Senior National titles, a Gold Medal at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, England, a Gold at the 1951 Pan-American Games and a Silver Medal at the 1952 Helsinki Games.

Stanczyk set eight word records during his lifting career. He was also a fairly good bodybuilder, placing very respectably in the few contests he entered.

Karl Hipfinger

Posted on Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 by John Wood

Karl Hipfinger

Karl Hipfinger, the Austrian weightlifter and bronze medalist in the Middleweight class at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games, is shown here completing what is probably a 1-arm snatch with around 145 pounds.  Not bad considering that is almost bodyweight.

John Grimek

Posted on Saturday, March 17th, 2012 by John Wood

John C. Grimek, from Perth Amboy, New Jersey, has the unique distinction of being one of “the greatest” in pretty much every aspect of strength training that you can think of…

As you can probably tell, Grimek was a champion bodybuilder and won every contest he ever entered. This included the AAU Mr. America contest twice (in 1940 and 1941 – the only man to do so) and Mr. Universe in 1948. Grimek was a fixture on the cover of Strength and Health magazine and either the subject of, or the author of dozens of training articles.

…but he also wasn’t just all show, Grimek was as strong as he looked. Grimek represented the United States at 1936 Olympics in Berlin (where he accomplished the highest American total) and put up impressive numbers in many different lifts.

To give you a few good examples, Grimek could easily rip phone books, lift 11-3/4 pounds on the “Weaver Stick” and actually worked up to supporting a thousand pounds in the overhead press position.

Ernest Cadine

Posted on Thursday, January 19th, 2012 by John Wood

The French weightlifter Ernest Cadine with a classic globe barbell

Ernest Cadine was a French Weightlifter who won the Light-Heavyweight Gold medal at the 1920 Olympic Games held in Antwerp, Belgium. His winning total was 295 kg (649 lbs.) though the contested events were very different then: the one-arm snatch, the one-arm clean and jerk and the two arm clean and jerk. His performance in these lifts was 70 kg, 90 kg and 135 kg respectively. He also set six World Records over his competitive career.

In 1925, Cadine performed a one-arm swing with 90 kilos which was actually greater than his own bodyweight. Cadine could also right hand snatch 211 pounds and one-hand deadlifted the famous Apollon Wheels.

Also of note is the sand-pit floor — you’ll see this feature a lot in old school physical culture gyms as it made it so globe barbells and dumbbells were not damaged if they were ever dropped.

Josef Steinbach

Posted on Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 by John Wood

Josef Steinbach

Josef Steinbach of Vienna, Austria, was one of the greatest weightlifters and strongmen of the early 20th century.  Some of his best marks include: a two-hand Continental and Jerk of 387 pounds, a two-hands Snatch of 264-3/4 pounds and a two-hand Continental and press of 335 pounds (besting Louis Cyr’s mark by 34 pounds.)
He won the world amateur weightlifting title from 1904 through 1906 and went on to win the Gold medal in the “One Arm” event and a Silver medal in the “Two Arm” event at the 1906 Olympics.

Gennady Ivanchenko

Posted on Saturday, August 20th, 2011 by John Wood
Gennady Ivanchenko, the great Russian weightlifter, was the first light-heavyweight lifter ever to surpass the 500 kg total. This famous shot, taken by Tommy Kono, shows Ivanchenko doing snatch pulls at a training session prior to the 1971 Sr. European Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria (where Ivanchenko, unsurprisingly, took gold).  You can probably see why Ivanchenko’s nickname was “The Robot.”