Billed as “The King of Kettlebells,” The great Russian Strongman Pyotr Krylov was well-known for exceptional his shoulder development and the large tattoo of the double-headed eagle gracing his chest. In the early 20th century Krylov performed a Crucifix Lift with a 90-pound kettlebell in each hand — a record that has never been equaled or beaten. One of Krylov’s favorite feats as a strongman was to break chains across his chest or with his arms. Like most other strongmen of the day, Krylov was a great wrestler (and had an excellent mustache.).
Alexeev is among the many Russian Champions who maintained a love of kettlebells training throughout his career. Based on the throwing circle at his feet he’s using the kettlebell to warm up and probably about to do a little shot putting.
“World Champion Wrestler and Record Setting Strongman Reveals All…”
George “The Russian Lion” Hackenschmidt has the unique distinction of being one of the first well known physique stars, a champion wrestler, legendary strongman, AND outspoken strength author.
He was a man of imaginable power. In fact, many of “Hack’s” greatest strength records still stand and his first wrestling bout against Frank Gotch in 1908 is widely regarded as the greatest professional wrestling match of all time…
Later that same year, Hackenschmidt published The Way to Live which was part autobiography and part training course. 21 editions later, this book was considered the highest selling book on physical culture ever written!
In The Way to Live, Hackenschmidt covers a wide range of topics, including:
How he lived … his methods of exercise … training with weights … training without weights … training for young and old … nutrition and diet … building and cultivating will power … feats of strength with heavy weights … hindrances to the acquisition of strength … tips on bathing … rest and wholesome sleep … variations in exercise … exercises for athletes, etc. and a complete course in barbell and dumbbell training…
Hackenschmidt closes the book telling the story of his life including his early days under the guidance of Dr. von Krajewski (physician to the Czar of Russia), and Dr. Theodore Siebert, the famous German weightlifting pioneer. He relates tales of his wrestling bouts with the likes of Zbysco, Lurich, Jenkins, Farmer Burns, and, of course, his most famous match against Frank Gotch.
This 5″ x 7″ trade paperback high-quality modern reprint edition features new material not found in the original printing: 173 pages, over 89 rare photos and illustrations (several of which have been added to the modern reprint edition and did not appear in the original version), and a unique look into the life of one of the strongest man who ever lived, holder of many world strength records, and world champion catch-as-catch-can wrestler.
The Way to Live by George Hackenschmidt
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Arkady Vorobyev took an interest in weightlifting while serving in the Russian Navy during WWII and it led to a hall of fame career. Vorobyev was one of the most dominant lifters of the 1950’s, taking gold in two Olympic Games (1956, Melbourne, 1960, Rome) five World Championships (1953-1955, 1957-58) and five European championships (1950, 1953-1955, 1958). Vorobyev set 16 World records over the course of his career. He went on to become a noted strength researcher and his “Textbook on Weightlifting,” written in 1978, is thought of as a modern classic in the field.
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.
A look at the great soviet weightlifter Grigori Novak’s World Record standing press of 315 pounds (at 5’3″ and a bodyweight of only 181 pounds!) This would have been in 1949 in a meet in Moscow. Novak’s career was marred by an elbow injury which necessitated an operation – you can tell his left arm is a bit “off” here.
The Royal Moscow Circus has performed on American shores for many years. If you caught their show from 1956 through 1967, you also probably got a chance to see Vsevolod Kherts lift some pretty amazing weights in entertaining ways. This pullover and press from a bridge with a 300 lb. thick-handled globe barbell is pretty outstanding on several levels.
A Russian Strongman Circus Poster from 1899 – heavy one arm supports… horse lifting… stone breaking (by sledge hammer AND fist)… kettlebell juggling… where do I get my tickets?
Born in a small village near Moscow Ivan Shemyakin ran off to join the circus when he was fifteen years of age to become a strongman and wrestler. He was quite skilled in both areas, winning the kettlebell lifting championship of Russia in 1899 and a World Championship in wrestling in 1913.