The great strongman Gregory Paradise, from Hudson New Hampshire, could perform a middle finger chin up with either arm. Paradise weighed around 120 lbs. and is also one of the few men in history to bent press double bodyweight (he could bent-press over 250 lbs. Paradise was chosen first (out of 25,000 entries) in a contest put on by Earle E. Liederman in 1925, winning himself $1000 and a chauffeur-driven week in New York. Paradise won another mail order contest in 1928, this one held by Professor Titus.
Before he swashbuckled his way through Hollywood as Zorro, Robin Hood, and The Thief of Baghdad, the silent film star Douglas Fairbanks Sr.worked as a gym instructor and worked up to be able to do a One-Arm Chin-Up. His ability to do this feat, and other feats of derring-do, were regularly featured in his a fore-mentioned classic film roles.
It is estimated that not more than one person in a hundred thousand can perform a chin-up with one hand. Here, Paul Holloway, one of the lesser-known members of the York Weightlifting team, shows the three stages of the feat. Notice he is chinning himself with only two fingers — he was actually able to chin himself using only one finger with ease, but had to use two for this series in order to hold himself still long enough to obtain the pictures.
In the October, 1937 Issue of Strength and Health Magazine, Holloway outlines his exact training in detail: a series of progressive chin-up exercises until he was able to reach his goal, a training approach that should really come as no surprise…