Yakov Kutsenko

Posted on Wednesday, December 13th, 2017 by John Wood
Yakov Kutsenko was a great Ukranian heavyweight who competed for the Soviet Union and won two European titles (1947 in Helsinki and 1950 in Paris) and two Silver medals at the world championships (1946 and 1950, both in Paris, both times losing to John Davis.) Kutsenko set three official world records, all in the clean and jerk and all in 1947.
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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.

Alexeev and Kettlebells

Posted on Friday, November 10th, 2017 by John Wood
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.
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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.

Yury Duganov

Posted on Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 by John Wood
Yury Duganov is another in the long line of great Soviet weightlifters. Notice that Duganovw as an early adapter of the split-style which served him well. As a middleweight, he set eight world records in his career, all in the snatch. Duganov’s best official mark in the snatch was a 133 kg lift in 1955 in Podolsk, Russia although he did hit an unofficial record of 136.5 kg as a light-heavyweight at a meet in Beijing, China in 1956. Duganov won four Russian lifting championships (1950, 1953-1955) and finished second in two others (1949, 1951) but never did make it to the Olympics.
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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.

Nikolay Saksonov

Posted on Wednesday, October 4th, 2017 by John Wood
Nikolay Saksonov, looking every bit the Russian weightlifter, was a featherweight lifter who won a Silver medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic games, a Gold Medal at the 1953 World Championships held in Stockholm, and set seven official World Records over his storied career.

Like many great Russian athletes, Saksonov was also a soldier and fought in WWII and other operations. During this time, for his efforts, he was awarded the Order of the Red Star, the Order of the Patriotic War and the Medal of Bravery. This did not come without a heavy price: he also sustained shrapnel injuries to both his forearms which caused nerve damage and eventually greatly affected his ability to grip the bar. Saksonov became a champion by working extra hard to overcome this deficiency. It has been speculated that his marks might have been 10-20 kg higher had he not suffered these injuries. The image above is most likely his winning Clean & Jerk at the 1954 USSR Championships.

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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.

Fyodor Bogdanovsky

Posted on Monday, December 26th, 2016 by John Wood
The great soviet Fyodor Bogdanovsky graces the cover of the November, 6, 1957 issue of Health and Strength Magazine above. At the time of this publication, the 1957 World Weightlifting Championships were just about to commence in Tehran, Iran.

The above shot is actually from the 1955 World Championships held in Munich, Germany where Bogdanovsky finished with the Silver medal behind the America, Pete George in the middle weight class. In Tehran, Bogdanovsky again finished second, this time behind Tommy Kono (it was an epic battle: both lifters finished with an identical 420 kg total with Kono ultimately taking the Gold on bodyweight.)

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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.

Yuri Vlasov’s Bench Press

Posted on Friday, December 18th, 2015 by John Wood

How does a World Champion Olympic weight lifter build upper-body strength? The great Russian lifter Yuri Vlasov used the bench press (among other exercises) in his program back in the 50’s and 60’s. Of course, by the looks of things he sure didn’t mess around like the gym lifters of today.

“Getting stronger” and plenty of technique work were part of the game back then. It seems to have worked quite well for Mr. Vlasov, who set 34 Weightlifting World Records during his career… That’s 190kg above, over 400 lbs…. Maybe the bench press isn’t so bad of a lift after all?

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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.

Grigori Novak Circus Poster

Posted on Wednesday, July 8th, 2015 by John Wood
We’ve covered Grigori Novak’s weightlifting career previously. Novak got a handful of Olympic medals and set over a hundred lifting records but once his competitive career came to an end, he did what any great strength athlete would do: he ran off to the circus! For the next 25 years, Novak was a genuine performing strongman, lifting barbells, juggling kettlebells, supporting heavy weights and the like. Eventually his sons Roman and Arkady even joined the act. Above, you’ll see a rare poster of Novak’s circus days.
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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.

Arkady Vorobyev

Posted on Thursday, July 2nd, 2015 by John Wood
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.

Vlasov

Posted on Friday, June 12th, 2015 by John Wood

Yuri Vlasov. This photograph was taken on December 22, 1961 at the Russian championships held in Dnepropetrovsk. Vlasov had a pretty good day, breaking Schemansky’s record in the snatch on a fourth attempt and setting records in the clean and jerk (210 KG) and total (550KG). As a point of interest, eleven Russian lifters totaled over 1000 pounds in that contest.
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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.

Novak’s World Record Press

Posted on Friday, May 9th, 2014 by John Wood

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.