Dio Lewis’ Iron Crown

Posted on Saturday, May 17th, 2014 by John Wood

You’ll find some pretty interesting ideas when you venture into the “forgotten lore” of physical training. Here’s a good example from the great physical culture pioneer Dio Lewis, introduced way back in 1864:

THE IRON CROWN

“Bearing burdens on the head, results in an erect spine and an elastic gait. Observing persons, who have visited Switzerland, Italy, or the Gulf States, have observed a thousand verifications of this physiological law.

Cognizant of the value of this feature of gymnastic training, I have employed, for this purpose, within the last twelve years, various sorts of weights, but have recently invented an iron crown, which I think completely satisfactory. The accompanying cut gives a good idea of its general form. I have crowns made to weigh from three to one hundred pounds.

The crown is so padded within, it rests pleasantly on the entire top of the head, and yet so arranged that it requires skill to balance it. It is beautifully painted, and otherwise ornamented.

The Following Suggestions are deemed important in wearing the crown: Wear it five to fifteen minutes morning and evening. Hold the body erect, hips and shoulders thrown far back, and the crown rather on the front of the head, as shown in the cut.

Walking up and down stairs while wearing the crown, is good, if the lower extremities are not too much fatigued by it. When walking through the hall or parlors, turn the toes, first, inward as far as possible; second, outward; third, walk on the tips of the toes; fourth, on the heels; fifth, on the right heel and left toe; sixth, on the left heel and right toe; seventh, walk without bending the knees; eighth, bend the knees, so that you are nearly sitting on the heels while walking, ninth, walk with the right leg bent at the knee, rising at each step on the straight left leg; tenth, walk with the left leg bent, rising at each step on the straight right leg.

With these ten different modes of walking, the various muscles of the back will receive the most invigorating exercise.

All persons of both sexes, and of every age, who have round shoulders or weak backs, are rapidly improved by the regular use of the Iron Crown.”

Moore’s Squat Bar

Posted on Monday, March 31st, 2014 by John Wood

Here, 1959 AAU Mr. America winner Harry Johnson demonstrates Moore’s Squat Bar, a unique piece of equipment from the Atlanta Barbell Co., which was often advertised in the old Iron Man magazine and which eliminates much of the discomfort of squatting due to the “yoke” design.
Look familiar?
The rights were eventually purchased by multiple-time Mr. Olympia winner Frank Zane, and re-released as the Frank Zane Leg Blaster (which is still available today.) We have an original Moore Squat bar still very much in use in our private collection.

Cal Gibson Barbell Plates

Posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 by John Wood

Cal Gibson Barbell Plate
In all my years, I’ve never seen anything like these barbell plates.  No idea who “Cal Gibson” was, and never found any trace of him in any old magazines.  And 50 lbs? Not common at all.  I do, however, dig his style; that thunderbolt design looks SHARP!

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.

Peary Rader and The Magic Circle

Posted on Tuesday, October 18th, 2011 by John Wood
THE MAGIC CIRCLE
– FOR MAGIC RESULTS –
The most satisfactory device yet found for doing quarter, half and full squats — for doing Hise Shoulder Shrugs and other heavy poundage exercises where weight is held on shoulders. It has made squatting a pleasure by removing the agonizing and sometimes paralyzing pain and discomfort of a heavy bar across the shoulders cutting into the flesh and putting pressure o the spine.

The “Magic Circle” gives a freedom for deep breathing in the popular and result-producing “Breathing Squats” for the exerciser can stand erect and breathe normally with a high lift of the chest at every breath, and is not compelled to hump over forward and breathes it the abdominal area as with a bar.

In use, the “Magic Circle” is loaded up on the side pegs (unless you go over 700 lbs., in which case you have front and back pegs to load on), step in the circle (which is supported on side horses or boxes), lift shoulder straps onto shoulders, center straps, stand erect and walk away from stand and begin squats in normal manner.

When finished, walk back to stands and lower ring to supporting rack. While squatting it helps to grasp ring in front and pull slightly toward you. If you get stuck at bottom you place hands on legs and push upward to recover. No more getting stuck at bottom, will hold 1200 lbs. or more.

If you read Iron Man Magazine in the 70’s you remember Peary Rader demonstrating the Magic Circle. Peary’s using 425 pounds in this classic shot. and making it look easy.

I actually grew up with one in our basement gym — that’s right a fully functioning Magic Circle, one of the last ones left. I don’t like using it for squats — it changes the center of gravity in the bottom position too much for my taste. Though not necessarily the same concept, (but very much along the same lines), a Gerard Trap Bar will give you a much better leg workout.

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.