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Grimek Training With The Automatic Exerciser

John Grimek loved to train with just about everything. Here's the man getting in a quick set of deadlifts with one of Professor Schmidt's Automatic Exerciser machines from way, way, way back in the day. Schmidt machines were a pretty nifty idea even back then, someone should see about bringing them back...
Tags: John Grimek

The Half-Moon Bench

To the oldtime bodybuilders and strength athletes "Chest Development" used to mean stretching and enlarging the rib cage, not working the pecs (which is what it has become today.) The theory behind this was simple, the deep breathing from intense leg work (i.e. squats combined with light pullovers did so very effectively. Enlarging the rib box meant wider shoulders and a much greater potential for upper-body growth.

To make the technique more effective, a half-moon bench was often used. These unusual pieces of equipment used to be commonplace in many gyms although you're more likely to win the lottery than find one these days.

To find out more about leg work, pullovers and chest expansion techniques, you'll want to check out: Super Squats by Randall J. Strossen, The Complete Keys to Progress by John McCallum and The New Bodybuilding for Oldschool Results by Ellington Darden.

Archie Vanderpool

If you want to practice heavy partial deadlifts or hand-and-thigh lifts, you'll want a setup like Archie Vanderpool here. The strongman (and proud member of the York Barbell Club) from Woodbine, Iowa, specialized on a number of unusual -- and very heavy -- lifts. For example, his record in the lift shown was 1840 pounds. He also liked to do things like shouldering a 1100 pound railroad rail and then going for a walk.

He also reported carrying a barbell loaded to 400 pounds for a distance of 80 feet. If this looks and sounds familiar, it's because Archie was good friends with Steve Justa's father.

"Ya Gotta Use Your Head!"

Steve Jeck is fond of saying that "if you want to be a great stone lifter then ya gotta use your head." Here, he shows what he means -- at least in one sense. I don't know the weight of that particular stone but it sure doesn't look light.
Tags: Steve Jeck

Val De Genaro

The York Lifters all used to practice the bent press because the lift built incredible core strength. This, in turn, helped in increasing the Olympic Lifting total. One of the most talented of the bent pressers was Val De Genaro who could lift 215 pounds. Bob Hoffman said that De Genaro had the most perfect bent press technique that he had ever seen. Perhaps due in great part to his bent pressing ability, as a 148 pound lifter, De Genaro could Jerk 290 pounds.

He was also an excellent hand balancer who could walk the length of a football field on his hands.

Classic Polish Globe Weights

Great equipment practically begs to be used and I would say that would definitely be the case here. These classic Globe Barbells, Dumbbells, Kettlebells and Blockweights from a century ago can be found in a Polish Museum.

Unknown Indian Club Swinger

We unfortunately don't know much about this club swingin' gent but this picture was probably taken in the late 1800's. He does have some snappy duds and an excellent mustache though.

Renald and Rudy

"Renald and Rudy" were one of the premier handbalancing acts of the vaudeville age. For almost three decades, they traveled all over the country and later appeared on several television shows performing their incredible handbalancing skills. Here they are showing off a bit at the original Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, CA in the early 1950's.

The Reg Park Muscle Builder

The Reg Park Muscle Builder! You got a 10-strand cable outfit ... a wall pulley attachment ... a headstrap ... foot stirrups ... two hand grips ... a mighty chest exercises ... a rowing machine ... and some free courses which gave instructions on how to uses it all. All in all, a pretty sweet deal. Who knows how many youngsters got started on the road to health and strength with this setup? Quite a few, I bet.

Sandow's Health & Strength Cocoa

These days, a lot of folks recommend a big glass of chocolate milk as the best post-workout drink for muscle growth. Perhaps ol' Sandow was on to something a hundred years ago when he came out with his own Health and Strength Cocoa.
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