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.
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.
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.
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.
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.