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
The NEW Bodybuilding
for Old-School Results
Eliminate confusion, develop confidence and gain bigger and stronger muscles – faster than ever before!
Arthur Jones, feeding one of his baby elephants. Note the machine gun with a banana clip – this guy means business.

The man looked like the Devil himself and then threatened to kill me less than 20 minutes after we met…

He lunged at me but I was too quick and dodged his advance but then with a quick move he grabbed me by the scruff of the neck…

“Look kid, the smartest and toughest men in the world have mustaches … I have one and your dad doesn’t!”… but I broke free from his grasp … then like a cat I jumped up on the windowsill, sprang through the air and got him right in his bad shoulder with a flying drop-kick…

So went my introduction to Arthur Jones and probably the only fight that Arthur ever lost … I was six years old at the time.

Arthur Jones was the roughest, toughest, meanest and smartest Iron Game pioneer who ever walked the Earth and the man who revolutionized strength training forever. His ideas influenced millions of people to start training in the most effective manner possible. Now these same ideas will help YOU build TWICE the strength in HALF the time.

Fast Forward A Decade…

Here, read this,” said my Dad as he handed me a thick folder full of Xeroxed sheets of paper.

I was fifteen years old — just a freshman in high school — and starting to get into strength training in a serious way. I was looking for the best way to get as big and as strong as I possibly could for the next football season.

So I took the folder and, without looking too closely at it, noticed that it contained a series of training articles written by Arthur Jones; a name I vaguely recalled from the past.

This was a lot of material to go through and I originally intended to throw it in some forgotten corner of my room and get around to it when I had more time (probably never). The thing is, as I walked up to my room, I took a closer look at what was really inside and when I saw the first few pages, I stopped in my tracks… I couldn’t take another step.

I knew instantly that this was information that I had to read RIGHT NOW. I took a seat right there at the top of the stairs and began to read…

Understand, I had seen books on strength training — lots of them. I had seen plenty of training courses too, and a fair share of “muscle comics.” They were all pretty much the same … what I was reading right then was a whole different animal. Those articles were like nothing I had ever seen before. A few hours went by but it only felt like a few minutes as I made my way through the material. I read everything.

When I got done, I felt 10 feet tall, like I had found diamonds as big as basketballs in my own backyard. No more confusion – I now possessed the keys to super strength.

That day my life (and my training) changed forever.

Strength training had never been explained to me this way before. Many of the things about strength training that I had previously been confused about now made perfect sense. Arthur Jones’ ideas gave me a clear picture of exactly what I needed to do and exactly how I needed to do it in order to get stronger.

Within those pages, I learned the foundations (almost a step-by-step blueprint) for understanding the fundamental building-blocks of Strength development. All that was left was to do it, and now I had the Confidence to know I was on the right path.

Dr. Darden Strikes Again!
Dr. Ellington Darden

Many people had the same experience when they first read some of Arthur’s materials.

Over four decades ago, when Arthur Jones unleashed his training philosophy on an unsuspecting world, it soon spread like wildfire. It made a heck of a lot of sense to thousands upon thousands of trainees all over the country and the world, and in practice, worked better than anything else than they ever tried.

Among the many people who achieved tremendous results were Ellington Darden, a Champion Bodybuilder and Ph.D. who not only had many published training articles under his belt, but graced the cover of many strength magazines of the time.

Ellington Darden got his hands on all of Arthur Jones’ articles and liked what he read.  Darden eventually trained under Arthur Jones and ended up achieving the best results he had ever experienced — Darden was a previous collegiate Mr. America contest winner, so this was really saying something. Training with Arthur Jones had such a big impact that Ellington Darden has been writing about it ever since. Dr. Darden has the unique distinction of being there throughout the entire Nautilus phenomenon so he can definitely tell you the real deal.

Today, with nearly 50 books to his credit on a variety of subjects, now Dr. Darden takes it back to where it all began in this modern classic…

Enter: The New Bodybuilding for Old-School Results
by Ellington Darden, Ph.D.

Was Arthur Jones a Genius… Or a Madman?

There might be a pretty good case for him being both. Imagine stepping into a time machine to see and hear from the people who were actually there to learn the real story behind Nautilus, Arthur Jones and the whole ball of wax – Now you can!

Casey Viator (Pictured) was Arthur’s top student and, at 19 years old, the youngest Mr. America winner in history, you’ll be able to read an interview all about Casey’s life and his training starting on page 124.

At over 300 pages,”New Bodybuilding” is part history lesson, part training guide and one thing is for sure: there has never been anything like it before in the world of strength training. This book would be a valuable addition to your Strength library for just the Golden Age photos alone.: we’re talking hundreds of classic shots.

Here is just a sample of the things you will find in its pages:

10 Classic Interviews with the top individuals in the strength industry

Hear the real story from the men who lived it:

Kim Wood – Hall of Fame Strength Coach and Strength Legend

Ben Sorenson – Manager of Vic Tanny’s famous gym in Santa Monica (near Muscle Beach) from 1947-1949 and Arthur’s first training partner

Jim Flanagan – Arthur’s right hand man who reminisces about Milo Steinborn, the last of the oldtime strongmen; Jim describes what it was like to train in Steinborn’s Gym.

Casey Viator – The youngest Mr. America ever and Arthur’s top student. Read what Casey recalls about his most grueling exercise sessions with Arthur.

Roger Schwab – Owner of Mainline Nautilus, Philadelphia, PA, behind-the-scenes Strength Legend and REAL Trainer of Champions

Joe Mullen – Iron Game Veteran who teaches you the secrets of the one arm chin-up

Boyer Coe – Champion Bodybuilder: Mr. America 1969, Mr. Universe 1969,

Dan Riley – 25 year NFL Strength coach Veteran, holder of three Superbowl Rings (Including 3 Football Specific Training Routines)

Werner Kieser – Old School Intensity from Germany

Wes Brown – “Pumping Iron and Nautilus” – How Arnold Trained during his most famous film

Andy McCutcheon – HIT enthusiast from England, who outlines how he was able to break the British record for pushups (doing 107 in 60 seconds), and his training with Multiple Mr. Olympia Winner Dorian Yates.

  • Intensity vs. Form: Which is more important? – and the reasons you should know why
  • The Real meaning of “Old School” Training – Which probably isn’t what you think it is..
  • A look into the Past – Muscle Beach, the modern Muscle Mecca where Arthur began serious training at Vic Tanny’s Gym
  • How Kim Wood knew about Arthur Jones well over a decade before he met him in person and well before his Nautilus days
  • The real story behind the first appearance of “The Blue Monster” – Culver City, California 1970
  • The truth about Kim Wood’s unique “200 Reps” Routine
  • The most important goal for any football-strength related program and why most football training routines are worthless
  • What made Cincinnati Bengals Nose Tackle Tim Krumrie stand out above just about every football player who ever lived? – Check out his brief 4-set training routine
  • Boyer Coe’s “unvarnished” Championship Bicep and Tricep Routine, which only requires simple equipment that can be found in every gym
  • The 7 most important tips for getting the best results from any arm program Think you need to train for hours? – WRONG! wait until you find out just how long a proper arm development routine should take
  • The amazing influence of Confidence in your training program and how to use it to your best advantage
  • 6 Step-by-Step tips to the perfect pushup and 5 steps to performing proper negative-pushups
  • The single set vs. multiple set debate, now settled once and for all
  • The Best of the Bulletins – The collected wit and Wisdom of Arthur Jones
  • The 18 different signs of overtraining and 10 different ways to guard against them
  • Repetition Ranges: Low, Medium, High – Which is Best?
  • The value of negative-only training and how to do it correctly A simple test to help you know your optimum rep range
  • 9 “Beyond Failure” Techniques to stimulate maximum muscle growth
  • Just what was “The Happiness Machine” and Why just one workout on it would wreck your whole week
  • How to correctly perform Negative-only chin-ups and 2 different negative-chin-up routines
  • How Motor Learning Helps Strength Training: Stable Answers for Shaky Practices
  • The 3 types of motor “transfer” and what you have to know about each one
  • Metabolic Conditioning – What it is and why you need to know about it
  • How to perform Metabolic Conditioning workouts with Machines or with barbells
  • 7 Training “Rules” and why your workout won’t “work” without them

  • The precision workout chart and the best way to measure your progress
  • 3 reasons why split routines MAY or MAY NOT be right for you.
  • Find out what happened the time when Arthur Jones trained Legendary wrestler Dan Gable
A Unique Glimpse Into The Iron Game’s Past:
What was Old is New Again
The great Steve Reeves – some VERY interesting and little-known details of his training are revealed in chapter I
Milo Steinborn settled in Florida when his wrestling career ended and mentored a young Jim Flanagan, details are in chapter 11
Warren Lincoln Travis, the legendary strongman, still has few things to teach you about strength training a century later…

The truth is you can only look as far forward as you can see into the past. What if you could be a fly on the wall and listen in on how some of the strongest men of all time trained?

How about a look at their unique training equipment?

In The New Bodybuilding for Old-School Results you will learn about many interesting things from the Golden Age of Strength training – the men and the methods that paved the foundations for today…

Take a journey back to the Turn of the Century with Oldtime Strongman Warren Lincoln Travis, or strength star Henry “Milo” Steinborn (who owned and ran the first commercial gym in America.)

Go back to the sands of the original Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, California circa 1948 and learn how bodybuilding legend Steve Reeves used to train at Vic Tanny’s Gym. You’ll also learn about many more Iron Game greats: John Grimek, George Eiferman, Marvin Eder, Freddy Ortiz… Casey Viator, Sergio Oliva, Boyer Coe, Mike & Ray Mentzer… the list goes on and on!

How’s This for Old-School Strength?

Here I am doing a few wrist curls with an antique dumbbell that once belonged to the French Strongman, Apollon (Yes, that Apollon), from chapter 30, (which I helped write): Iron-Vise Grip Strength: A Fistful of Power. Find out more on page 272.

You Want Training Routines?

Most training courses provide plenty of “theory” but little that you can actually do. The New Bodybuilding for Old School Results doesn’t just provide a ton of workouts for you to try but gives you the very Best workouts – the exact workouts – that have been used successfully again and again for decades. Get the book, read it, and 10 minutes later you’ll be able use the same workout that the champs do:

Try these out for size:

The Classic Nautilus Machine Circuit from 1975

The Nautilus Negative-Only Routine

HIT (High Intensity Training) A-B Foundational Routine

HIT Thigh Emphasis Routine

HIT Mid-section Emphasis Routine

HIT Change of Pace Routine

HIT Overall Body Routine

HIT Back-Chest Emphasis Routine

The 5 “Core” Movements Routine

HIT Abbreviated Routine

HIT A-B-C Arm Specialization Routine

HIT A-B Basic Routine

The BIG Routine

The 3-Day Split

The 4 Day Contra-Lateral Split

2 different negative-chin-up routines

6 Cadence Variations

8 Ways to Specialize on Calves with the most productive calf cycle ever created

Rediscover the lost art of rib-cage development/Chest Expansion

How to stretch, breathe, and contract during the recommended exercises

The “Shoulders for Soldiers” Deltoid Routine

The “Fistful of Power” Iron-Vise Grip Routine

Not Just for Bodybuilders But
ALL Strength Athletes

One of the biggest reasons for failure among many trainees is that they never fully learned how to train in the first place. They have no clue as to why certain exercises should be done in certain ways — and the results, if there are any, are often mediocre at best.

The truth is that every person in the world is essentially the same in some very fundamental ways – and every person in this world gains strength through the same processes. The principles outlined in this book will help you understand these processes which will allow your to become super strong, no matter what you are training for and no matter what equipment you are using.

As you can see, The New Bodybuilding for Old-School Results by Ellington Darden Ph.D. is chocked full of valuable information. There is enough here to point anyone in the right direction for Super Strength – 300+ pages, over 40 training routines, hundreds of pictures, interviews with All-Time Iron Game Legends and more!!

Order now!The New Bodybuilding for Old-School Results by Ellington Darden:
___________$39.99 plus s/h

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.