The Captain’s Wheel

Posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2018 by John Wood
Here’s a very unusual piece of training equipment made by the Narragansett Machine Company: The Captain’s Wheel. It was obviously an adaptation of the steering mechanism of a vessel, albeit, this version had a friction brake which allowed for increased resistance. Using this device a trainee could build a “different” kind of rotational strength by twisting or wrenching it from side to side. This was marketed specifically for wrestlers.

Also, just to give you an idea of the type of quality that the Narragansett machine Company was known for, the arms were made of Ash, the rims were made of Cherry and the mountings consisted of polished brass — very “steam punk.” This piece of equipment dates to about 1905.

The German Wheel

Posted on Tuesday, January 9th, 2018 by John Wood
Here’s a lost piece of training equipment that you sure don’t see every day the German Wheel. Also known as a Gym Wheel or a “Rhönrad”, Otto Feik, a metal worker from Germany devised this unique device in 1925 as a means of building full-body strength and stamina (while also having a good time doing so!)

It consists of a giant metal frame, about seven feet in diameter, with straps for the feet and overhead “rungs” which are gripped with the hands during use. A user then controls the movement of the wheel with body power – they say it’s a great “core” workout.

In 1936, at the Berlin Olympics, there was an exhibition of “Wheel Gymnastics” which spread the popularity of the Gym Wheel to other countries. Today the German Wheel” is virtually unknown in the U.S. but there have been contests and even world Championships going on in Europe and Japan for decades.

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.

Father Lange’s Gym

Posted on Sunday, December 10th, 2017 by John Wood
A look at a a training session at Father B.H. Lange’s Gym, at the University of Notre Dame. Lange was a great carpenter and made much of the equipment (i.e. benches and racks) shown here. Father Lange’s Gym began in 1941, when two students who were lifters were leaving to go join the Royal Canadian Air Force and entrusted their weights to Father Lange and it started building from there into one of the premier gyms and programs in the land.

One of Lange’s star pupils was Mike Burgener, who came to Notre Dame as a 165-pound freshman halfback looking to gain size and strength in order to compete on the collegiate gridiron. Under Lang’s tutelage, Burgener grew to 182 pounds, a key contributor to the 1966 National Championship team, and set an American record of 400 pounds in the press. Rather interestingly, Burgener also went on to become of the the “founding fathers” of Crossfit.

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.

The Sports Grip

Posted on Tuesday, November 14th, 2017 by John Wood

Here’s a piece of equipment that you don’t hear about very often – mostly because there aren’t many people that know much about it! You might find this gyroscopic grip device called a “Sports Grip,” a “Rist-Rassler” or a “Broncho Gripper” (in the July, 1918 issue of Physical Culture Magazine.) It uses a gyroscope to build grip strength and just like the ad says – It bucks!
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.