Travis The Human Link

Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2018 by John Wood
Here’s a classic shot of Warren Lincoln Travis performing the classic strength feat “The Human Link”. Although out of the frame, travis actually has a pair of horses looped over each elbow, and it’s all he can do to stop from being torn limb from limb!
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.

Young Harry Shafran

Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2018 by John Wood
A look at a young Harry Shafran who was known equally well for his physique as well as feats of strength. Early in his career, he was a partner of Professor Adrian Schmidt and was featured in Strength Magazine as well as Strength and Health Magazine. He ran a series of successful gyms in New York City but eventually grew tired of it and moved everything to a location near Scranton, Pennsylvania. He kept all his classic equipment in a large barn (including quite a few pieces he obtained from Warren Lincoln Travis).

The Origin of The Kennedy Lift

Posted on Tuesday, October 24th, 2017 by John Wood
“About forty years ago, at the height of the new wave of strong man popularity, the late Richard K. Fox, then publisher of the Police Gazette, the leading sporting journal of America, had a 1000 pound dumb-bell cast, but it was not in the shape of the dumbbells today. It was more like a massive block of iron. He offered a very valuable gold medal and title to the first man to lift this 1000 pound weight.

At that time there was a man known as James Walter Kennedy who was athletically inclined and developed. He was an oarsman and general athlete, leaning, however, more toward the strong man. He was about 6 feet tall and weighed around 190 pounds, had jet black curly hair and mustache and at a time was a special officer at The Globe Museum at 298-300 Bowery, New York City.

Kennedy took a notion that he could lift this 1000 pound dumbbell with his hands and he began to train with a big whiskey cask, not using whiskey in it, but water, sand and rock as he gained strength. In other words, he used the Milo Bar Bell system of gradually increasing weight as he improved in his strength.

The first time he tried lifting the 1000 pound weight he failed but some time later he succeeded. His style was to straddle the weight and have one hand in front of his body grasping the weight and the other hand grasping it in the rear of his body, this position being known as the Hands Alone Lift. His body was erect with the exception that the knees were bent about 2 or 3 inches.”

– Warren Lincoln Travis
My 40 years with the World’s Strongest Men

Warren Lincoln Travis ~ Coney Island, 1915

Posted on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 by John Wood
Warren Lincoln Travis allows a motor car to run over him during his act at Coney Island back in 1915. There is certainly no shortage of onlookers. What a way to make a buck!

As a side note: according to a newspaper article from 1921, a typical breakfast for Travis was as follows:two glasses of warm milk, a dish of apple sauce and two thick slices of rock-hard stale whole-wheat bread.

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 Brooklyn Strongboy” In Action

Posted on Monday, January 30th, 2017 by John Wood
A look at “The Brooklyn Strongboy” Charles Phelan in action in mid-two-hands-anyhow with an excellent globe barbell and kettlebell. Phelan held five world records in his day: a one-finger lift of 506 pounds, a 700 pound lift with two fingers, a hand and thigh lift of 1125 pounds, a hip lift of 1600 pounds and a backlift of 2500 pounds. Phelan learned the strongman arts from none other than Warren Lincoln Travis.

How to Use Bar Bells…

Posted on Friday, December 9th, 2016 by John Wood

Here’s an advertisement for “Professor Anthony Barker’s Strength Maker” course featuring the great Warren Lincoln Travis, circa 1910. …And does anyone else find it ironic that the headline touts the intelligent use of a barbell though the accompanying picture shows one of the least intelligent ways to do so?
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.

Warren Lincoln Travis’ Challenge

Posted on Sunday, November 27th, 2016 by John Wood

If you wanted to win the Richard K. Fox Heavyweight Strongman Champiionship Belt you had to beat Warren Lincoln Travis at his own game in a challenge match.

Here’s the list of Travis’ ten strength challenges:

1. 100 lb.barbell brought from the floor with both hands, pressed overhead with both hands, while seated(thirty seconds).

2. Pair of ninety pound weights brought from side of body to shoulders, then slowly pressing to arm’s length over the head.

3. Teeth Lift from floor, hands behind back, 350 lbs.

4. 350 lbs. from floor with one finger, eight times in five seconds.

5. One finger lift from floor, 560 lbs. once.

6. Two-hand grip lift, straddling the weight from floor, 700 lbs. twenty times in ten seconds.

7. Hand and knee lift from floor, 1600 lbs. once.

8. Back lift, 3660 lbs. once.

9. Harness lift, 3580 lbs. once.

10. 2000 lb. back lift, 250 times, seven minutes.

(Did I mention all these lifts must be accomplished in 30 minutes or less if you want to win the belt?)

The New Bodybuilding for Old-School Results by Ellington Darden

Posted on Wednesday, September 28th, 2016 by John Wood
GONE.

The New Bodybuilding for Old-School results is sold out, but we can point you toward this classic Ell Darden title which is available on Amazon Kindle:

Kim Wood’s Gym

Posted on Sunday, April 17th, 2016 by John Wood
No, it’s not Professor Desbonnet’s Paris Gym or Professor Attila’s Health Studio but the private gym of Kim Wood. Look closely and you’ll see a barbell that once belonged to Warren Lincoln Travis, a Dumbbell lifted by the great Apollon, a Jackson 1-A Barbell Set, an oak climbing ladder from the Narragansett Machine company and more than one Milo Kettlebell. There’s no finer gym in the land…
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.

Jowett On Finger Strength

Posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 by John Wood
A bit on finger lifting from George F. Jowett, circa, 1924:

“So far as lifting weights with the fingers goes, I believe that Warren Lincoln Travis is the best man in the world. He certainly is the best that I ever met, in raising weights off the floor with the aid of his fingers. I have seen him make several big lifts with two fingers, but the best he ever did was the time he celebrated his fiftieth birthday, when he raised the terrific weight of eight hundred and eighty-one and one-half pounds, using just one finger of each hand. I was the referee on that occasion, and was proud to see Travis raise the world’s record so high.

On the one finger lift, he has done around five hundred and sixty pounds, while John Pagano has also raised over five hundred pounds with one finger. The lift is not made with the bare finger, as you are no doubt aware. The finger could not grasp the object to lift it. The middle finger is used, and on it the lifter fits an iron eye that has a hook attached, which grabs the object to be lifted. It is necessary that the eye should fit tightly upon the finger up at the first joint, as close to the knuckle of the hand as possible, as the finger is crooked, the eye locks thereon. Just the same it has to be raised off the floor, and that takes power. The ligament of that finger becomes very thick. In some cases, I have seen it become so thick that it made the finger crooked. A few years ago I met an old Swedish lifter who had quit the profession, but in his day was claimed to be a great finger lifter. I remember quite well that the middle finger of his right hand was almost twice as large as any of his other fingers, just from practicing that lift.”

Unfortunately we don’t know the gent pictured above but he has a pretty sweet setup, and that barrel, if filled completely, must weigh somewhere between 300-400lbs. which makes a very worthy feat.

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.