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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 ain't nothin' like it anywhere else! You'll want to check back several times per day, we update often.

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The Farmer Burns School of Wrestling and Physical Culture

It had to be quite an experience to train at the Farmer Burns School of Wrestling and Physical Culture. Farmer Burns believed that every athlete should train like a wrestler - and I agree.

The bulk of the training was, I'm sure wrestling -- holds, take-downs, blocks, breaks and plenty of sparring. Of course, the "Old Farmer" knew that wrestling was only "part" of what made a good wrestler -- physical training was important too. He had his students throw the medicine ball around, hit the speed bag, jump rope, use light dumbbells, develop their chests with breathing exercises, use traveling rings, swing indian clubs, climb ropes, and do enough calisthenics in order to make them stronger, tougher and more conditioned than any man willing to step in the ring with them. The advertisement above is from 1920.

Edward Aston

From 1911 to 1934, Edward Aston held the title of 'Britain's Strongest Man' and judging by this picture, it's not hard to see why. One of Aston's "Secrets" was to pay particular attention to strengthening the grip and forearm. He employed a number of different exercises to build his hand strength but one of his favorites was to do one-arm timed hangs from a climbing rope.

Gotch vs. Hackenschmidt

The greatest pro wrestling match ever held is undoubtedly on April 3rd, 1908 when the Frank Gotch and George "The Russian Lion" Hackenschmidt stepped in the ring to face each other after years of build-up. The undefeated Hackenschmidt was favored to win but after two hours of grappling, he finally submitted to an ankle lock by the American Champion Gotch. The match took place at Chicago's Dexter Park Pavilion. The referee (middle, above) was Ed Smith.

Gotch and Hacenschmidt would face each other once again on September 4, 1911, this time at Comiskey Park stadium in front of 30,000 fans. Gotch won the rematch in two straight falls and would go on to hold the heavyweight title until he retired in 1913.

The 13th National Japan Athletic Meet

Each year, Japan holds a country-wide Sport festival which takes place in three stages: skating and hockey taking place in January, skiing in February and the main tournament taking place in September/October. The above was a commemorative envelope for the weightlifting event created for the 13th edition of the National Sport Festival which began on October 19, 1958. The location of the event changes each year and the 1958 edition took place in the Toyama prefectures. Unfortunately this lifter's name was not listed but it may be Shigeo Kogure.

Sergio's Other Job

Sergio Oliva's "real" job was a Chicago police officer, a position he held for 27 years. With a 60 inch chest and 20 inch arms, unsurprisingly, his uniforms had to be custom made. You'd probably think twice about littering with this guy walking toward you.

David P. Willoughby

Strength author and historian David Willoughby gracing the cover of the January, 1936 edition of the British physical culture magazine "Superman." Willoughby was the AAU Southern California AAU weightlifting champion from 1923-1926 and eventually went on to author countless books, articles and training courses. He also owned a successful gym in the Los Angeles area -- the same gym where Bert Goodrich got his start.

Joseph Barton Kohen "The American Hercules"

Joseph Barton Kohen "The American Hercules" (also sometimes known as "The Allegheny Hercules" based on his hometown of Allegheny, PA), was a well known feature in Bernarr MacFadden's early Physical Culture Magazines. In fact, he was one of the very first strongmen to ever appear on a magazine cover. Kohen also secured himself one of the first endoresement deals ever, he appeared in many ads promoting VIGORAL, the delicious beefy drink from Armour & Company in Chicago. Check out that sweet training gear (and his hair was perfect.)

Rolandow The Jumper

The great strongman G.W. Rolandow was very well known for his traditional feats of strength and the oldtime equipment that bears his name but he also excelled at feats of jumping prowess.

Here, Rolandow jumps over a 36-inch high, 25-inch wide table with a 65 lb. dumbbell in each hand. His best jump was with a pair of 75's - try that some time and you'll appreciate this feat a heck of a lot more.

Fyodor Bogdanovsky

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.)

Nino The Carousel

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.
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