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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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Joan Rhodes

There weren't many woman strength acts but there were a few and the most notable was London-born Joan Rhodes. For decades, "The Iron Lady" bent steel bars and ripped phone books with the best of them ~ all even more impressively while wearing high heels!

Jaan Talts

Jaan Talts was an Estonian weightlifter who competed for the Soviet Union in the late 60's and early 1970's. Talts won Olympic Gold (Munich, 1972) and Silver (Mexico City, 1968) and set 43 world records in his career. Hard to tell but this may be his winning clean and jerk at the 1972 USSR Championships. Dig that awesome Russian weight set!

The Iron Neck of Charles Highfield

We have featured young Charles Highfield before but here he is one more time with an even more remarkable feat: here the Coventry lad, only 14 years old at the time, is supporting the full weight of his father on his throat! ~ I'm certainly impressed.

Hackenschmidt's Bridge

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. 

Squat!

Why was John Davis a multi-time World champion and record holder? One reason was that he took his squatting seriously. In fact, heavy squats have built the foundation of some of the greatest strength athletes in history. Here's a look at the great John Davis squatting at Ed Yarick's Gym in Oakland, California in the 50's. That's 400 lbs. and he makes it look easy. No monkey business there, just pure power development. I don't generally recommend squatting with a board under the heels but it seems to work for John Davis, who was Twice Olympic Weightlifting Champion (1948 and 1952) and Six Time Senior World Weightlifting Champion (1938, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951).

The Rasso Trio

A look at one of the later iterations of "The Rasso Trio" consisting of Heinrich Herzog, Godefroy Nordmann and Jacob Bauer. (Nordmann was an original member). They were active in the mid to late 1890's as indicated by their quite impressive forearm development.

Fred Rollon

Many old timers built powerful bodies with Chest Expanders, and of them, Fred Rollon was the greatest. While many strongmen frowned upon Chest Expanders as a means of testing strength, prefering weights instead, Rollon was never beaten at cable pulling. For sheer muscular separation in the upper body, no one has yet surpassed Rollon. In fact, he was often called "The Human Anatomy Chart." A look at this photo has started many bodybuilders and young trainees into more vigorous training with Chest Expanders and other strength cables.

MacFadden's Muscle Builder, July, 1926

Here's one NOT to try at home: Daredevil Kurizo hangs precariously by his fingertips off a building ledge in New York City (looks like about twenty stories up.) This was the cover of the July, 1926 issue of Bernarr MacFadden's Muscle Builder magazine (also the very last issue.)

Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield

One bodybuilder who "made good" was Mickey Hargitay, who married the famous blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield in 1958. Hargitay rose through the ranks in the AAU Mr. America contests in the early fifties before winning the NABBA Mr. Universe title in 1955. He trained at Bob Higgins' Gym in Indianapolis, Indiana and in York, PA on occasion. Hargitay appeared on the cover of a number of strength magazines throughout his career and at some point and unbeknownst to just about everyone, he had his own signature line of weights. Mickey and Jayne's daughter Mariska became a big star on the show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and you'll see her on TV just about every night of the week.

You Can Build 20" Arms by Gene Mozee

For about fifty years, you couldn't open up a muscle magazine and not find Gene Mozee's name. He got his start as Editor-in-Chief of the Walt Marcyan's Physical Power Magazine. Mozee noticed that better pictures would do a more effective job of illustrating training articles and so he began to study photography. It wasn't long before he was one of the premier bodybuilding photographers in the country.

Mozee also authored thousands of training articles and courses including this one You Can Build 20" Arms which came out in the early 70's. If you are lucky enough to have a copy, Mozee's 10 minute arm routine is a great quick mass builder. It might even put an inch on your arm in one month!

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