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!

Kettlebell Exercises

Kettlebell Exercises

Kettlebell Exercises

If you're going to train with Russian Kettlebells, may as well go back to the source to see how to do it right. Pictures help, but you'll get a little more out of this post if you can read Cyrillic. "Traditional" kettlebell exercises consist of the snatch (which is more like a "swing" since it travels in an arc) and the clean and jerk (mainly just the jerk) done for maximal high reps.

Bob Hoffman's Hi-Proteen Bread Mix

Hi-Proteen BreadBob Hoffman's Hi-Proteen Bread Mix

Now here's something you don't see every day: a "mint" unopened can of Bob Hoffman's "Hi-Proteen" Bread Mix, circa 1965.  If only we could replicate that magic formula today...  

Not to be confused with "Hi-Protein" products, Bob had a variety of "Hi-Proteen" foods available to Strength and Health Magazine readers.  Throughout the years, you could also get Hi-Proteen Cookies... Fudge... Honey, Breakfast Food... Vegetable Broth... 10-in-1 Hi-Proteen... Hi-Proteen Reducing Formula... Standard Hi-Proteen... Multi-Purpose Hi-Proteen... Super Hi-Proteen... and Special Hi-Proteen Weight Gainer... and all of them delicious!

Gust Lessis: A Smashing Feat

Gust LessisGust Lessis: A Smashing Feat

Around 1925 or so, the Greek Strongman and wrestler Gust Lessis, wanted a shot at the lightweight boxing crown (which was held by Paul "The Astoria Assassin" Berlenbach at the time.)

In order to show that he was worthy of such an opportunity he gave a demonstration of strength before his grappling matches: while supporting an 500-pound slab of concrete on his chest his manager smashed it to bits with a sledge hammer. Say what you will about supporting feats, but this one is still no walk in the park!

Gennady Ivanchenko

Gennady Ivanchenko

Gennady Ivanchenko, the great Russian weightlifter, was the first light-heavyweight lifter ever to surpass the 500 kg total. This famous shot, taken by Tommy Kono, shows Ivanchenko doing snatch pulls at a training session prior to the 1971 Sr. European Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria (where he, unsurprisingly, took gold).  You can probably see why Ivanchenko's nickname was "The Robot."



He began his life named "Max Sick" and it was certainly fitting as he suffered with a variety of ailments. As a young man he was introduced to physical training as a method for improving his condition. Using isometrics, hand balancing and weightlifting he built himself back to health and later became reborn as "Maxick" champion Strength athlete.

One day, while working as an artists model he noticed that he was able to isolate his abdominals in a certain way while he held a specific pose for periods of time. As time passed, he began to experiment with isolating other muscle groups and the unique art of "Muscle Control" was born.

The audiences of the time had never seen anything like it. It was not only quite a sight but Maxick himself used primarily Muscle Control to build an incredible physique. Though he rarely lifted weights, Maxick was incredibly strong, At a body weight of around 150 pounds, he could perform the following:

  • Two hands military press with barbell: 230 lbs.
  • Right hand military press: 112 lbs.
  • Right hand snatch with barbell: 165 lbs. 
  • Right hand swing with dumbbell: 150 lbs. 
  • Two hands clean and jerk with barbell: 272 lbs.

Due to the unique benefits and training effects of practicing muscle control, many physique stars and physical culturists practiced it including: Otto Arco, Alan P. Mead, John Grimek and Ed Jubinville. 

Stanless Steel

Stanless Steel

Stanley "Stanless Steel" Pleskun from South Brunswick, N.J has been quietly performing amazing feats of strength for years. He can lift over 600 pounds with one finger, break chains, drive nails, lever sledge hammers and, incredibly, bend a penny with his bare hands.

Stanless attributes his great strength to the ability to harness the power of his own mind.

Hemenway Gymnasium

Hemenway Gymnasium

The original Hemenway Gymnasium was the finest physical education facility ever created. It contained every manner of physical training equipment: climbing ladders, tumbling mats, climbing ropes, flying rings, barbells, dumbbells, indian clubs, medicine balls... even early strength building "machines" (which you may be able to see on the left if you look closely.)

There was a running track, handball courts and rooms for fencing, wrestling, boxing and any other imaginable physical activity. At the head of this fantastic facility was Dudley Allen Sargent, who virtually founded the discipline of physical education.

Super Strength by Alan Calvert

Super Strength by Alan CalvertSuper Strength by Alan Calvert

A rare ad for Super Strength by Alan Calvert from 1924 - which would be the same year the book was originally published. Despite the fact that this book was written nearly nine decades ago, the training information is just as effective today. If you are a serious strength fan, then you should absolutely have a copy of this course in your training library. 

Also of note: the exercises in the ad (and book) were demonstrated by the South Afrrican strongman Walter Donald.

Sig Klein ~ Kettlebells!

Sig Klein - Kettlebells!Sig Klein

Sig Klein was talkin' kettlebell training decades ago. He had kettlebells in his gym... he featured kettlebells in his training courses... he wrote articles about kettlebells in Strength and Health... Yet you don't hear ol' Sig's name pop up much in modern kettlebell literature... Some of the experts need to do a little more homework.

The Nautilus Pullover

The Nautilus Pullover

The Nautilus Pullover Machine was created by Arthur Jones to address one of the shortcomings of conventional training. In this case, the unavoidable situation where the strength of the hands and forearms gives out before the larger, stronger muscles of the torso. The Nautilus pullover circumvents this weak link while also allowing the muscles of the back to be trained throughout a full range of motion - something which can't be done with barbells or dumbbells.

This type of training can be very effective but one when understood and applied correctly. That's Mercury Morris of the Miami Dolphins demonstrating above.
This is  a very early model of the pullover.  This generations of Nautilus Machines are often referref to as "spider cams" for what should be obvious reasons.

Syndicate content