New Blog

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.

Keep in mind that what you see on this page only the tip of the iceberg, check our Archive Section for all our back posts. If you are looking for any subject in particular, please try our Search page

If you want to "like" this section of our blog, please use the button above, otherwise, each individual post has it's own unique "like" button located in the upper right. Please share anything you find of interest with anyone you know who might like it!

Barrel Lifting at "The Pit"

No matter how you slice it, barrel lifting is a great workout, as shown on this classic cover of Hardgainer Magazine (issue #30, May-June 1994 ). In this shot, Bob Farris from Dick Conner's place "The Pit" Barbell Club in Evansville, Indiana presses a 150-pound water-filled barrel for 13 reps. If you've ever trained with barrels, you know this is STRONG!

Tullus Wright: The American Sampson

Tullus Wright, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, traveled the country in the late 1800's, performing in fairs and carnivals as "The American Sampson." Here's a look at a few of his great stage weights. Note the thick handles on Wright's equipment. He was good friends with George Zottman.

Paul Von Boeckmann: Chest Expansion Specialist

Paul Von Boeckmann was a strongman from New York City toward the end of the 19th century. Over time, he developed a unique system of chest expansion methods which allowed him to build "the largest and most powerful lungs in the world" according to his advertisements.

Above, the strap around his chest is the same length in both pictures. He was able to inflate and deflate his chest to an incredible degree: an 11-1/2 inch difference. His lung capacity was listed at an astounding 410 cubic inches.

The 1946 U.S. World Weightlifting Team

A look at most of the 1946 U.S. World Weightlifting Team left to right: John Davis, Emerick Ishikawa, Frank Spellman, John Terpak, Stan Stanczyk, and coach Bob Hoffman. (not pictured: Frank Kay)

This was the first team to lift against the Russians. Davis and Stanczyk both won Gold, Terpak and Kay took Silver and Spellman took Bronze. The Russians entered ten lifters to only six from the US but the US came back with the team championship.

Reg Park in a Suit...

Three-time Mr. Universe Reg Park in a suit... still looking as big as life.

Jack LaLanne

Jack LaLanne once did 1033 pushups in one hour, swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf while handcuffed and towing a fleet of boats, and starred in the longest running fitness show in the history of television. Here's Jack as a young man working on his one-arm chins.

Baillargeon's Backlift

Here's a rare shot of Adrian Baillargeon (of the great Baillargeon Brothers) performing a backlift of well over 3000 pounds.

The Hip Lift

One of the most interesting training techniques of the Oldtime Strongmen is to use short-range movements with very heavy weights. This not only gives a super workout for the muscles, but strengthens the tendons, ligaments and bones and also gives the psychological boost of being able to lift far above what you would normally be able to.

Here's John Grimek, training his legs by performing a Hip Lift with what looks like 600 lbs. or so. To find out more about how Grimek trained, you'll want to pick up a copy of the Mark Berry Bar Bell Courses (which features this famous picture on the cover).

Archie Vanderpool in Action

Here, the mysterious Archie Vanderpool performs a pretty unusual feat of supporting strength... With his back against a stone wall, Archie braced his legs against a car driven at full throttle for 52 seconds. -- The tires were worn to ribbons!

John Y. Smith and His Unique Barbell

Gotta love some of the unique and usual weights that many of the strongmen found to lift. Here's a rare shot of the great Oldtime strongman John Y. Smith as he shoulders an unusual barbell, in his later years.

Smith was a very good bent-presser (with a lift of 275 lbs. at a bodyweight of just 160 lbs.) so that is probably what he is getting ready to do.
Syndicate content