Monday, June 24, 2019

My Life Story, Part Two - Ronald Walker (1953)

Courtesy of Liam Tweed

Originally Published in This Issue (May 1953) 

Part One is Here:

My Last Lifting as an Amateur and First Professional Record

1938 saw me as a professional, having retired from competition in the early part of this year, I now started out to break records. I was also married this year, I also spent a lot of time in London with my business of postal courses on Development and Weight-Lifting, but I did spare the time to train and keep my poundages still on the up-grade. 

I gave many demonstrations at galas and open air displays to keep in form. I also took up hand balancing again, and made a trio. With this act I toured the halls for a while. Included in my act was the Challenge Dumb-Bell, we had lots of fun with this with the audience. 

And so again on the 26th of November 1938, I made my first Professional Record of 286.5 pounds, 4 pounds in excess of my Amateur Record. My real aim that day was to make a world's record total. I snatched 270, first attempt, then took 308 for the World's Record, but failed. I had often done this weight before in training, but the platform I was lifting on this day was of the sloping type and not good enough for snatching or jerking on, because I also failed with the Jerk of 369 pounds, after taking 341 for my first attempt, 369 being again a World's Record, but I had intended that this should be my best official total, which would have given me 963 pounds, because it has always been my aim to make 1,000 total. I still hope to do this, even as a professional, although there is no competition in this field. 

Following this performance, I not turned my activities to my business of training my postal pupils on the methods I had used so successfully. I had still one other ambition to accomplish, and that is to train a team of lifters to defeat the world's best at all weights, and with the right conditions and suitable pupils selected I really think that in 1948 I will see this come true.


I have had many amusing, and painful, experiences during my lifting career. One such painful one stands out to me, and a lesson to those that read this incident. I was making an attempt on a Record Total, with possible records included this day, a friend of mine persuaded me against my own judgement to have a full massage.

Now a massage of this kind to a weight-lifter on the day, or three or four days before an important event spells disaster. Most masseurs, not knowing the type of muscular action required to lift weights, will pound and lift the muscles off the bone. That's just what you don't want. All that is required in the form of massage before lifting, after lifting, before contests is, apply Elleman's Embrocation, and gently pat it into the muscles, it should also be stroked in the same direction of the blood flow, also a flesh glove can be used before the massage. As I say, I was persuaded into it, but that is the kind of fitness I did not want.

I wanted to feel slow and firm, the massage had excited my energy I was holding for the lifting. The result was that when I did lift, I had no control over the loose muscles, and I took a backwards spill with 227 pounds on the two hands snatch, 30 pounds over the World's Record, my leg gave way as I was recovering, my cartilage slipped out, and everything went black for a little while, also I tore the left thigh muscles, this I shall always remember, and stick to my own methods.

One amusing incident I will always remember was when I was taken ill with flu one year, and stomach pains. I had been lifting then four years. The doctor had been called in to give advice on the stomach pains, which later turned out to be a very deep, torn muscle. When he arrived he did the usual testing as they do, and came to his conclusions, and their treatments, etc., but as an after thought he decided to give me a blood pressure test. 

I saw him lift his eyebrows suddenly when he read the pressure. Three or four times he made the same test, but apparently with the same results. He also looked at me during these operations rather queerly. At last he turned to me and said, "It's blood pressure Mr. Walker, that's your complaint, you've 185 lbs. pressure." 

I was rather surprised to hear this, and said so too. "I think you're wrong this time," I told him, and explained the reason, that I being a strong man and the amount of extra work my body had to do, my heart had produced extra blood to prevent overstrain of the heart. He didn't agree with me here, saying that I should be 130 pounds to be normal, so I said I would prove it to him. My brother was at home at the time, so the doctor asked him to have a test, which he did and to the doctor's amazement, you can imagine his face when he read 175 lbs. pressure in my brother, it quite convinced him that I was right. We often get a laugh out of it when we meet. 

Editor's Note: That concludes this series, but we are shortly hoping to publish a complete book on "The Lift Story of Ron Walker," with passages by people who knew and met with him. Watch out for announcements concerning same.    

1 comment:

  1. I have a signed photo of Ronald from October 1936, a handwritten note on the back says that he visited Yardley Hastings in Northamptonshire (presumably on a promotional tour) and broke his back during a record attempt! So far, I can’t find any evidence to support this.


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