Norb gets most of the ink — and rightfully so — with multiple world records and Olympic medals under his belt, but Jerome wasn’t too shabby either, winning the Mr. Michigan bodybuilding title in 1943 and the the North American light-heavyweight lifting title (198 lbs.) in 1944. There was also another Schemansky brother, Dennis, who placed third in the heavyweight class (behind Steve Stanko and Louis Abele) at the 1939 AAU Sr. Nationals with an 805 lb. total. It’s a safe bet that the Schemansky’s could lay claim to “Michigan’s strongest Family.”
Here’s an impromptu shot you probably haven’t seen before: the “human barbell” is 215 pound Jerome Schemansky and the lifter is “little brother” Norb who, at the time, tipped the scales at only 200 pounds. This shot was taken at Yacos Gym in Detroit, circa 1947.
Bar”Belle” Norma Wieland lifts some interesting train-wheel weights at Yaco’s Gym in downtown Detroit, Circa 1945. Of course, something as nifty as a train-wheel barbell would have to come from Detroit. There is just something about the look and feel of unique training equipment that makes for better workouts. I bet those particular weights were fun to lift…
Over a century later, Arthur Saxon still holds the greatest bent press poundage ever recorded. The man who has come the closest under official conditions was Al Beinart who managed 330 pounds and trains at Yaco’s Gym in Detroit. The hardest part of the lift, according to Beinart, is getting the weight to the shoulders. This is the style that he used. and with 300+ pounds, that’s an impressive feat by itself.