Viggo Jensen

Posted on Thursday, November 30th, 2017 by John Wood
Viggo Jensen, the great Danish athlete, won the very first Gold medal ever awarded in the modern Olympics. At the 1896 games in Athens, Greece, Jensen, bested Launceston Elliott at the “Two-Hands” lifting event but injured his shoulder in doing so. This caused him to finish second to Elliott in the “One-Hand” event. At the same Olympics, Jensen competed in Rope Climbing, shot put, discus and two rifle events (taking Bronze in the free rifle.)

Rope Climbing for Grip Strength

Posted on Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 by John Wood
Sig Klein was always outspoken as far as the importance of grip strength… One of Sig’s favorite exercises was to hang by one hand from a thick climbing rope. It’s still a good one.
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

Posted on Monday, January 23rd, 2017 by John Wood
From 1911 to 1934, Edward Aston held the title of ‘Britain’s Strongest Man’ and judging by this picture, it’s not hard to see why. One of Aston’s “Secrets” was to pay particular attention to strengthening the grip and forearm. He employed a number of different exercises to build his hand strength but one of his favorites was to do one-arm timed hangs from a climbing rope.

Heavy Training for French Soldiers

Posted on Friday, November 18th, 2016 by John Wood

“The making of men taken from civilian life into well-trained soldiers has been a problem in England as in France. Business hours left the Frenchman with little time for exercise. Their training in the manner here shown quickly made them fit, and soon after leaving the counter, lathe, or desk they have proved themselves able to undertake with endurance the long marches and successful offensives against the common enemy with complete success. Every Frenchman entering the army undergoes a preparation in gymnastics and rope climbing as here shown.”

National Geographic Magazine

April, 1917

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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.

Robert Conrad

Posted on Friday, October 7th, 2016 by John Wood
The TV actor Robert Conrad, who was best known as Tom Lopaka in “Hawaiian Eye” in the early 1960’s, and Jim West in The Wild Wild West” in the mid and late 1960’s, was also avidly into weightlifting, physical fitness, and as evident by this shot, rope climbing.

This was long before strength training was en vogue in Hollywood or elsewhere although he did it more for his roles since he also did all his own stunts. Conrad even graced the cover of the October, 1962 issue of Strength and Health Magazine.

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.

Mr. America Magazine, January, 1959, Larry Cianchetta Coverman

Posted on Sunday, August 30th, 2015 by John Wood
Larry Cianchetta (later known as Larry Powers) from Staten Island, New York graced the cover of the January, 1959 issue of Mr. America Magazine. He went on to win a number of bodybuilding titles including, appropriately enough, the IFBB Mr. America in 1960. Also, the article ‘Rope-Chinning for Blade Sharp Definition,’ by E.M. Orlick is available at The Iron League.
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.

Angled Rope Climbing

Posted on Monday, May 4th, 2015 by John Wood
“From a single climbing and descending of a 30 foot rope each day (which took about two minutes) William Bankier “The Scottish Hercules” obtained infinitely better results as far as arm development than did an acquaintance who devoted a half hour each day to exercises especially for the biceps.”
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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.

Olympic Rope Climbing

Posted on Thursday, September 4th, 2014 by John Wood

Rope Climbing was a contested event at several Olympic games. Here’s a rare shot of the event from the 1906 Athens Summer games which was a 10 meter climb for time, held on April 26, 1906 in the Panathenaic Stadium. Georgios Aliprantis of Greece took the Gold with a climb of 11.4 seconds. Béla Erődi of Hungary and Konstantinos Kozanitas of Greece both had identical climbs of 13.8 seconds but the Silver was awarded to Erődi since Kozanitas accidentally touched the pole from which the rope hung. Notice that these guys were playing for keeps, don’t see any padding underneath. With two countrymen finishing on the medal stand, the rope climbing event was very popular with the Athenian crowd.
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 Kunath

Posted on Monday, August 18th, 2014 by John Wood

Edward Kunath, of Jersey City, New Jersey was the AAU National Rope Climbing Champion of 1899-1903, 1907 and 1909. He set many records over the course of his career, one of which was in 1901 when he climbed 25 feet in 6.8 seconds. When you do the math, that is over 44 inches per second! A few years later, Kunath invented and patented the spacer for manual typewriters, making him millions.
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.

Launceston Elliot, The First British Olympic Champion

Posted on Wednesday, June 6th, 2012 by John Wood

Launceston Elliot - The First British Champion

Already a strength star in his teens when he won the British national Championships, in 1896, Launceston Elliot traveled to Athens, Greece to represent England at the very first modern Olympic Games. Elliot had been trained by Eugen Sandow and bared quite a resemblance to his mentor. Things were a bit different back then in weightlifting: they contested two events: the “one-hand lift” and the “two-hands lift” (i.e. the “clean and jerk.”)

In the first contest, the “two hand lift” Launceston tied with Viggo Jensen of Denmark when each lifted 111 kg (244-1/2 pounds). The Gold medal, however, was awarded to the Dane because the judges thought he lifted the weight “in much better form” than his English competitor. In the one-hand event, Elliot lifted 71 kg to the Dane’s 57 and thus Britain’s first Olympic Gold medal winner was crowned!

At the 1896 games, Elliot also competed in the 100m dash, wrestling, and rope climbing events. Elliot performed credibly well in each even but did not match his weightlifting success. After his Olympic achievements, Elliot returned home to England, won the first major physique contest ever held and toured the country as a performing strongman.