December 26, 2016
The great soviet Fyodor Bogdanovsky graces the cover of the November, 6, 1957 issue of Health and Strength Magazine above. At the time of this publication, the 1957 World Weightlifting Championships were just about to commence in Tehran, Iran. The above shot is actually from the 1955 World Championships held in Munich, Germany where Bogdanovsky finished with the Silver medal behind the America, Pete George in the middle weight class. In Tehran, Bogdanovsky again finished second, this time behind Tommy Kono (it was an epic battle: both lifters finished with an identical 420 kg total with Kono ultimately taking the Gold on bodyweight.)
December 26, 2016
The Italian strongman "Nino" figured out very early on that making a lift impressive went far beyond mere poundage, "what" was lifted was a big part of it too, and he had a flair for making his feats remarkable productions. Here's a perfect example: Nino as the fulcrum in a carousel consisting of two motor cars. This was the early 1900's so those cars had to weigh a few thousand pounds apiece, and to boot each was also filled with an additional four people. -- I'd certainly pay to see that.
December 26, 2016
Carl Hempe, of Easton, Pennsylvania, won the Medium class of the 1939 "America's Finest Physique" contest. A year later he competed (but did not place) in the 1940 AAU Mr. America contest. This led to a lifelong interest in physical training, here's Carl training in his back yard with a most excellent "log barbell."
December 26, 2016
I've shown plenty of shots of the inside of Sig Klein's Gym but here's a rare shot of the exterior. Klein's Gym was located at 717 Seventh Avenue in New York City and was hard to miss with the huge picture of Sig out front. The building is still there, if you know where to look.
December 19, 2016
Pierre Gasnier was the quintessential Oldtime Strongman: BIlled as the "French Hercules," He performed feats of strength for the Barnum and Bailey circus in the late 1890's: tearing decks of cards, bending horseshoes, breaking chains, and lifting his special "challenge weight" globe dumbbell shown here. The dumbbell had a handle of 2" in diameter and weighs 236 French Livres (which equals 260 pounds) Gasnier weighed only 138 pounds at a height of 5'3" yet was able to lift the weight with ease, a feat that such other noted strongmen such as Sebastian Miller, Hans Beck, and Franz "Cyclops" Bienkowski could not duplicate.
December 9, 2016
"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 right, a steady diet of bridge work is still a very good idea to build strength in the upper body and neck areas.
December 9, 2016
Here's an advertisement for "Professor Anthony Barker's Strength Maker" course featuring Warren Lincoln Travis, circa 1910. ...And does anyone else find it ironic that the headline touts the intelligent use of a barbell though the accompanying picture shows one of the least intelligent ways to do so?
December 9, 2016
Here's a fellow whose name and exploits seems to have slipped through the cracks of Iron History: Jacques Montane was the Amateur Card Tearing Champion of France in the early 1900's. His bests were 90 cards torn in half, 52 torn in quarters, 40 in eighths and 32 cards in sixteenths.
December 8, 2016
A shot of a young Doug Hepburn performing what amounts to a "muscle out" with a friend performing a handstand on his outstretched arms. This picture was taken around 1950, then, and for a few years prior, Doug was a lifeguard at Vancouver's famous Kitsilano beach. Doug took take a weight set with him and trained right on the sand -- this was one of the most productive periods of his life.
December 8, 2016
...But, regardless of their measurement, Sergio's arms are so big that they literally must be seen to be appreciated – and some people, upon first seeing them, are almost unable to believe their eyes; in a recent full-length picture of Sergio, the width of the flexed upper arms exceeded the height of Sergio's head – his arms were literally larger than his head, a size ratio never before approached by anybody else. Is that, then the "ultimate physique?" For most people, it is far beyond the limits imposed by individual potential; but it is almost certain that somebody will eventually exceed even Sergio's present size and proportions. I recently measured the "cold" upper arm of a 19 year old boy in New York at 19 1/2 inches, and with continued training this boy can almost certainly exceed Sergio's measurements – but he is at least six inches taller than Sergio, so even with Sergio's measurements he would not have Sergio's almost unbelievable proportions, would not give the "impression of size" that Sergio does. I am reasonably certain that Sergio could attain even more size with continued training – while maintaining or improving his present degree of muscularity (muscular definition), and if so, then his proportions would be almost unreal. But in the meantime, until he does get larger, or until somebody at least matches his present proportions, Sergio certainly does represent the "ultimate physique." Arthur Jones, Nautilus Bulletin #2

December, 2016