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.

Cyr’s One Finger Lift

Posted on Tuesday, January 9th, 2018 by John Wood
At St. Louis Hall in Chicago, Illinois on May 7th, 1896, in front of 1000 spectators, Louis Cyr lifted a 535 lb. weight clear of the floor with one finger. This was just a warmup through, among the other feats performed that day: a “muscle out” with a 131-1/4 lb. dumbbell, held for five seconds at a perfect right angle to the body, then brought back to the shoulder with ease … a one arm press of 258-1/4 lb. dumbbell … shouldering with one hand, a 433 lb. barrel filled with sand and water … pressing a 162-1/2 lb dumbbell overhead 36 times in succession.
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.

Julius Cochard

Posted on Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 by John Wood
The French strongman and wrestler, Julius Cochard, possessed an unusual level of strength and endurance. His best known feat was to carry a 220-pound sack on his shoulders from Paris to Reims, a distance of 112 miles. It took him just under a week to cover that distance. He was also very adept at feats of finger strength, being able to snatch and swing 110-pound dumbbell with only one finger. Cochard pulled one of the first recorded impressive deadlifts when he lifted 661 lbs. way back in 1895. Cochard, whose name was also spelled “Cochart” in some circles, weighed around 220 lbs at a height of 5’10”

Jack Walsh and the 1-Finger Snatch

Posted on Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 by John Wood
Jack Walsh performing a 1-finger snatch with 115 pounds. When was the last time you ever heard of anyone performing this lift? Jack is clearly pretty sure of himself, notice there’s no collars on the bar.
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.

Classic Grip Courses

Posted on Monday, October 16th, 2017 by John Wood
These 4 Classic Training Courses will teach you unusual exercises, training tips, workout ideas, feats of the oldtimers and the methods to build your own set of “mighty mitts”

Specific training to build an “iron grip and powerful forearms” was essential to the Oldtime Strongmen for what should be some very obvious reasons: you can’t bend a horseshoe, rip a deck of cards, or tear a phone book in half if you don’t have strong hands. This is also a big factor in why many of the Oldtime Strongmen were well known for their unbelievable grip strength – and why many of their records in that department still stand to this day.

Now you can learn exactly how to do it too, directly from the greatest strong men themselves with our collection of FOUR Classic Grip Courses. Each of these authors has the credentials and know-how to help you build some of the strongest hands around:

Developing The Grip and Forearm
by Thomas Inch

Thomas Inch was Britain’s strongest youth at 16, the first official Britain’s Strongest Man and at one time had the largest physical fitness correspondence school in Great Britain. He wrote an untold number of books, courses and training articles and was an excellent strand puller and all-around lifter but in Oldtime strength circles, the name Thomas Inch is recognized above all else for one thing: grip strength.

Inch’s “unliftable” Challenge Dumbbell has defied thousands of strong men over the last hundred years (and still does today). Many a strength athlete tried but failed to break it off the ground…

After many years and numerous requests, Inch finally decided to put in writing the methods by which he had developed his incredible levels of grip strength. So here it is, once again made available to the potential “grip masters” of the strength world Thomas Inch’s wonderful course: “Developing the Grip and Forearm” (originally published in 1930) and now available in high-quality modern reprint edition. Don’t let weak hands stand in the way of lifting limit poundages. This training course. will strengthen the weak link between you and record poundages. Fully illustrated, soft cover, 8 1/2″ x 11″ in size, also includes a list of historical grip feats

Iron Claws
Grip Development and Bench Press Course
by Mike Brown

Iron Claws is a rare and extremely hard-to-find training course, full of valuable and result producing information, and is now available once again. In the early 1970’s, Mike Brown set out to bench press maximum weights using a unique partial range of motion training program that he designed. The weights kept growing heavier and one day Brown sprained his wrist with over 600 pounds on the bar. He realized then and there that if his bench press was going to get any stronger, his wrists and forearms would need to follow suit. His research and subsequent experimentation became “Iron Claws: Grip Development and Bench Press Course“.

This extremely interesting training course first appeared in 1974 among the many unusual titles in The Madison Co. book catalog. Few copies were printed and even fewer were sold but now you can benefit from this course in the high-quality modern reprint version. You’ll learn about how the oldtimers developed 16″ forearms and enormous coin bending grip strength, the author’s special wrist roller, rack rebounders for heavy bench pressing, training in mud, and a variety of other unique training ideas.

How to Develop a Powerful Grip
by Edward Aston

Edward Aston is certainly qualified to teach you how to build a strong grip… he was The World’s Middle-weight Weightlifting Champion, British Heavy-weight Champion Weightlifter, and Britain’s Strongest Man from 1911-1934 (he retired undefeated.)

Aston knew full well that stronger hands meant greater strength everywhere else and in 1946 wrote “How to Build a Powerful Grip” teaching how he did so throughout his colorful strongman and stage career. Sit back and read about the pet feats of grip strength of such notable grip masters as: Caswell, Vansittart “The Man with the Iron Grip”, Breitbart, Marx, Topham, Samson, Tolson, Fox, Sandow, Inch, etc.

All in all, this publication is not only very informative but entertaining as well. It will provide you with exercises and techniques which can not be found anywhere else. Get a copy and add it to your grip training library, you’ll be glad you did! Fully illustrated, soft cover, and 8-l/2″ x 11″ in size.

Molding a Mighty Grip
by George F. Jowett

Molding a Mighty Grip was published as a part of George F. Jowett’s “Molding” library and features one of Jowett’s specialties: grip and forearm training. Formerly a blacksmith and chain maker by trade, Jowett developed powerful hands, 8 1/4″ wrists, 15 1/4″ muscular forearms, and 17-3/4″ upper arms making his incredible feats of grip strength legendary.

Jowett’s most famous feat was that of lifting a 168 lb. anvil by the horn to shoulder height and pressing it with one hand! Alan Calvert, founder of Milo Barbell Co., referred to Jowett as the most scientific weightlifter in America. This booklet describes Jowett’s unique exercises for developing each digit of the hands and turning them into “iron claws.”

In addition, Jowett reminisces about many of the famous old-time strongmen and their specialty feats of grip strength. A great book available once again for the truly serious student of grip strength. Get a copy today and start training your grip the way the great George F. Jowett trained his! Fully illustrated, soft cover, and 8-l/2″ x 11″ in size.

Order now!Classic Grip Course Collection (4 Booklets):
_________ $39.99 plus s/h

Warren Lincoln Travis’ Challenge

Posted on Sunday, November 27th, 2016 by John Wood

If you wanted to win the Richard K. Fox Heavyweight Strongman Champiionship Belt you had to beat Warren Lincoln Travis at his own game in a challenge match.

Here’s the list of Travis’ ten strength challenges:

1. 100 lb.barbell brought from the floor with both hands, pressed overhead with both hands, while seated(thirty seconds).

2. Pair of ninety pound weights brought from side of body to shoulders, then slowly pressing to arm’s length over the head.

3. Teeth Lift from floor, hands behind back, 350 lbs.

4. 350 lbs. from floor with one finger, eight times in five seconds.

5. One finger lift from floor, 560 lbs. once.

6. Two-hand grip lift, straddling the weight from floor, 700 lbs. twenty times in ten seconds.

7. Hand and knee lift from floor, 1600 lbs. once.

8. Back lift, 3660 lbs. once.

9. Harness lift, 3580 lbs. once.

10. 2000 lb. back lift, 250 times, seven minutes.

(Did I mention all these lifts must be accomplished in 30 minutes or less if you want to win the belt?)

Jowett On Finger Strength

Posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 by John Wood
A bit on finger lifting from George F. Jowett, circa, 1924:

“So far as lifting weights with the fingers goes, I believe that Warren Lincoln Travis is the best man in the world. He certainly is the best that I ever met, in raising weights off the floor with the aid of his fingers. I have seen him make several big lifts with two fingers, but the best he ever did was the time he celebrated his fiftieth birthday, when he raised the terrific weight of eight hundred and eighty-one and one-half pounds, using just one finger of each hand. I was the referee on that occasion, and was proud to see Travis raise the world’s record so high.

On the one finger lift, he has done around five hundred and sixty pounds, while John Pagano has also raised over five hundred pounds with one finger. The lift is not made with the bare finger, as you are no doubt aware. The finger could not grasp the object to lift it. The middle finger is used, and on it the lifter fits an iron eye that has a hook attached, which grabs the object to be lifted. It is necessary that the eye should fit tightly upon the finger up at the first joint, as close to the knuckle of the hand as possible, as the finger is crooked, the eye locks thereon. Just the same it has to be raised off the floor, and that takes power. The ligament of that finger becomes very thick. In some cases, I have seen it become so thick that it made the finger crooked. A few years ago I met an old Swedish lifter who had quit the profession, but in his day was claimed to be a great finger lifter. I remember quite well that the middle finger of his right hand was almost twice as large as any of his other fingers, just from practicing that lift.”

Unfortunately we don’t know the gent pictured above but he has a pretty sweet setup, and that barrel, if filled completely, must weigh somewhere between 300-400lbs. which makes a very worthy feat.

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 Good

Posted on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 by John Wood
Like many strongmen, Harry Good was very talented at feats of grip and forearm strength. Here he lifts a set of heavy farm equipment gears weighing over 300 pounds with one finger. His best performance in this lift was with over 450 pounds.
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.

Basil Korolev

Posted on Wednesday, February 4th, 2015 by John Wood
Basil Korolev was Russian by birth but left his native land in 1919 at the start of the revolution. He settled in Japan were he was undefeated in Judo and boxing contests and held the heavyweight title in both sports until his retirement in 1936. Here is Basil at a strength demonstration curling a pair of 80-pound kettlebells with only his little fingers.
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.

Edwin Zello

Posted on Thursday, November 24th, 2011 by John Wood

Edwin Zello lifts over 400 pounds with one finger

Edwin Zello, of Platt’s Valley, Nebraska is shown here with a one-finger deadlift of well over 400 pounds. Zello performed many traditional strongman feats around the turn of the century, and so did his wife Alice, who was also part of the act, and quite a performer herself. Also of note is that Zello once wrestled George Hackenschmidt to a draw in an exhibition match in Canada.
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.