Gustav Fristensky ~ The Bohemian Hercules

Posted on Monday, April 9th, 2012 by John Wood
Gustav Fristensky Bohemian Hercules
Czechoslovakian-born Gustav Fristensky was known professionally as “The Bohemian Hercules” — and he was aptly named. Fristensky once ran the 100 meter dash in 14 seconds, which isn’t bad, but consider that it was also while carrying an extra 90 kg in his hands. Fristensky was also very good at repetition lifting, having been able to jerk 176 pounds 26 times and 220 pounds 18 times.

Like many strongmen of the day he was also an exceptional wrestler (amateur and later pro). Fristensky’s coach was none other than the great Estonian strength athlete Georg Lurich.

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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 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.

Unknown Strongman #3

Posted on Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 by John Wood

Unknown Strongman #3

Unknown Strongman #3… We’ll never know his name but he has some sweet weights. Based on his attire, it looks like he may have been a wrestler as well.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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.

Georg Lurich

Posted on Sunday, March 18th, 2012 by John Wood

George Lurich

Estonian born Georg Lurich was a great wrestler and strongman during the early 1900’s. He was was a great friend and training partner to George Hackenschmidt (It was actually Lurich who introduced Hackenschmidt to weightlifting.) Lurich’s brother-in-law was Alex Aberg, another champion wrestler of the time period.


Lurich won the World Greco-Roman Wrestling Championship in 1912 and was the last man to face Frank Gotch before Gotch retired in 1913. As far as strength feats, among others, Lurich is credited with a one-arm jerk of 267 lbs., and a two-arm clean & jerk of 344 lbs — both of which would still be impressive today.

The Great Gama: Lion of The Punjab

Posted on Sunday, March 4th, 2012 by John Wood

The Great Gama: Lion of The Punjab

Ghulam Muhammad, The Great Gama, is the greatest Pehlwan, or Indian wrestler, who ever lived. He is the only wrestler to remain undefeated throughout the course of his entire career which spanned over 5000 matches.

The Great Gama publicly challenged all comers and easily defeated the likes of the American Champion Dr. Benjamin Roller (who he “threw” 13 times in 15 minutes), Stanislaus Zbyszko of Poland, the European John Lemm of Switzerland, and Maurice Deriaz of France. Interestingly, Gotch and Hackenschmidt refused to face him.

Gama’s daily training routine consisted of thousands of traditional squats and pushups… and after seeing him train, many would-be challengers wanted no part. The object Gama is seen holding here was not a piece of training equipment but an ornamental scepter known as a Gurz, the Indian Wrestling version of the Championship Belt.

Paul Pons

Posted on Friday, February 24th, 2012 by John Wood

Paul Pons

Paul Pons won what is recognized as the very first wrestling world championship in 1898. Pons would go on to win several more world championships in 1899, 1900, 1902, 1903, 1904 and 1910. Like most wrestlers of the day, Pons was also a strongman, and, as a matter of fact, Apollon’s training partner. Though Pons put most of his focus toward his wrestling, he did accomplish several notable strength feats, among them briefly holding the world record in the “Two Hands Anyhow” with a lift of 129 kg. For most of his life, Pons ran a wrestling and physical training gymnasium in Paris where he, Apollon, Batta and many other great French strength athletes trained.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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.

Clevio Massimo

Posted on Friday, February 3rd, 2012 by John Wood

Italian Strongman Clevio Massimo Lifting a Giant Kettlebell

Now THAT’S a Kettlebell! …Antonio Clevio Massimo Sabatino, professionally known as Clevio Massimo, was born in Opi Labruza, Italy in 1895. When only a small boy he immigrated into the US and made Buffalo, New York his home. Shortly after finishing high school, Clevio Massimo toured the country performing strongman feats, hand balancing, adagio dancing and muscle control and for a time, even ventured into professional wrestling.  You can find out more about Clevio Massimo in The Mark Berry Bar Bell Courses.

Karl Abs ~ The German Oak

Posted on Thursday, November 17th, 2011 by John Wood

Karl Abs, Holding a Globe Barbell

Karl Abs, known as “The German Oak” was the first man in Germany to continental and jerk 330 pounds… he accomplished this feat back in 1885. Abs also won the European Greco-Roman Heavyweight Championship in 1894.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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.