The William J. Herrmann Institute of Physical Culture

Posted on Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 by John Wood
Herrmann's Gym
William J. Herrmann was a very knowledgeable physical culturist who taugh and heavily influenced Alan Calvert (in fact, Calvert’s classic book “Super Strength” is dedicated to him.)

Herrmann’s gym, once located at 1325 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was one of the popular hangouts for many of the strength stars of the early 20th century, most notably Sig Klein and Milo Steinborn, who performed a number of strength feats there. Sandow trained at Herrmann’s place whenever he visited the US. At Hermann’s, classes were taught in boxing, wrestling, fencing, body-building, calisthenics, Indian Clubs, gymnastics and acrobatics.

This picture was taken in 1931 and shows Milo Steinborn getting in a quick workout on the newly added open-air section of the gym (used for hand ball and training in the fresh air and sun shine, among other pursuits.) Herrmann’s son (also named William) won the bronze medal in tumbling at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

The Hack Squat

Posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 by John Wood

Walter Donald Demonstrates the Hack Squat

The Hack Squat, (or Hack Lift, as it is sometimes called) is a behind-the-back deadlift, as demonstrated by famous oldtime physique star Walter Donald in the pages of Super Strength by Alan Calvert.
This movement is not actually named after George Hackenschmidt but gets its name from “Hacke” the German word for ankle, which is roughly where the bar touches before the commencement of the lift. One coaching point on this lift which is not obvious is that the hands are supposed to be touching. Several lifters have been able to perform this movement with nearly 800 pounds.

Super Strength by Alan Calvert

Posted on Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 by John Wood

Super Strength by Alan CalvertSuper Strength by Alan Calvert

A rare magazine advertisement for ‘Super Strength’ by Alan Calvert from 1924 – which would be the same year the book was originally published. Despite the fact that this book was written nearly nine decades ago, the training information is just as effective today.

If you are a serious strength fan, then you should absolutely have a copy in your training library.

(Also of note: the exercises in the ad (and book) were demonstrated by the South African strongman Walter Donald.)

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.