Paul Anderson’s Claims
by Steve Neece ((1992)
This article has been on my mind for some time how. Several years ago I submitted articles on this very subject to several magazines in rebuttal to stories they had written on Paul Anderson. They all backed out in the end, unwilling to face the facts and the controversy the exposure of these facts would entail. As
Over the last 30 years the legends of
Let me say, before I go any further, that I do not deny that in his time (mid 50’s and late 60’s) Paul Anderson was foremost in overall strength. In terms of squatting power he may still be the best ever, but, overall, his time has long passed and it is time for his aging fan club to admit it and give more recent champions their long-denied due. I can think of no other man who has had every claim, no matter how outlandish, accepted as gospel.
In fact, the 1991 edition of The Guinness Book of Records has deleted all of his claimed lifts on the grounds of inadequate documentation, after having accepted them unquestioningly for nearly 25 years. A close friend of mine (Joe Roark) spent a great deal of time attempting to document
See three-part Paul Anderson article here –
First, the Factual Lifts.
Lift, followed by Poundage then Year.
Squat – 930 – 1965.
Deadlift – 750 – 1965-66.
Bench Press – 450x3 – 1955; 485 – 1965.
Clean & Press – 445 – 1963; 415x3 – 1962; 424x2 – 1958.
Snatch – 347 – 1961.
Clean & Jerk – 445 – at several times.
Push Press (from rack) – 500 – 1957.
Press (from rack) – no record.
Backlift – no record.
Hiplift – no record.
Side Press – 215-250x3-5 – 1965-75.
Front Squat – no record.
Deadlift (with straps) – no record.
Now, the Claimed Lifts.
Squat – 1,200 – 1957.
Deadlift – 820 – ?
Bench Press – 627 – 1957-58?
Clean & Press – 485 – ?
Snatch – 375 – ?
Clean & Jerk – 485 – ?
Push Press (from rack) –
600 (Glossbrenner claim) – ?
600x3 (Bob Hise claim) – ?
Press (from rack) – 530x3 (Glossbrenner claim) – ?
Backlift – 6,270 – 1957.
Hiplift – 5,500 – ?
Side Press –
300x11 (right hand) – ?
300x7 (left hand) – ?
Front Squat – 771 (Glossbrenner claim) – ?
Deadlift (with straps) – 960 (Glossbrenner claim) – ?
Notes On The Above Claims:
The most damaging document may well be
It is also claimed that he was light years ahead of everybody else in his era (1955-1965). Not so. His amateur marks in Olympic lifting had all been bettered by 1962, as had his pro marks in the snatch and clean & jerk. His pro record in the press was exceeded in 1968. His best total as an amateur was exceeded in 1960 and his pro best in 1964. His best public deadlift of 750 was short of Hermann Goerner’s incredible 792 set back in 1920 and Benoit Cote’s 784 done in 1962. Doug Hepburn benched 580 lbs. collar-to-collar back in 1954 and also performed feats as diverse as a 260 strict curl and a 480 push press in public. He also claimed a 440 press off the rack and the first 500 lb. push press back in 1954. He squatted 775 with no wraps, no supersuit, and I don’t think he even wore a belt. This was with a withered right calf from a childhood ailment. French-Canadian Jean-Louis Auger was a mammoth 6’4”, 400-pounder in the early 60’s who benched 620 (collar-to-collar) publicly and was said to be outstanding in hip and back lifting. Bruce Randall was another 400-pounder who was photographed doing a 685 bent-leg good morning and claimed a 770 deadlift (circa 1955). He won the NABBA Mr. Universe in 1959, weighing 220. Chuck Fish was a 330-pounder out of
Thus it is evident that Paul Anderson was far from being alone. It is merely that the others lacked his publicity, as none of them were associated with the York Barbell Club, which pretty well decided at the time who was given credibility and who wasn’t. In fact, Hepburn in the early 50’s and Vlasov in the early 60’s were in competition with them, lifting for
Let it also be noted that back in 1972 Jon Cole publicly challenged
Since then stronger men than Jon Cole have come and gone. Who do I think is the strongest man of the 20th century? First of all, the 20th Century has yet to be completed and I’m sure we are going to see a lot more claimants to the throne before it ends. As of now I would give the lead to Bill Kazmaier simply because I don’t know how strong the Soviet greats of the present and recent past were outside of the Olympic lifts. Also, I believe that to be considered all-around strong you should also be proficient at all exercises, such as all manner of strict curls, triceps work, strict high-angle pressing and inclines, pulldowns and pullins, standing pulls and shrugs, calf work, leg presses, etc. – in other words, total body strength. If that were measured you might find some bodybuilders who could outscore the best power and Olympic lifters, who often these days are narrow specialists.
In closing, let us by all means give Paul Anderson his due as the strongest man of his time. His time, however, has long since passed. Let us give long overdue recognition to those who have succeeded him and bettered his marks.