Farmer Burns: The Hangman’s Drop

Posted on Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 by John Wood
Farmer Burns built his neck strength to such an advanced level that he could literally “hang” himself with a noose, including the drop, — and live (all the while whilst whistling Yankee Doodle!) That’s pretty intense as this rare photograph shows (DO NOT try this at home.) His theory was simple — one of the most important physical training goals of any combat athlete is to build the neck to the point that no one can choke you out. The “Old Farmer” built up his neck strength with his favorite exercise: The Wrestler’s Bridge.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

Training for Gotch

Posted on Sunday, December 10th, 2017 by John Wood
George Hackenshmidt drew a crowd while in training to face Frank Gotch for the second time, in Chicago in 1911. Hack is shown here building his neck strength with the the wrestler’s bridge. His training partners Dr. Benjamin Roller and Gus ‘Americus’ Schoenlein, look on.

Extreme Neck Strength in Action

Posted on Thursday, September 28th, 2017 by John Wood

I was going through some old tapes and while I knew I had the still photo, I found some footage that I didn’t even know I had. About ten years ago, Pat “The Human Vise” Povilaitis and some other buddies all got together at my house in Cincinnati, and well, when strong hombres get together, sometimes interesting things happen. Here’s Pat bending a spike while standing atop yours truly, John Wood, while I’m holding a nose-to-mat neck bridge. The video quality isn’t great, but hey, we had to take what we could get back in the day. (Video has sound.)
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

Victory Goes Over The Bridge!

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

“Victory Goes Over The Bridge!” – That was a favorite saying of the great wrestler Karl Gotch and the above picture shows why. Mr. Gotch has just caught his opponent in his finishing move, “The German Suplex” which is both devastating and near unstoppable, and the only way you can add this move to your repertoire would be to learn to bridge properly: nose to mat.

And even if you don’t have any interest in stepping in the ring, a steady diet of bridge work is still a very good idea to build strength in the upper body and neck areas.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

Tyson’s Neck

Posted on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 by John Wood
Tyson’s Neck

Above you’ll see an iconic photo for several reasons:

1.) There is no question who is is, even when seen from the back, which I find pretty awesome.

2.) Mr. Tyson made many bad decisions in his life, but one of the good ones was to make a point to build a big, strong neck. Genetics undoubtedly DID have a had in it, but he also did specific training, as you’ll see in the rare video clip below. Obviously this is pretty important if your occupation is boxing (or any other full-contact sport.)

3. This photograph was pinned to the bulletin board of my home weightroom as I was growing up. Aside from the many benefits that neck training brings to any high school football player (especially one with a long neck, like I have) an aspect that should not be overlooked is that “image” is pretty important to young folks, and this photo “got over” the idea that a bigger neck was a relatively easy way to “look strong,” ideally for the purpose of picking up girls –Inspiration (and motivation) often comes from unusual sources. Whether or not this was the intended result is unclear, but I certainly benefited greatly onfield and off in either case.

Interestingly, I recently came across this footage of the great modern boxer Anthony Joshua doing some excellent bridging — this is impressive, someone clearly showed him how to do it right.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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 Wrestler’s Bridge

Posted on Friday, December 11th, 2015 by John Wood

THIS is why wrestlers practice bridging ~ a strong neck may just be the only thing keeping the shoulders off the mat. This outstanding example of bridging occurred at the 1936 Berlin Olympics Greco-Roman wrestling event. The fellow doing the bridging is Germany’s Kurt Hornfischer (who won the Bronze medal) while Estonia’s Kristjan Palusalu is up top going for the pin. (Palusalu quite impressively took the Heavyweight gold in both the freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling events in Berlin.)

Hackenschmidt’s Bridge

Posted on Monday, January 19th, 2015 by John Wood
A look at George Hackenschmidt demonstrating perfect form in the wrestler’s bridge around 1910. This exercise has obvious merit for wrestlers but can be an awesome method for developing neck and upper-back strength. Bridging will also strengthen the spine and may even make you slightly taller so it’s a good one to have in your bag of tricks.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

Farmer Burns on the Wrestler’s Bridge

Posted on Thursday, December 18th, 2014 by John Wood
“I wish to impress upon all my students the great value of physical training connected with the bridge exercise. I want you to practice bridging every day, for you can find nothing that will develop the neck and back muscles to such an extent as bridging will do.

You already realize the importance of a very strong neck and it is entirely up to you to have a wonderful neck or not, depending entirely on the amount of study, and time of practice that you give the subject. A strong, well-developed neck is not only valuable to health and your personal athletic appearance, but important in wrestling as well.”

~ Farmer Burns, 1912

Lurich’s Bridge

Posted on Thursday, September 25th, 2014 by John Wood

A look at the great Estonian strongman/wrestler Georg Lurich giving a few friends “a lift” in the wrestler’s bridge, sometime around 1910. As someone who has a little experience with bridging with additional (human) weight, I can tell you that this feat is as impressive as they come.

Ellington Darden’s Neck

Posted on Friday, March 7th, 2014 by John Wood

Like many young trainees, Ellington Darden wanted to build size and strength, but unlike many of his peers, he wanted a bigger neck to go with a bigger pair of arms. Throughout junior high and high school, he focused specifically on his neck work, primarily using the wrestler’s bridge and a Neck Helmet.

He continued this neck program in college, which was especially important while playing football. It paid off… When he graduated from Baylor University in 1966, at a body weight of 215 pounds, Ell sported a genuine 18-inch neck.

Unsurprisingly, neck training was always a part of Darden’s training books and courses. You’ll find many good neck training training ideas in this book, which was especially written with football preparation in mind.