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This is THE PLACE for incredible feats, classic and unique equipment, advertisements, magazine covers, Olympic Champions, gymnastics, myths and legends, oldtime physical culture and everything else you can think of having to do with the history of physical training! -- There aint nothin' like it anywhere else! You'll want to check back several times per day, we update often.

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Pete George, Fyodor Bogdanovsky and Ermanno Pignatti

Pete George of the USA, Fyodor Bogdanovsky of the USSR and Ermanno Pignatti of Italy compare hardware at the conclusion of the middle-weight class weightlifting at the 1956 Melbourne, Australia Olympic games. Taking place on November 24, 1956, Bogdanovsky totaled 420 kg, (a world record) for the gold, George totaled 412 kg for the silver and Pignatti totaled 382.5 kg for the bronze.

Masahiko Kimura

You've heard of the martial art submission hold known as the "Kimura?" ... well meet Mr. Kimura, as in Masahiko Kimura, widely thought of as the greatest judoka of all time. A google search will give you many more details of his amazing martial art success including his legendary defeat of Helio Gracie in 1949.

With the context of our blog, it is notable that his workouts consisted of 1000 pushups a day and plenty of head stands and bridging for neck development -- two important areas of development for any martial artist and both of which certainly stand out in the above photo which was taken sometime in the late 1930's

Jean-Louis Jean's Handstand

Jean-Louis Jean was a French bodybuilder who was also quite adept at acrobatics. At the 1958 European bodybuilding championships, held on July 26th of that year at the Casino de Trouville, Jean hit a spectacular handstand to show off his athletic prowess.  As you can see, the regular practice of handbalancing can certainly build a fine physique.

Louis Cyr and Horace Barre ~ John Robinson's $25,000 Challenge Feature

During the 1898 Circus Season, Canadian Strongman Louis Cyr and his assstant/protege' Horace Barre performed their unique feats of strength all around the country in the John Robinson Circus. As Cyr and Barre criss-crossed the map, John Robinson put up $25,000 for any person who could duplicate any ONE of their feats. Their performance included the back lift, Cyr's Barrel Lifting Feat, supporting feats, and lifting other heavy dumbbells or blockweights of various sizes and shapes. Adjusting for inflation, that would be nearly $600,000 today, and, ironically enough, their money would still be safe...

Franz 'Cyclops' Bienkowski

Franz Bienkowski, known professionally as 'Cyclops' , was the first lifter to introduce the bent press to Britain. His best performance in this lift was 250 pounds. Cyclops was a partner of Charles A. Sampson and rival to Sandow. His favorite feats though were breaking chains wrapped around his arms (shown here) as well as bending or breaking coins.

Sergo Ambartsumyan

Sergo Ambartsumyan was a great lifter of Armenian descent who was the Russian super-heavyweight champion from 1933 to 1935. In those days, competitive weightlifting consisted of five lifts: press, snatch, one-arm snatch, one-arm clean and jerk, clean and jerk. The above is a rare shot of Ambartsumyan's winning one-arm snatch at the 1933 Minsk championships.

Sargent's Head Lifting Machine

The Head Lifting Machine

When Dudley Allen Sargent became the physical director of Harvard University's famed Hemenway Gymnasium, he wanted to make sure the student body was as well-rounded as possible in their development.

Henceforth, Sargent devised several unique "machines" which could be used to fill in the gaps in areas that the conventional equipment of the day could not address (equally true today and the very same rational justification for any device which solves a problem or provides an advantage.)

One of the more interesting examples can be seen at the right, this "head lifting" machine offered a method for strengthening the neck and upper- back in a progressive and systematic manner.  This was the first dedicated machine to building neck strength ever created, clearly it was under stood that this was an important area.

Neck training is, of course, down- played or ignored in many modern programs which is a real shame since it is certainly no less important today than it was back then.

Warren Lincoln Travis ~ The Human Link!

Here's a classic and rare 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!

1906 Geneva Weightlifting Club

A look at the Geneva (Switzerland) weightlifting club, circa 1906 and some of their excellent training equipment. This was also a walking club -- which is still a winning combination for health a century later.

Jenkins Hudson

Who exactly is Jenkins Hudson, you ask? Only one of the most amazing stories in all of strength history. Hudson was four years into a stint in the Maryland Penitentiary in Baltimore, when a local gym owner Jack Lipsky volunteered to start teaching a weightlifting class to some of the inmates.  Hudson took part on a whim, and found he had the knack... With special permission of the Warden, Hudson was able to use all of his recreation periods for his weight training and six months later, won the New South Atlantic Weightlifing Championship with a 955 lb. total... also breaking two meet records in the process.

But the story doesn't end there:

In 1963, the U. S. National Prison Postal Weightlifting Championships took place, where 26 institutions from coast to coast took part on October 4th and 5th. Bob Hoffman and a large contingent from York, PA made the trip to the Maryland Penitentiary and Bill March also participated as a guest lifter. Jenkins Hudson achieved a 1015 pound  total, with lifts of a 340 lb. press, 300 lb. snatch and 375 lb. clean and jerk. On that day, Hudson bested March who was a 5-time National champion and his performance was not only the highest of the meet, it was also second highest total ever made in this weight class by an American at the time.

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