Eugen Sandow was the prototypical strongman, the first true strength Superstar and can rightfully be called "The Man who Started it All."
Sandow thrilled audiences all over the world with his classical physique as well as his amazing feats of strength. In fact, many of the most famous Iron Game luminaries such as George Jowett and Alan Calvert (among others) were inspired to begin training after seeing Sandow in action.
Once he tired of the performing life, Sandow established the very first "Health Studios," mail order training courses, mail order training equipment and physical culture magazine -- all "firsts" for things which are now commonplace in the modern age.
At an exhibition in Paris, in the year 1905, 'The Luxembourg Hercules' John Grunn Marx bent and broke three horseshoes in the span of 2 minutes and 15 seconds. One of these horseshoes is shown above. Marx was descended from a long line of blacksmiths and was famed for his grip and forearm strength. More of Marx's strength feats will be covered in subsequent posts.
If you're a "free-weight" guy, don't be affraid of machines - there are several that can benefit your routine greatly when used correctly. Here's one of them, and one of the best leg workouts you'll ever get: The Hammer Strength H-Squat Machine. Use one if you can find it, or get one for your home gym, but only if you happen to have a lot of room -- this one's over 10 feet tall!
His matches with Frank Gotch are widely regarded at the most famous wrestling matches of all time.
As far as strength feats go, many of Hackenschmidt's best marks are just as impressive today, even a hundred years after they were originally set!
These include a pullover and press (in the wrestler's bridge position) of 311 pounds for two reps, a 279 pound overhead press and a crucifix lift of two 90 pound dumbbells. You sure won't find many people who can even get close to those numbers today.
Back in the 40's, he questioned whether there were a dozen athletes in the country who could do 10 clean and presses with a pair of 75 pound dumbbells. This was body weight for Sig. This was a worthy challenge back then and still is today.
At first, everybody thought he was crazy but they changed their tune when he came home from the 1956 Olympics with a shiny new Gold Medal. I don't know of anyone who looked as relaxed as Big Paul while handling big weights.
That's also another pretty good lesson: if you don't have what you need you'll have to improvise...
Clarke trained at the Camberwell Weightlifting Club and was coached by "The Wizard of Weightlifting" W.A. Pullum.