Pierre Bonnes, 1903

Posted on Monday, May 8th, 2017 by John Wood

Pierre Bonnes was a great French strongman and weightlifter who was at his best in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In 1898, he set the “official” world record in the One Arm Snatch with a lift of 85.5 kilos. He bested this lift on several other occasions albeit under unofficial conditions. Here’s how Bonnes looked after winning the “World Strength Championship” in 1903. (Bonnes won again in 1905.)
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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.

Ray Van Cleef

Posted on Thursday, October 13th, 2016 by John Wood

Many Iron Game fans will recall the name Ray Van Cleef from the pages of Strength and Health magazine. He was an Associate Editor and his column “Strong Men The World Over” appeared for many years. Before all that though, Van Cleef was a great strongman in his own right. Here’s a rare shot that most people haven’t seen before of Van Cleef performing a heavy one-arm snatch of a wagon wheel axle.

The article where this came from was authored by Van Cleef and the inclusion of this picture was to illustrate how one might be able to still train, or otherwise perform novel feats, without having a barbell on hand — a notion that we are definitely on board with.

It’s probably also worth a mention that Ray was a vegetarian.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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.

Charles Rigoulot’s One-Arm Snatch

Posted on Monday, June 20th, 2016 by John Wood
The great French Strongman Charles Rigoulot snatches 242 pounds with one arm in old, Old, OLD Vienna, circa 1929.
Note the continued use of globed barbells and dumbbells long after they went out of style.

Just a few years earlier at the 1924 Olympic Games, the athletes still had a choice of either using a solid, revolving, plate-loaded barbell like you would see these days, or the archaic shot-loaded globe barbells of year’s past.

All the members of the French weightlifting team, including Rigoulot, chose to lift with the oldtime globe barbells instead of the modern plate-loaded ones… Interestingly, Rigoulot won the gold medal in the light-heavyweight class while his teammate Edmond Decottignies also took home the gold in the light-weight Class.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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.

Louis Vasseur

Posted on Friday, March 21st, 2014 by John Wood

Louis Vasseur, Of Roubaix, was the first man to one-hand snatch 100kg (220 lbs.), a feat which he accomplished in 1911. Vasseur was also a great track and field athlete who excelled in the throwing events, especially the discus, in which he set a French professional record with a throw of 41.6 meters in 1912.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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.

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.)

Noel le Gaulois

Posted on Thursday, March 29th, 2012 by John Wood

Noel le Gaulois

The French strongman Noel le Gaulois was the man to beat at certain lifts in the late 19th century. He won the world’s championship in Brussels, Belgium in 1897, with a two-arm snatch with 220 pounds, a two-arm jerk of 253-pounds and a one-arm snatch of a 143-pounds… All lifts which would still be respectable a century later.

Like many strongmen of the period, he was also a very good wrestler. Later, Le Gaulois owned a café/gymnasium which was the gathering place for the famous strongmen of the day.  Also, so you know, “le Gaulois” was not his actual last name but a nickname The Gaul, which referred to his outstanding mustache.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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.

Edward Aston ~ Britain’s Strongest Man

Posted on Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 by John Wood

•Edward Aston - Britain's Strongest Man

n 1911, Edward Aston won the title of “Britain’s Strongest Man” by defeating the great Thomas Inch in a challenge match. Aston held the title for the next 23 years and retired undefeated.
Aston was the first Englishman to lift 300 lbs. overhead with one hand and could do a one-arm snatch with 180 lbs. as well as a one-arm clean to the shoulder with 250 lbs.
Edward Aston lifted 496 pounds on a 2.25 inch thick bar with an overhand grip – a tremendous feat of grip strength.
He wrote the grip course ‘How to Develop A Powerful Grip’ in 1946.

Charles Rigoulot

Posted on Sunday, August 21st, 2011 by John Wood

Charles Rigoulot

Charles Rigoulot was the last great lifter to forgo shot-loaded equipment in international competition. In fact, he won the light-heavyweight Gold Medal  at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, France using a shot-loaded barbell — and was actually the only lifter to use shot-loaded equipment in the contest.

Rigoulot was also the first man to clean and jerk over 400 pounds, lifted Apollon’s Wheels. and broke 57 weightlifting records over the course of his career.  One of these records was a one-arm snatch of 261 pounds, which will likely never be broken. Rigoulot was also a very successful professional wrestler and his greatest match was against fellow strongman Milo Steinborn.