The Original Dr. Ken Log Bar

Posted on Monday, July 29th, 2019 by John Wood
Here’s a look at one of the original ideas behind Dr. Ken’s Log Bar — an actual log with handles cut into it. This “log” was patterned on an unusual parallel-handled bar used for pressing movements that Dr. Ken trained with down in Lake Helen, Florida when he worked for Arthur Jones. As is the case with most of Dr. Ken’s unusual equipment, this log was a lot of fun to train with and provided many excellent workouts for his trainees. Many strongman contests these days have steel logs, usually used for overhead lifting, which approximate this original design — yet another innovation that you can thank Dr. Ken for.
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.

Tommy Kono ~ 350 lb. Press

Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2018 by John Wood
A look at the great Tommy Kono pressing 350 lbs. on May 26, 1961 – a World record. Tommy’s bodyweight was only 183 lbs. at the time but lifted in the 198 lb. class. When they weighed everything afterwards, they found the loaded bar actually weighed out at 350-1/2 lbs. This amazing lift took place at the Hawaiian State weightlifting championships and the Mr. and Miss Hawaiian Islands contest held at the Nuuanu YMCA Auditorium. The same day he snatched 290 lbs. and clean and jerked 350 for a 1000-1/2 lb. total.
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.

Doug Hepurn – Press!

Posted on Thursday, December 28th, 2017 by John Wood
I wonder how different things would be if the standing press were as popular as the bench press? I suspect there would be many more strong folks walking around. Here’s the great Doug Hepburn pressing 425 pounds from a rack – that’s more than most people can squat! One thing’s for sure, increase your press and you’ll get a whole lot stronger everywhere else too.
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.

Dr. Georges Rouhet’s Favorite Barbell

Posted on Monday, December 25th, 2017 by John Wood
Dr. Georges Rouhet is shown here demonstrating an overhead press with his favorite barbell. It was listed that this barbell weighed 216 French Livres, or just over 233 lbs.
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.

An Unusual Barbell

Posted on Friday, November 10th, 2017 by John Wood
J.J. Brown doing a few overhead presses with a very interesting looking barbell in the new gymnasium at the Shakespeare Avenue police station in Chicago, Illinois, circa 1924.
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.

Josef Grafl

Posted on Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 by John Wood

Josef Grafl, the great strongman from Vienna, Austria, was the man to beat in the weightlifting world in the early 20th century… Grafl won championships in 1908, 1909, twice in 1910, 1911 and his last in 1913.

As you might guess by the image above, Grafl possessed immense pressing power. In Vienna, circa 1912, Grafl pressed 220.5 lbs overhead for 18 repetitions. This was not “military” style popular today but an even more strict performance: with his heels together. It was later estimated by strength historian David P. Willoughby that this performance was equivalent to a maximum single of 344 lbs.

Grimek’s Sandbag Training

Posted on Thursday, August 1st, 2013 by John Wood

Grimek's Sandbag Training

The York Barbell Company sold more iron than anyone, so why is John Grimek pictured here throwing a canvas sandbag around?

Well… a couple of reasons: This picture was taken during World War II when Iron and Steel were being used for the war effort. Hence if you wanted to lift anything, you had to make arrangements other than barbells and dumbbells. Lifting sandbags offered a very effective alternative.

Secondly, Grimek loved all different kinds of training and a sandbag offered a new challenge, something altogether different than regular barbells and dumbbells would provide. Not to mention that the sandbag provides more of a “grip” challenge than a barbell ever could and building extra forearm strength is always a good idea.

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.

Dr. Rouhet’s Weights

Posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 by John Wood

Dr. Georges Rouhet, French Physical Culture

Shown is the famous French physical culturalist Dr. Georges Rouhet and some of his fantastic training equipment. Having been at this for a while now, our conclusion is that the French Strongmen had the best equipment available to train with. Also of note are the French blockweights in the foreground.

Tromp Van Diggelen ~ The South African Hercules

Posted on Thursday, December 29th, 2011 by John Wood
Tromp Van Diggelen survived a sickly childhood to become a traveling performing strongman and one of the true unsung heroes of strength history. His performing feats were certainly impressive (such as the 210 pound “barrel lift” barbell press above) but it was his work behind the scenes which he should be remembered best.

It was Tromp Van Diggelen who discovered “Max Sick” and had him change his name to Maxick. Van Digglen also managed Josef Steinbach and Hermann Goerner and also helped found The British Amateur Weightlifting Association (BAWLA).

The Russian Lion George Hackenschmidt

Posted on Sunday, June 12th, 2011 by John Wood
George Hackenschmidt, The Russian Lion, has the unique distinction of being a Champion wrestler, a Champion Strongman, a strength author, and and early physique star.

His matches with Frank Gotch are widely regarded at the most famous wrestling matches of all time.

As far as strength feats go, many of Hackenschmidt’s best marks are just as impressive today, even a hundred years after they were originally set!

These include a pullover and press (in the wrestler’s bridge position) of 311 pounds for two reps, a 279 pound overhead press and a crucifix lift of two 90 pound dumbbells…You sure won’t find many people who can even get close to those numbers today.