Saturday, January 27, 2018

Arm Specialization - John McCallum (1968)

Taken From This Issue (September 1968)

Larry Scott

Arm Specialization 
by John McCallum (1968) 

Last summer Ollie and I drove up into central British Columbia. The weather was terrific. We were driving along a winding highway with the car top down and the sun hot on our faces. 

"Man," I said. "This is it. Smell those pine needles." 

"Great spot," Ollie agreed.

I waved an arm towards the mountains. "Look at that country," I said. "Millions of acres of it." 

"And just think," Ollie said. "You can only see what's on top." 

"What's our next stop?" 

Ollie studied the map. "Place called Earl's Cove. We get a ferry there." 

"What time's the ferry?" 

He thumbed through a pamphlet. "Two o'clock." 

I looked at the speedometer and then at my watch. "We'll have about forty minutes to kill when we get there. We'll pop into a pub and have a nice cold beer." 

"Great." Ollie leaned back and closed his eyes. "Earl's Cove, here we come." 

Fifteen minutes later we rounded a bend and I hit the brakes. There was a sign nailed to a tree. It read "Earl's Cove." The road ran down a steep hill to a beat up old ferry slip. There was one car waiting by the slip. Other than the car, there was no sign of life. No houses, no taverns, no nothing.

"Well," I said. "So much for the cold beer." 

"That's for sure," Ollie said. He looked around. "Even Earl left." 

I peered through the windshield at the other car. "Ollie," I said. "Do my tired old eyes deceive me?" 

"How's that?" 

I pointed at the other car. "Look over there and tell me what you see." 

Ollie looked. "I see," he said slowly, "I see a young man sitting on the back bumper of a car parked in the middle of nowhere doing concentration curls with a dumbbell." 

"That," I said, "is what I thought I saw." 

We drove up behind the other car, stopped, and got out. The young man looked up and grinned. Sweat was running off his forehead. His arms looked like barrels.

"Nice day for it," I said.

He put the dumbbell down.

"Keep going," I said. "Don't let us stop you."

"That's okay," he said. "I need a few minutes rest anyway." 

"Sorry," I said. "I didn't mean to stare. It just seemed odd to see someone lifting weights away out here."

"That's all right," he said. "I'm used to being stared at." 

"What exercises do you do?" I asked him.

"I do these," he said. He did a couple of curls. "And this." He did a few triceps extensions to show me.

I pointed at the dumbbell. "Is that all the equipment you use?" 

He put the weight down again. "On, no. I got a regular gym at home. This is just for my in-between days." 

"How do you mean?" 

"Well," I said. "I gotta drive up here three days a week, you see. So I take a regular workout at home on the other days. I exercise everything but my arms. Then, on the on days I'm driving, I exercise my arms while I'm waiting for the ferry." 

"Well," I said. "Nobody'll ever accuse you of wasting time." 

Ollie walked over and admired the young man's arms. "With muscles like that," he said, "nobody'll ever accuse you of anything." 

The young man started curling again, and Ollie and I sat in the shade and watched. Two more cars pulled up and the people got out and looked at the muscles with their mouths hanging open and their eyes sticking out. Finally the ferry steamed up and nudged into the slip. We got back in the car.

"You know," Ollie said. "That's the most amazing thing I've ever seen. Imagine working out under those conditions." 

"The only thing more amazing would have been if he'd been working on anything but his arms." 

There's no doubt that arms are the most popular muscle group with the average bodybuilder. There's also no doubt that very few bodybuilders ever succeed in building the kind of arms they really want. Most of them fail for a couple of good reasons.

One reason is insufficient training for the rest of the body. You can't work just the arms alone and expect really good results. The biceps-triceps combination will never get very far ahead of the rest of the muscle groups.

You must provide stimulation for the arms by using a proper training routine for the rest of the body. Your arms just won't get very big without it.

A neighbor of mine has a boy about sixteen. Last summer the kid decided he wanted big arms. His father got him some weights and he started training. After about six months he came to see me.

"Look," he said.

He had a T-shirt on. He flexed his arms.

"What about it?" I said.

"Not very big, are they?" he asked.

"Henry," I said. "I've seen bigger muscles on extension cords. Now, what do you want?" 

"Help," he said. "I been exercising faithfully for six months now and still ain't got big arms. They get harder," he added, "but no bigger." 

"What exercises are you doing?" I asked him.

"Curls," he said. "And French presses."   

"Good," I said. "And what else?"

"What else what?" 

"What other exercises?" 

"How do you mean?" 

"What other exercises do you do?" 

"None," he said. "Just curls and French presses." 

"That's just for the arms," I told him.

"Certainly," he said. "I don't wanta get lumpy all over like you. I just want big arms." 

I gritted my teeth at him. "Henry," I said. "I oughta put a lump on your head. You'll have to build muscle all over or you won't put much on your arms. It's as simple as that." 

I talked to him for a while, and finally convinced him to add to his program. He added breathing squats, bench presses, and rowing, and his arms grew an inch and a half in the next three months.

Another reason for poor progress is poor nutrition. You are what you eat and there's no getting around it. 

Protein builds muscle. I thought every reader of Strength & Health knew it, but I was wrong.

A fellow came to see me a couple of months ago. He wasn't adding muscle fast enough. I asked him about his diet and he told me.

"That's not enough," I said. You've got to eat more." 

He said he would, and six weeks later he came back.

"Any progress?" I asked him.

He shook his head. "Can't understand it." 

"Are you eating good?" 

"Sure," he said. "I added a meal at bedtime." 

"What is it?" 

Prunes," he said. A great big dish of prunes." 

We're going to specialize on the arms for a while. We're going to bring them to a relatively high state of development. Relative in the rest of your body, that is. 

After the deltoid, pectoral, abdominal combination, are the next most impressive region. Big muscular arms are indispensable to a herculean body. Actually, arms are not difficult to develop if you go at it properly. You can get good results from this program if you want. Give it all you've got and you'll improve your appearance 100%.

Your arm specialization will be complicated by the same problem you had with the deltoid, pectoral, and abdominal program. That is, you don't want to lose any definition. So you won't be on a straight bulk program. Not yet. Every ounce you add will have to be pure muscle. The problem will be to not add any fat at all.

We'll solve the problem like this:

The training for the rest of your body will be geared to maintain definition as well as build muscle. You'll use a modified P.H.A. program and some light running.

Do the following on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: 

1) Seated Press Behind Neck: 8 reps
2) Squats: 10 reps
3) Chins Behind Neck: 8 reps
4) Twisting Situp: 20 reps
5) Incline Dumbbell Press: 8 reps
6) Calf Raise on Machine: 15 reps

Do the program in P.H.A. style. 

Do six sets of the program. Use a light weight for the first two sets as a sort of warm-up. Use all the weight you can handle for sets three, four, and five. Drop the poundage down for the sixth set to cool off.

As soon as you finish the last set, go for a run. Run about two miles at a nice relaxed pace. You should be able to jog two miles in less than twenty minutes by now. 

Don't neglect the running. It'll keep the blubber off your waist and hips better than all the situps you'll ever do.

Do the arm specialization program on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Do NOT do the arm work in P.H.A. style. Use the regular set system. Like this: 

1) Curls: 5 sets of 7 reps. Do the curls with a barbell, Use a heavy enough weight so that you have to cheat a bit on the last two reps.

2) Parallel Bar Dips: 5 sets of 8. Keep your body as upright as possible. Tie weights around your waist for added resistance.

3) Incline Dumbbell Curls: 5 x 8. Strict style. Make sure the arms straighten right out at the bottom. Raise your elbows high at the top of the exercise.

4) French Press on Bench: 5 x 8. Use a narrow grip and lots of weight.

5) Concentration Curls: 5 x 10. Light dumbbell. Try to cramp your biceps.

6) Triceps Extension on Lat Machine: 5 x 10. Strict style. You should be able to really pump on this one.

Give the program a real try. Don't neglect your running and don't skimp on the supplements.

Get your arms as highly developed as possible and you'll be in shape for the advanced bulk and power stuff to come. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Joe Nordquest and His World's Record Lift - Alan Calvert (1915)


 Taken From This Issue (March 1915) 

Note: It's worth knowing that Joe Nordquest lost his left leg below the knee at age six. He performed all his lifting and set records while wearing an early 1900s style prosthetic. Enjoy your lifting! 

And now, to the article . . .

Away back in 1890, Eugen Sandow made his debut in London. A young man, unknown in England, but with a European reputation as a wrestler and lifter, Sandow amazed London with his superb symmetry and his sensational strength feats.

The first thing that gained Sandow lasting fame was a lift of a 250-pound Bar-bell from shoulder to above head, with his right arm. This broke all existing records, and was hailed as a thing almost incredible. Athletic authorities solemnly discussed whether it was possible for human strength to achieve such a feat, many athletes contending that it must be a fake, that no man alive had strength enough in his right arm to push 250 pounds aloft.

A few months later Sandow lifted in the same manner as before a bar-bell weighing 271 pounds. England fell under his spell. Lifting became a favorite sport, and English amateurs are still striving to eclipse that old record. A few professionals - mostly men much heavier than Sandow - succeeded in lifting more than 271 pounds, but no amateur in England, Europe, or anywhere else ever officially reached the 250 mark until on Saturday, March 20th, 1915, the feat was accomplished by Joseph Nordquest, 21 years old, and of Ashtabula, Ohio.

In the January issue of "STRENGTH" I stated that many of my pupils had cast envious eyes on Matysek's record of 222 pounds. Just as the January number was issued Matysek raised his mark to 238 pounds, but I felt that even at that mark his crown did not rest securely, and advised him to train for further improvement.

In February I received dozens of letters from advanced pupils, telling me of their lifts.

Among them was a startling communication from a Joseph Nordquest, who modestly stated that he could press aloft over 250 pounds with his LEFT arm, and in support of his claims he sent me two photographs, which showed that he was a young man of tremendous muscular development.

Being deeply interested in such a phenomenon, I wrote Nordquest and asked him how he had gained his strength. He replied that he had developed himself with an old MILO Bar-bell, which was the property of an older brother. I searched my records and found, sure enough, that ten years ago I had sold a bar-bell to this brother, and that the said brother was famous several years ago as one of the finest living examples of manly strength and beauty of form. More of him later on; we are now concerned with Joe Nordquest, the present amateur title holder.

I wrote Joe, telling him frankly that I had never seen anyone - amateur or professional - lift 255 pounds aloft with his LEFT arm, and asking him how long he would have to train to be able to duplicate the feat in my presence. I half anticipated a reply saying that six weeks or so were necessary that at present he had a sore shoulder, etc., etc. But no indeed! Joe avowed that he could lift 255 pounds any and every day in the week, and if I was in the neighborhood of Ashtabula to stop off and see him and he would prove what he said.

Business calling me west in March, I notified Joe to expect me on the 20th. I arrived at Ashtabula at noon on that day, but as I had not named the road on which I was traveling, Joe was not on hand to meet me. Inquiry soon convinced me that I would have no trouble in finding him. Ashtabula is a fair-sized town, but apparently everyone there knows Joe Nordquest, and I soon located him.

The news of Joe's attempt for an official record had spread, and a couple of hundred of his neighbors  and friends were present to see the event. Everyone wore an interested expression of pleased anticipation; there seemed to be no doubt in anyone's mind that the visitor (yours truly) was to be convinced that Ashtabula harbored a champion lifter. The afternoon was pleasant; a chill wind was blowing off Lake Erie, but the sun was strong and the ground spongy.

There were a few preliminaries; the scales were brought forth, together with the certificate of inspection. I further tested them and found them to be exact.

Joe elected to "warm up" by making a preliminary press with 230 pounds - a feat which he accomplished without very much effort. He threw a coat over his shoulders and for a few minutes discussed with me his style of lifting, then he tossed off his coat, and refusing all assistance, he increased the weight of the bell to 255 pounds. Swinging it to his left shoulder with both hands, he let go with his right hand and started this marvelous press.

Slowly he bent his body over, balancing the enormous weight securely in his left hand. His expression was one of grim and relentless determination. The huge muscles of his arms and back stood out like ridges of steel. He made a supreme effort, and straightened the left arm, and then slowly and cautiously stood erect with the bell.

I had cautioned him that he must hold the bell aloft while I counted two. As soon as he was perfectly erect, with the arm straight and stiff as a poker, I counted: "One -- Two!" and he then stepped backward and allowed the bell to fall and embed itself in the soft ground. The witnesses applauded Joe as he lugged the weight to the scales. It weighed exactly 255 pounds; and a subsequent weighing proved that Joe himself weighed 168 pounds stripped.

Congratulations were in order - and also questions as to the training program. Of the latter there was little to be said. An enthusiast on heavy dumbbell exercise, Joe had trained regularly during his nineteenth and twentieth years. In 1914 he had trained but little, but the account of Matysek's lift had fired his ambition anew, so he started to train again in February, 1915, and had actually lifted 255 pounds for three consecutive days previous to his public trial.

Apparently the necessity of saving his strength never enters his head - he has so much of it that he spends it prodigally. For example: After the bell had been weighed, he asked me if I had any objection to his trying for a record lift in the wrestler's-bridge-position. On finding that I was eager to see an attempt, he sent for a small, square cushion, which he placed by the center of the bar-bell handle. Grasping the bar with both hands, he leaned over, placed his head on the cushion, and threw a neat head-spring over the bar, bringing himself into the bridge position.

He pulled the bell to his chest, and slowly forced it to arms' length. I counted "One!", but before I reached "Two!" Joe, who had not understood, hurled the bell back to the ground. We were both disgruntled; I, because I had not fully explained, and he, because he had been so quick. But it made little odds.

Without a minute's pause, he again threw himself into position; again lifted the bell across to the chest, but as he pushed the bell upwards the cushion slipped to one side, and his head slid along the muddy ground. I was horrified - it was enough to sprain his neck severely, but the mighty arms supporting the bell held it securely aloft while their owner came to full stretch on his back. He then got to his feet and ruefully examined a groove an inch deep which his head had cut in the ground, while his kind friends "joshed" him. Evidently a "Strong Man" must expect no sympathy.

We fastened the cushion in place, and for the third time in five minutes the big bell was lifted across to the chest and forced up until the supporting arms were straight. I counted "One -- Two!", and Joe, determined that there should be no mistake this time, himself calmly went on "Three -- Four" -- and so on up to Ten; then he stood up and grinned.

The pictures showing the bar-bell in use will give you a good idea of Joe's "form" in lifting, but not a very good idea of his tremendous development. Between lifts, and while the photographer was changing plates, Joe gave quite an exhibition of Herculean balancing and acrobatics.

His younger brother (Charles) who weighs 175 pounds, was called into play as a human dumbbell and was lifted by Joe in a various number of positions.

Calling to mind the prevalent idea that "Strong Men" are slow and "muscle-bound," I carefully watched for any signs in this case -- and I can assure you that Joe Nordquest has greater flexibility of muscle and joint than 999 men out of 1,000. He can bend his wrists further than anyone I ever saw, and his shoulder muscles possess apparently the very maximum of flexibility.

One thing I can solemnly affirm: he can, by mind control, do things with his shoulder and back muscles that I have never seen equaled. His nicety of balance is remarkable. He will stand on his hands and "dip" till his chin touches ground, 20 or 30 times in succession, faster than the average physical culturist will dip when lying on the floor in the usual position. He can do a "one-hand stand" while holding a 100-pound dumbbell in the other hand.

the bell shown in the pictures is one with 16-inch hollow globes, of the kind I furnish for exhibition work. It was fitted with interchangeable bars. It arrived at the Nordquest residence assembled as a short-handled dumbbell. When the box was opened and the dumbbell rolled out, the expression of the bystanders was one of incredulous wonder. The bell was certainly a formidable looking affair. As a matter of fact, it weighed a trifle less than 200 pounds adjusted as a dumbbell and empty.

Here is where the oldest of the brothers, Mr. Arthur Nordquest, enters the tale. As I have said, Arthur was formerly a heavy dumbbell enthusiast, and had bought a MILO bell from me years ago, but had not done any active training for the last eight years. While the crowd was gazing at the big dumbbell, Arthur stepped forward, grasped it, swing it to the right shoulder, and executed as beautiful a right-hand press as I have ever seen. A moment afterward one of his friends, who had not seen the lift, caught sight of the dumbbell and rushed up and asked Arthur if he could lift it. To please him Arthur lifted it again. Shortly after, to oblige me, he donned an athletic shirt and lifted it twice more, while the photographer snap-shotted him.

He then begged me not to mention his lift, for he had not trained for years, and apparently considered four (4) distinct presses with a bell weighing in the neighborhood of 200 pounds as a mere trifle not worth mentioning.

I feel that I would have cheated my readers if I had left Mr. Arthur Nordquest out of the account. Thousands of physical culturists have been told that if a man develops huge muscles he will go to pieces when he stops training. Pure foolishness! I know plenty of retired "Strong Men" who are just as strong and just as well put together as in their youth. Mr. Arthur Nordquest is still a young man (about thirty), but if I was asked to pick out a man who would be as strong in 1936 as he is today I would select Mr. Arthur Nordquest.

After the lifting was all over, we adjourned to the photographer's studio to secure some "muscle poses" as a souvenir of the occasion. Here I was amazed. For twenty years I have been a close student of muscular development. I have been watching them all pose since Sandow introduced posing at the World's Fair in 1893 -- but this boy, Nordquest, did some things which were new to me. One of them is the pose, Figure No. 8. The others consisted in muscular movements which could not be shown in still poses.

After the posing I measured Joe, at his request. The results were:

Height - 5' 7"
Weight - 168 pounds
Chest (normal) - 44 and three-eighths inches
Upper Arm (down) - 15 and one-half inches
Upper Arm (flexed) - 16 and one-half inches
Forearm (straight) - 13 and three-quarters inches
Forearm (flexed) - 15 inches
Wrist - 7 and five-eighths inches
Waist - 32 and one-quarter inches
Thigh - 25 and one half inches.

By this lift of 255 pounds with left hand from the shoulder Joe Nordquest becomes the holder of the

American and World's Amateur Records for One-Arm Press (either right or left)
American Record for Left-Arm Press (amateur or professional)

and as far as I know to the contrary, the

World's Record for the Left-Arm Press .

Also the American Amateur Record for lifting a bar-bell in the "Wrestler's Bridge" position. (255 pounds)

The mere fact that Joe has been able to lift 255 pounds at will argues that he could do much better if he specially trained. As a matter of fact, 255 pounds was the heaviest weight he had to practice with, but he now has a bell which can be loaded to very heavy weights, and I hardly believe he is going to rest on his laurels.

His "style" of pressing is not quite conventional. In my opinion, he wastes too much strength at a certain stage of his lift. If he changed his style perhaps he could lift more, and perhaps not. There are general rules governing each lift, but every lifter has his own little individual variations which he has adopted, because they seem to favor his particular build.

Rome was not built in a day. Joe Nordquest did not reach the top with a rush. He said that for a long time his progress was very slow. It took him several months before he was able to lift 125 pounds aloft with one hand, but then the persistent exercise seemed to make him grow in strength, and in the space of six weeks he improved his lift from 125 to 175 pounds. Since then, he added little by little to his strength; as his development increased his records mounted -- and now, at the age of 21 years , he is absolutely in the first rank as a lifter, and as a specimen of muscular manhood.

(I have in my possession the certificate issued by the Government Inspector of Scales, at Ashtabula, and also a statement signed by a number of witnesses and sworn to before a Notary Public -- which places beyond all question the genuineness of Joe Nordquest's lifts -- Alan Calvert


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Winter Size and Strength - Andrew Gutman and Anthony Presciano

Not Taken From This Issue
But the two magazines are definitely connected.

From This Issue (October 2017)

More by Anthony Gutman:

Workout by Anthony Presciano

Many lifters prioritize size gains during the winter months. It makes sense. Chillier temps and added layers of clothing make it an ideal time to consume more calories and adjust your lifts to add muscle. 

Unfortunately, achieving success involves strategic planning. Otherwise, you risk blowing up your waistline, not your biceps.  Without a plan of attack, it's easy to get lazy as the weather gets colder. But your nutritional goals must be prioritized or you won't achieve your goals, or even worse, you'll have to combat unwanted weight gain. 

To add strength without acquiring a spare tire, Step One is to start counting your calories. Yeah, it sucks, but apps like FatSecret make it slightly less annoying. Aim to consume the following per pound of body weight: 

14-19 calories
2 grams of carbs
1 to 1.5 grams of protein
.4 grams of fat.

If you're dropping or gaining too much weight, subtract 250 calories' worth of carbs and reassess. Remove cheats until you've found the right balance, then strategically (and occasionally) work them back into your meal plan.

Pair that eating plan with this routine created by former bodybuilder and all-around savage Anthony Presciano and you're programmed for success. Presciano's meat and potatoes approach helped him knock out 495 pounds for 2 reps on the bench press, overhead press 315, and deadlift 675 for 3 reps. 

The plan is tough but not complex. All you need is a barbell, a couple of machines, a Swiss ball, and dedication. Think you can handle that? 

Mass Gain Rules

1) Your first set should never require a spotter; your last set should.

2) Strictly adhere to the rest times. The idea is to eliminate as many variables as possible from this program, and resting longer or shorter than prescribed will vary your level of energy for each set, workout to workout.

3) You'll follow a two days on, two days off schedule, training on Day 1 and Day 2 an taking day 3 and Day 5 off, and then repeating the cycle. This is not a traditional seven-day split.

4) Steady cardio or HIIT can be thrown in on off days. 

5) Eat big. This is not a get lean workout plan. Your food intake should reflect your activity levels. These workouts can last up to two hours. Make sure you're consuming enough calories - between 3,000 and 4,000, in the form of many small meals - to keep your energy high. 

How to Progress

For this program you'll be using the RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion) scale. It sounds fancier than it really is. A rating of 1 means that if felt like you could have performed another 9 reps, while a 10 means that you couldn't have done another rep if your life depended on it.

For the last two sets you should be using a weight that has you at an RPE of 8-9. When that weight starts to feel like a 6-7 rating, add 5 pounds - or less if you have half-pound or one-pound plates. Small progression is safe, long progression. 

However, Presciano also urges you not to push it too hard. This program is meant to challenge you, not break you, so if you want to stick with pretty much the same weight for the entire program, that's cool too. You'll still grease the groove with your lifts, in regards to mastering the form of the movement. And once you become efficient at moving the weight, the pounds will start to pile on.

for novice lifters, take one set off everything for the first 8-day cycle. "Back in the day," there were workouts so excruciating that we would do only 2-3 sets of the last few exercises."     

Day One

Barbell Bench Press, 5 sets of 6,5,4,3,2. 120 seconds rest between sets.
Incline Bench Press, 4 x 8,6,4,3. 60 secs rest.
Weighted Dip, 4 x as many reps as possible (AMRAP). 60 secs rest.
Overhead One-Dumbbell Two-Hand Extension, 4 x 8, 60 secs rest.
Barbell Overhead Press, 4 x 10,8,6,4. 90 secs rest.
Seated Dumbbell Press, 3 x 8,6,5. 90 secs rest.
Barbell High Pull, 4 x 10. 60 secs rest.
Dumbbell Shrug, 4 x 8. 60 secs rest.
Swiss Ball Jack Knife, 4 x 15. 60 secs rest.
Plank, 4 x 30 seconds. 30 secs rest.   

Day Two 

Bentover Barbell Row, 4 x 10,8,6,4. 60 secs rest.
Pullup, 4 x 15. 60 secs rest.
Close Grip Front Pulldown, 3 x 10. 60 secs rest.
Barbell Curl, 4 x 10,8,6,4. 60 secs rest.
Hammer Curl, 4 x 6. 60 secs rest.
Back Squat, 5 x 10,8,6,4,3. 120 secs rest.
Hack Squat, 4 x 8. 60 secs rest.
Stiff-Legged Deadlift, 5 x 10. 60 secs rest.
Seated Calf Raise, 10 x 10. 60 secs rest.
Run in Place, 4 x 30 secs. 30 secs rest.

Not So Complex Gains, Parts One and Two - Jon-Eric Kawamoto (2017)

More by Jon-Eric Kawamoto:

Not So Complex Gains, Part One
by Jon-Eric Kawamoto

The most intricate program in the world won't do jack for your physique if you approach it with half-assed intensity and focus. 

To improve your training efficiency and keep your intensity high, select basic exercises that give you the highest return on investment in terms of muscle recruitment and efficiency of movement, and limit your rest time to keep our heart rate elevated. Employing a barbell complex training method will cover all of that.

Made popular by strength coaches Istvan Javorek and Dan John -

 - a complex, done with one piece of equipment, usually a barbell, a dumbbell, or a kettlebell, is a style of circuit training where several exercises are performed in succession without resting. 

For example, you can perform 8 reps of barbell rows, followed by 8 front squats, and 8 overhead presses. Not only will this flood all your major muscles with nutrient-rich blood, but you'll also be gasping for air. Since you're only using one piece of equipment, you won't have to worry about another trainee interfering with your circuit.

They're also diverse. If you don't have access to or don't want to use a barbell, you can use dumbbells, sandbags, kettlebells, and medicine balls. 

Finally, complexes can be tailored toward different goals, since they're more of a template for how to lift. 

Not sure where to start? 

No problem.

In Part One of this two part feature, we provide you with a road map for structuring your own complexes and then outline three to try, depending on your training goals. 

Create Your Own Complex

1) Determine your goal - 
Figure out whether you want to focus on hypertrophy, strength, endurance, or athleticism. This will help you determine how many reps and the types of exercises you should choose.

2) Get into the flow - 
Be sure to arrange exercises in an order that allows a smooth flow from move to move. For example, the back squat flows nicely after an overhead press, but not so much if it's performed after a bentover row. For a full-body workout, include an upper body push, an upper body pull, a lower body push or a lunge, and a lower body pull. And be sure to order them wisely.

4) Begin each complex with a naked bar to warm up - 
Add weight slowly until the weakest exercise feels challenging. Then begin your working sets. Leave your ego at the door. Complexes are not so much about how much you can lift but about the consistent flow from exercise to exercise and total work performed in each workout.

5) Progress smart - 
Once you're comfortable with your form and can stick to the 90-second rest interval more easily, add 5-10 pounds to each workout. Choose only one mode of progression every three to four weeks.  

Sample Complexes

Hypertrophy, Upper Body: 

Complete 4-6 rounds, resting 90 seconds between rounds.
1A) Bentover Row, 12 reps
1B) Upright Row, 12 reps
1C) Overhead Press, 8 reps
1D) Barbell Curl, 8 reps
1E) Close Grip Barbell Pushup, 12 reps
1F) Bentover Row Isometric Hold, 15 second hold. 

Hypertrophy, Lower Body:

Complete 4-6 rounds, resting 90 seconds between rounds.
2A) Conventional Deadlift, 8 reps
2B) Romanian Deadlift, 12 reps
2C) Front Squat, 8 reps
2D) Good Morning, 8 reps
2E) Back Squat, 12 reps
2F) Alternating Reverse Lunge, 8 reps per leg.

Full-Body Endurance

Do 4-6 rounds, resting 60 seconds between rounds.
3A) Bentover Ros, 15 reps
3B) Romanian Deadlift, 20 reps
3C) Barbell Thruster, 15 reps
3D) Forward Lunge, 12 per leg
3E) Alternating Lateral Lunge, 12 per leg. 

Not So Complex Gains, Part Two
by Jon-Eric Kawamoto

 In Part One last month we provided the road map for constructing your own complexes - that is, four to six exercises performed in succession using one tool, like a kettlebell, barbell, or dumbbells. Then we outlined three barbell complexes as examples for you to try, focusing on hypertrophy (in your upper and lower body) and then muscular endurance. 

To round out Part Two, we give you two more sample complexes to try - one aimed at building strength and one for improving your athletic prowess. 

If you followed along last month, at this point you: 

a) should be used to performing multi-joint movements with no rest in between, and
b( can maintain perfect form as you reach the brink of complete exhaustion.

Which is a good thing, because these next two complexes are no cakewalk. For starters, the rep count will be lower for the strength routine, meaning the weight will be heavier. There's a reason most powerlifters rest upwards of three minutes and longer after a heavy set of squats or deadlifts, so be prepared to feel fried after just one or two rounds. 

As for the second complex, all the moves are dynamic. You won't just be squatting, you'll be doing jump squats. And forget upright rows. Instead, you'll be performing full-on clean high pulls. The point is, workout No. 2 will demand some serious focus and stamina. But, in the end, neither of these is too complex . . . just difficult! So, are you ready? 

Note: The weight in each complex doesn't change, so select the load based on your weakest link. Chances are you can row a lot more than you can push press. 

Feel free to sub in moves similar to the ones in the sample complexes. Just make sure that the order allows for a smooth transition. 

Sample Strength Complex

Do 5 rounds, resting 90 seconds between rounds.
1A) Pendlay Row, 6 reps
1B) Power Clean, 5 reps
1C) Push Press, 5 reps
1D) Split Squat, 6 per leg.

Sample Athleticism Complex

Do 5 rounds, resting 90 seconds between rounds.  
Note: For the jump squat, you're not trying to set a vertical jump record. Rather, focus on landing softly and being rhythmic.

1A) Back-Loaded Jump Squat, 8 reps
1B) Power Jerk, 5 reps
1C) Hang Clean, 3 reps
1D) Clean High Pull, 5 reps
1E) Romanian Deadlift, 8 reps.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Favorite Exercises of Old-Time Champions - John C. Grimek (1976)

Many Thanks to Liam Tweed! 

Taken From This Issue (June/July 1976) 

Photo Courtesy of Jarett Hulse

Joseph Newman, Original Patent Holder and Inventor of 
The Vinyl Coated Barbell Plate

by John C. Grimek (1976)

Have you ever given any thought as to what kind of lifts or exercises some of the old-timers favored? The truth of the matter is that very few of these old-timers could be classified as "bodybuilders" in the sense that so many of today's weight trained men are. Why? The simple answer is that the men  of yesteryear did not specialize in acquiring or developing their muscles as the majority of weight trainers do. Instead, training was employed to increase their overall physical efficiency or to excel at some particular lift or event.

According to many of the old-times with whom I discussed their training, none would admit that they trained primarily to acquire big muscles only . . . except in the beginning when they first started to exercise. All readily admitted that the degree of muscular development they possessed resulted strictly from the stunts and lifting feats they practiced, and at which they generally excelled. On the other hand, anytime they showed or demonstrated a lift or strength feat it was usually something that they favored, so naturally they were good at it and would list it as their favorite.  

It must be remembered, however, that in those early days of weight training every man who lifted or trained with weights did so because he wanted to excel at some specific stunt or lift, and none, outside of a very limited few, showed any interest in the size or actual dimension of their muscles.

Sandow was one of those few who actually promoted bodybuilding instead of lifting and strength feats, and this probably was the reason why he developed such an impressive physique.

The majority, however, accepted whatever type of development they derived from the stunts or the kind of lifting feats they performed, and for this reason some of these men actually acquired some odd looking physiques resulting from their strength specialty. Take for example the men who specialized in gripping feats. By handling those thick, cumbersome bars and objects their hands often grew huge with powerful looking forearms, which was their outstanding physical feature. 

Others developed into huge, ponderous individuals, acquiring prodigious size, especially those on the continent. But whatever their specialty the muscles that were involved were always superbly developed, and most of the time this gave them an asymmetrical physique. Yet most of these men ranged in physical appearance from just ordinary to impressive.

Conversely, some of these men did realize the value of all-round training and often indulged in it for physical improvement. Men such as Sandow, Sgt. Moss, Gustav Fristensky, Clarence Weber, William Bankier and scores of others were rated tops in the Iron Game of that era. The truth of the matter is that any of these outstanding men could easily rival the contestants of today in any "best built man" contest, but perhaps, and more importantly, these men not only had well-developed muscles but possessed unusual muscle power to match. 

But another worthy citation should be cited; each man always tried to do something to prove that his muscles were not "just for show," but that he could do something with them . . . which is what weight training was all about in those days . . . to be able to do something with their muscles.

Perhaps since Lou Ferrigno was able to compete so well in the recent Superstars event, it is possible that this may begin a trend among bodybuilders and other weight training enthusiasts, just to prove that they can have well-developed muscles and still compete favorably in other athletics. 

In the past, however, we had a number of outstanding weightlifters that were athletically inclined. Unfortunately, competition such as the Superstars event wasn't known then.

In looking back at 50 and more years [written in 1976] of the Iron Game I readily recall some of the outstanding men who were tops in their field and who specialized in various forms of lifting or strength feats. But one man flashes to my mind promptly. That is Sigmund Klein. He was a top-notch lifter in his day and was really one of the first "big lifting stars" that I had the privilege to meet.

During the 20s Sig lifted nearly every week trying to break some kind of record . . . and often did. His picture appeared nearly every month in Strength magazine, which showed him giving some kind of demonstration or trying for records. I followed his career avidly. Although he was a very capable lifter, his forte was pressing - Military pressing. His style was faultless. His body remained rigidly upright, with heels together. In his press only the arms moved, pushing up the weight. He was only a welterweight then, around 145 pounds, but the poundage he pressed was surpassed only by a few of the heavies.

He also held the record in what then was called the "prone" press and what we call today the bench press. The prone press, however, was done while lying flat on the floor and the weight was pulled over the head and onto the chest and, after a brief pause, the weight was then shoved up to arms' length. No arching of the back or lifting of the buttocks was permitted, nor was any drive or collapsing of the chest allowed to get a fast start. In many ways this style was tougher than the present style of bench pressing.

Sig could press over double bodyweight in this style easily, a weight that only some of the heavier lifters could exceed but no one in his class could challenge him. Today Sig is still active but involved only in conditioning exercises, which he does regularly as clockwork . . . and all this as a senior citizen!

He's mentioned to many people that his measurements and bodyweight haven't changed or varied much at all, and that, as you can well imagine, is some kind of a record in itself.

Sigmund Klein

 Click Pics to ENLARGE

Here is Gregory Taper's excellent index of articles on this blog:
It won't include posts beyond that date, but there's a wonderful 17-part series of Sig Klein articles you can easily find the links to from that index, describing some of the high points from his first quarter century in the iron game. 

Then we have that ole powerhouse leg champ, Milo Steinborn. Milo, some may recall, was the first man in this country to squat with over 500 pounds. But squatting with that weight wasn't the toughest part. What made this feat more spectacular is the fact that Milo racked this weight onto his shoulders without help of anyone, and then proceeded to do squats. It's doubtful if any man today squatting 700 to 800 pounds could do 500 pounds in the style that Milo managed. In order to get the weight onto the shoulders one has to sink into a very low squat position, and getting up out of this first low squat is tougher than doing the squat afterwards. Once Milo got up from this first squat he could do several reps without trouble. Only those who have tried this style of lifting know what it takes to do it, and how it feels. It's indescribable! 

Milo still practices the squat, and still has one of the strongest pair of legs around. He handles between 275 and 400 pounds in his workouts, which he does three to five times a week. He's the real "grandpappy" of the old-timers.  

 Milo Steinborn, both photos

And who could forget the ponderous "belly toss" lift of the middleweight lifter Bill Lilly, which is better known by the name of the shoulder bridge? Because of his unusual flexibility, Bill could arch his back (weight across his abdomen) so high as to get it to arms' length without much pushing. He did close to 400 pounds while weighing around 160 pounds himself. In those days, the early 1930s, a few men could handle this weight but only in the deadlift.

Naturally no one ever came close to Bill's performance in this lift at that time, and not very many tried the lift since. It was Lilly's specialty and he was the super champ at it. He did, however, practice other lifts, particularly muscling out weights. He was an exceptional handbalancer, too, but his shoulder bridge was his outstanding feat. 

Note: Bill Lilly is also notable for his muscle control mastery, and published several articles on the topic in the early 1930s.

Another lifter of renown was welterweight Robert Snyder. He could do a bent press with one hand of over 225 pounds, a most commendable performance. We have his interesting story and hope to feature it soon. 

His lifting buddy, Bob Knodle, weighed around 110 pounds but lifted over double bodyweight easily. 

Our own Dick Bachtell, now retired, was lifting at this time and is the only man to win about a dozen consecutive national championships. He was also proficient at one-hand snatching, having equaled and surpassed the world record at that time. A very powerful squatter too, he has legs to prove it, even today. 

Dick Bachtell, above in photo below with John Grimek


Ottley Coulter, another fine lifter from the past, and now in his 80s, took to harness and back lifting to emulate the feats of Louis Cyr and Warren Lincoln Travis, both great back and harness lifters a half-century ago. Coulter, who weighed under 150 pounds handled some real tonnage in these lifts, and for his weight and size, it was stupendous.  

Ottley Coulter, circa 1911, and below with a section of his strength publication archive
now part of the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports. 

With Bob Hoffman

Another man with a flawless physique, at least judging from the picture of him doing a one-hand side press with a spheric dumbbell, was Harry Hall. This picture (see end of article) is one that was used in the Milo equipment advertising and represents one of the best of all time. The action of the lift and the symmetry of his body has gone unchallenged and almost everyone agrees "this was the best." The photo used here is from an old magazine reprint, consequently it is not as impressive as the original print would be, but it does show the magnificent man! 

And who could forget the muscular and shapely Anton Matysek? Matysek was a light-boned man who had the physique of a bodybuilder (see photo at end of article). But he possessed the power of a heavyweight in certain lifts. Of course Matysek came close to being a bodybuilder because he actually did include bodybuilding exercises in his training program . . . and he had the shapely muscles to prove it. He also favored a lot of odd lifts that were popular in his day, and in which he excelled. He was quite a bent-pressing champion and his reverse curl was something else. 

Alan Calvert, in his book, Super Strength

here, sans photos:

shows Matysek reverse curling with a bar that was three inches in diameter. In this lift his arms were strapped to his sides to prevent any arm movement or fast starts. Most men, even today, would have trouble doing anything with a bar of that thickness, let alone a reverse curl!

Matysek Reverse Curling (strapped) - bottom right. 
Click to ENLARGE

Then there was the mighty George F. Jowett, who was editor of Strength for a while. Jowett was a husky looking individual with big arms and meaty hands. He enjoyed all kinds of strength feats and made claims for a lot of records. Nearly 50 years ago (circa 1926) Bob Hoffman asked him to come to York and help him launch Strength & Health magazine. While in New York they trained together and Bob often commented how easily Jowett handled a pair of 50s and 60s in the bentover lateral raise exercise. Bob often remarked that "Jowett was a powerful man." Bob wasn't easily impressed in those days but as he watched Jowett doing the exercise he said, "the mass of his upper back is amazing, and his arms and shoulders are tremendous!" Others who knew the great George F. Jowett readily agreed, which only confirms Bob's observation.

 Milo Bar-Bell Company Ad With George Jowett,

In the early Milo Barbell Company's advertising they featured a group of four outstanding men posing with the training equipment they made and sold. This group of men were all well-developed. None was overly muscles, nor thick and heavy, but each had a superbly developed physique. These four men were: Anton Matysek, Charles Durner, Henry Sincosky and Charles MacMahon. Each was a champion in his own right and these pictures were some of the finest exercise shots of men with any training equipment, before and after.

We had these pictures in our files but so far we have not been able to find them as this is being prepared. And that's the real pity. Only the old-timers will be able to remember these pictures, and perhaps a few others, and that should bring back some glowing memories.

 Charles McMahon, Henry Sincosky, Antone Matysek

Readers of old Strength magazine will remember the husky looking fellow called Arthur Allaire. Art was massively built but impressively shapely. He had powerful looking legs, fine deltoids and massive arms, so he naturally excelled at pressing, especially in the one-hand form. He also went in for some supporting and strength feats but alas, his strength career was short-lived. An accident ended his sparkling career - and his life!

Lurten Cunningham (see photo below), a physical director of the Atlanta Y, was also featured in Milo advertisements during this era. He also had a well proportioned physique with a striking V-shape which barbell men sought to achieve, just as they do today.  

Note: Strength magazine throughout the years of the middle twenties held an annual posing contest and the winner received considerable acclaim. Lurten Cunningham, later physical director at the Athens, Ga. Y.M.C.A., and a writer for this magazine, won the 1925 contest.

Another lifter, Frank Dennis, was fast but he turned his efforts to all kinds of strongman stunts and later, he and a partner put together a great strongman act that would have paid off handsomely on TV or in Las Vegas today.

Anyone who was interested in training with weights back in he 1920s and earlier could not possibly overlook the Nordquest brothers, Joe and Adolph.

 Click to ENLARGE
Courtesy of Joe Roark
For More on the History of the Iron Game visit
Joe Roark's IronHistory forum:

Joe, unfortunately, lost a leg as a young man yet this accident didn't deter him from developing into one of America's strongest men. For years he held the record in the "prone" press, which was only surpassed when powerlifting came upon the scene.  

Prone Press: Joe Nordquest

Photo Courtesy of Jarett Hulse

Nice article by Charles A. Smith on the rules and training of The Pullover and Press on Back:

But strongman Joe Nordquest went in for bent-pressing and actually came close to pressing nearly 300 pounds overhead with one arm in this lift. Imagine the power and balance this man had to expend in order to push this ponderous weight overhead with one hand and supported only by one leg! Sure, Joe had an artificial leg, but who ever heard of an artificial leg providing any power . . . so this lift was truly stupendous. 
His brother Adolph, slightly older, had a terrific physique and was a favorite with sculptors. His forte was the deadlift. In those days only one man could do more, and that was Hermann Goerner, who held most of the deadlifting records then. 

Adolph Nordquest

Here is a letter from Adolph Nordquest to Earle Liederman (1922):

It wasn't until the early 1930s that a young, blocky powerhouse named Walter Podolak (whose story was recently featured in the Jan/Feb issue of Muscular Development) began assaulting the record and brought it up to 600-plus.

Here's that article mentioned:

Walter Podolak Shaking Hands With the Author John Grimek.
Charles A. Smith, center.

This deadlift record stood until powerlifting took hold and, as most other records, this one fell. But when Adolph and Goerner practiced deadlifting a 600-pound-plus deadlift was something, and Adolph pulled up over 700 pounds to his knees but failed to complete the lift. 

Adolph's physique had the muscularity and symmetry of Grecian statuary and sculptors sought his services. In fact one of the most symmetrical back poses ever photographed was Adolph's. This too is missing but perhaps we can reproduce it from a reprint. There's never been another picture taken like it; nor will there ever be. It's truly a classic. 

Adolph formed a stage act with another husky named Otis Lambert. Not to be confused with Joe Lambert. Joe was more of a circus performer and with his wife did many unusual supports and lifts. But Otis was a heavier, stronger man who did a lot of modeling for art schools and artists, but when he an Adolph formed an alliance they had what could be called a "mighty fine act." 

Little need be said about Al Tauscher, the remarkable athlete who is still as active today as he was over 60 years ago. His story was recently featured in the Feb/Mar S&H magazine. 

 Tauscher's training buddy, Owen Carr, was another powerful strongman in his youth. During the time when these two trained together most of the men in that era did so many odd lifts and stunts that they were "hard as nails," and very few if any just exercised to develop muscles. The majority took up training to enjoy better health and to become more athletic and stronger, which they invariably became. Measurements just weren't "their bag" and whatever girths they acquired were the result of the effort they put into "doing their thing" and not merely pumping up to attain these girths.

Owen Carr, bottom left.

Many will remember a rugged barbell man who became one of the best wrestlers this country produced. He was Walter Stratton. He grew from a middleweight to a lightheavy and had the power and physique to match. Not too many years ago he accepted an invitation and came to one of Bob's birthday parties and he looks as rugged and impressive as he was 50 years ago. 

Another great old-timer was John Y. Smith, a sailor, who at the age of 60 won the Strongest Man in New England title back in 1926.  Though he barely weighed 170 pounds then, he out-lifted all came to vie for the title. His thing was his fabulous grip. In Oscar Matthes' gym, where John Y. trained, he picked up a pair of heavy, thick-handled dumbbells and walked around the gym with them. It was a feat that he and he alone could muster. His trainer, Matthes, was himself a small (58.7 inches, 107 pounds, circa 1895) but well developed man and because of his fine symmetry the title of Miniature Sandow was bestowed upon him . . . and he lived up to that title.   

An article on Mr. Smith by Tom Ryan:

John Y. Smith

An article on Oscar Matthes from Strength magazine:

It was during this time, the 1920s, that a flurry of "train you by mail" instructors came from every which way. However, somewhat earlier a fine wrestler by the name of Abe Boshes (photo below) hired two budding strongmen to demonstrate his chest expanders for him in a window along Third Avenue in New York. These two budding supermen were none other than Charles Atlas and Earle E. Liederman. They showed great promise which Boshes recognized, then as the passing spectators stopped and watched these men exercise with the cables and complimented them on their fine musculature. It was only a  matter of time before each branched out on his own. Liederman got together his own chest expander course and posed for the exercises, while Atlas joined forces with Dr. Frederick Tilney who then prepared his Dynamic Tension system. Both men promptly began making a big name for themselves . . . not to mention the money factor. 

Fatman's Guide to Cable Training:
Check it out, there's plenty of info on the history and training with cables there! 

Besides these two there were many others, and in spite of the vast army of train-you-by-mail instructors, all appeared to thrive. There was Lionel Strongfort [a.k.a, Max Unger], a strongman who claimed to have bent-pressed 312 pounds with one hand and showed a picture of himself doing it on stage. He sold 15-pound shot-loading dumbbells. 

Anthony Barker also sold shot-loading dumbbells and barbells, plus a lot of other courses, from keeping super fit to eradicating dandruff. Barker, however, outlasted all of his competitors. He died at the age of 106! And that's a tribute to his way of life.

Anthony Barker.
Eradicating Dandruff? 
BIG THANKS to John Wood for his Oldtime Strongman Site! 

Also Check Out Kim Wood's IRON LEAGUE website:

Among the advertisers who were then trying to "sell muscles through the mail" were: Harry Glick, who called himself the American Sandow, and Sigmund Brietbart, the only man outside of the Mighty Atom who could bite through spikes and chains. Brietbart was a big fellow and peddled a crusher exerciser but he had an unfortunate accident when he failed to take the usual precautionary measures, and consequently died from blood poisoning.

Then there were Charles MacMahon, Jack Sandow, Michael McFadden, Stanislaus Zbysko, Prof. Titus, Adrian P. Schmidt and several others who flourished. Most of these sold chest expanders, but Schmidt, with the help of Harry Schaffran, who recently passed away, got together a leverage machine that was different and very effective if used properly. [Plenty of names there to find out more about!]

In those days everybody wanted to get into the act - and did! But there was little variety among their training systems [sound familiar?], and it was about this time that the York Barbell Company offered its training courses and barbells, and it's the only one that continues to flourish for the betterment of the Iron Game.

Otto Arco was another powerhouse who became one of the first in the world to lift over double bodyweight overhead. He was a fine athlete, who competed in lifting and wrestling. Later he and his brother developed an outstanding balancing act and toured around the world to much applause. Although he only outweighed his brother by a few pounds, he handled his brother with apparent ease in some of the most difficult stunts you ever thought possible.

 Otto Arco Video here:

After retiring from the stage he continued to train and did handbalancing to keep himself fit and flexible. His favorite was something he called the "neck roll," a unique exercise that kept his arms, shoulders, back and especially his neck in marvelous condition. When he was in his mid-60s he often came to Bob Hoffman's birthday shows and when asked if he would give a demonstration he never hesitated. Even at this age he looked super fit and was a hard man to equal in ability or development. 

 Bobby Pandour immigrated to this country with his brother about the same time that Arco did, and promptly fashioned an interesting stage act. Pandour had a terrific physique, and his legs were especially outstanding. He was constantly asked what he did to develop and keep his legs so muscular. The information he gave, although Otto Arco supplied me with the information, was that Pandour rarely ever used the elevator to reach his hotel floor. Instead he would sit his brother on top of his shoulders and then run up the stairs, taking two and three steps at a time. This provided him with all the leg work he needed, while keeping his hips form and muscular, not to mention the cardiovascular system, which also got ample exercise. 

There are many more fine old-timers who served as inspiration to many of our present day barbell men, but it would take volumes to cover than all. But we cannot forget Clevio Massimo, a powerful looking wrestler and strongman with a physique that you would always remember once you had the privilege of viewing it. 

Clevio Massimo, above, center, and below

 From Bookfinder:

 The Mighty Atom, Joe Greenstein, cannot be forgotten either. This mighty mite was a combination of power that made him a giant among his contemporaries. 

The time I first met him was at a marketplace in my hometown where he and another strongman, Sailor Jim White, were giving their spiel. I kept my eyes on both, but of the two, the Atom impressed me more even though Jim White was twice the size of the Atom. How well I remember watching the Atom bend bars, twist horseshoes, and then bite through spikes and chains. I shuddered at this chain biting as I watched in disbelief. It wasn't until after I came to York that I again got the opportunity to talk and discuss many of the strength feats that he and others did. This was during one of his appearances at the famous York Interstate Fair. He knew then that we didn't believe that he could bite those nails and chains. So one year he came to the old barbell club building on Broad Street and offered to bite through any spike we could produce . . . and he truly did! The first spike took longer because, as he said, it takes to first spike to numb his teeth and gums, but after that he can apply even stronger pressure and bite through any steel easier. There was no question about his ability to chew through steel. We saw this at close hand, and it was our own spike, no one doctored or tampered with it. In fact when he was 85 years of age he made a point to come down to the York gym one Saturday to bite through what he said would be the last nail he was going to bite. He did. The bitten nail is still on display in the York Weightlifter's Hall of Fame.

Check out this Mighty Atom Video:
And here, find out about The Mighty Atom documentary now available to view:
This compelling passion project turned documentary from writer-director Steven Greenstein tells the extraordinary life story of his grandfather, famed Strongman Joseph Greenstein, also known as “The Mighty Atom.” Born with tuberculosis and expected not to live past his teens, he went on to become one of greatest and most unlikely Strongmen in history, overcoming insurmountable odds and harnessing the power of his body and mind to achieve the impossible. Available on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play on November 14th.(SDG Films)
Early Photo of Greenstein 
Get This Book!

But this man did a lot of other unusual strength feats. At one time he held back a plane with his teeth, a mouthpiece that fitted into his mouth to which was attached a chain . . . then this chain was attached to the rear of the plane, preventing it from taking off. At another time he pulled several trucks and cars on the streets of New York, attached to his hair! A metal type of comb was entwined in his hair from which a rope emerged and was tied onto the vehicles. He then strained enough to get the vehicles moving, and once they moved they rolled along under his pulling power. For a man his weight and size he had what it takes in abundance, and no one was ever disappointed in any of the strength feats he did or demonstrated. They were genuine. 
Everyone wonders, at this point, what the next 50 or 100 years will bring in the way of records . . . or for that matter, what the next quarter of a century might turn up. But the way records are being broken even the next decade should be astonishing. I only hope that many of us will still be around to see it. In any case, More Power to all the Men of Might and we hope records continue to build up over the next century! 

Clockwise From Top Left:
Anton Matysek, Lurten Cunningham, Abe Boshes, Harry Hall.
Click to ENLARGE  



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