The Dymek EZ Kurl Bar

Posted on Monday, April 9th, 2018 by John Wood
All the Gym Bros of the world owe a debt of gratitude to Lewis Dymek. A man named Lewis G. Dymeck invented the Dymek Curling bar (better known as the “EZ Curl” bar) and was granted the patent for it on May 23, 1950. As the story goes, Dymeck injured his wrist and training with a straight bar was too painful so he invented this unusual bar to work around it. The idea caught on… Soon many strength equipment companies began selling their own version of this piece of equipment and today you’ll find on ein pretty much every gym in the land.

Nautilus Omni Machines

Posted on Friday, December 8th, 2017 by John Wood
The Nautilus Omni machines were used primarily during the Colorado Experiment and provided training advantages that no other piece of equipment ever provided – a foot pedal that allowed the trainee to perform the exercise in a negative only or negative accentuated manner in the most efficient way possible. These were the only machines, before or since, that allowed all five distinct methods of training to be performed. Above, Casey Viator does a set on the Omni-Bicep machine.
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.

Hammers, Maces, and Clubs

Posted on Sunday, December 3rd, 2017 by John Wood
Sometimes you will need unusual training equipment if you want to build unusual strength — Here’s a look at a few of my favorite pieces: You’ll see a few unique sledge hammers and various tools along with some vintage Indian Clubs. The two hammers in the foreground have brass and copper heads, respectively which, quite curiously, have a much different feel than traditional steel hammers. The larger hammer just beyond those came off a tank, it was used to wack the treads back in line out in the field. Kinda cool, huh? Most of the time I’ll use this equipment for leverage training like Slim The Hammer Man.

The Reg Park Muscle Builder Ad

Posted on Wednesday, January 6th, 2016 by John Wood

You used to be able to find ads for ‘The Reg Park Muscle Builder Set’ on the back of Reg’s magazine “The Reg Park Journal.” If you saved up your allowance for one of these sets, you got quite a haul: a 10-strand cable exerciser, a wall pulley attachment, a head strap, foot stirrups, two hand grips (for a mighty, he-man grip) a cable exercise and rowing machine and, of course, several free courses to show you how to use it all.

The York Calflex

Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 by John Wood
The York Calflex
One interesting training ‘gizmo’ from strength training yesteryear is the York Barbell Calflex. According to the ads, the York Calflex “allowed the tension to be increased in both directions for complete calf development.” Nice. N.B. There is a small hook-like piece missing from the front in the image above which locks the foot into place.
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.

Professor Adrian Schmidt’s Automatic Exerciser ~ Life’s Backbone

Posted on Sunday, February 5th, 2012 by John Wood
Professor Adrian Schmidt’s “Automatic Exerciser” (also called a “Schmidt Machine”) was one of the very first commercially made pieces of strength equipment. It was ingenious in its simplicity since it allows for a number of exercises — especially those which required incredibly heavy weights — to be performed in a minimum of space. Movements such as hip lifts or deadlift lockouts (i.e. ‘The Health Lift) etc which often required hundreds of pounds of weight could now be performed with only a few dozen thanks to the leverage principle.

Schmidt felt, and rightly so, that maintaining a strong healthy life was a matter of maintaining a strong and healthy back. This concept, as well as instructions for the exerciser, were all explained in his booklet “Life’s Backbone.” Back in 1917, when this ad appeared, you could send away for this booklet for 4 cents!

York Isometric Power Rack

Posted on Sunday, October 23rd, 2011 by John Wood

Isometrics were all the rage in the 1960s although you don’t hear much about them these days.

Here’s a special rack made by The York Barbell Company created just for performing Isometrics (model W.W.) This is also the very same type of rack that Bruce Lee trained on.

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.

Block Weights!

Posted on Monday, August 8th, 2011 by John Wood
Strongman Block Weight
Block Weights
The oldtime strongmen lifted just about any weight they could get their hands on. Shown here is a block weight, an obvious precursor to the kettlebell. Block weights (also sometimes referred to as scale weights) were originally used for measurement purposes though eventually many strongmen began to lift them for strength and show.

I suspect that many of the oldtime strongmen noticed these weights sitting backstage at the theaters where they performed (where they were used as ballast to counterweight theatre props etc) and decided to start using them to lift. Block weights are awkward to lift, making movements such as cleans and presses a much bigger challenge, even at comparatively “light” weights. Block weights also make excellent “handles” for pushups and handstands.

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.