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Sig Klein's Gym (Exterior)

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.

Pierre Gasnier: The French Hercules

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.

Victory Goes Over The Bridge!

"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.

How to Use Bar Bells...

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?

Jacques Montane ~ Amateur Card Tearing Champion of France

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.

Hepburn The Handbalancer

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.

Sergio Oliva ~ The Ultimate Physique

...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

Robert B. Snyder

There have been more than a few great strongmen who are not giants. A perfect example is Robert B. Snyder of Hagerstown, Maryland. As a boy he was inspired by the strongman from the Forepaugh & Sells circus and began training by lifting barrels and stones. He also taught himself hand balancing - something which he would become exceptionally good at.

At the age of 14 (weighing 116 pounds) Snyder lifted his first barbell -- a MILO barbell owned by a local strongman. Shortly afterward, Snyder began following MILO barbell course #1 and showed tremendous improvement... so much so that he was featured in Bernarr MacFadden's Physical Culture Magazine as well as Alan Calvert's STRENGTH Magazine.

At his heaviest, Snyder weighed only 139 pounds yet was incredibly strong easily performing multiple one-arm chins with each hand as well as lifting poundages well above bodyweight. Above, Snyder performs the one-arm get up lift with a human weight.

Stone Lifting in Ancient Greece

Every ancient culture has evidence of stone lifting as a method of physical preparation. The Ancient Greeks, for example, often portrayed stone lifting and other athletic events on their pottery.

This image adorned a vase and dates to about 450BC and shows a young man lifting a smaller stone in either hand. It is said that this image shows the "weightlifting" event at the very first Olympic games, stones weighing as much as 300 lbs. were said to have been used in the contest.

Bruce White - Rafter Pinch Grip Chin Ups

It would be impressive to be able to hold your bodyweight off the ground by pinch gripping rafters but far beyond that is doing an actual pullup with that kind of grip. Here Australian Grip Master Bruce White does just that -- and this was just a warmup -- White could perform same with additional weight tied to his waist!
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