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Old School Strongman Training
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Beyond Borders Away
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Old School Strongman Training
I've been doing some reading up on the strongmen of old, and a lot of this stuff is fascinating. There was a lot of hype and showmanship, but these guys were very beastly too - some didn't even look like much, with at least one record-setter I came across weighing in at 150, but the weight they could toss around even late into life was ridiculous, and even compared to their supersized rivals.

I know a lot of old strongman training tactics have made a comeback. Kettlebells, lifting sandbags, etc. But has anyone got deep into this shit? Do any of you make an effort to train like the old school guys?

One thing I find interesting is how varied their workout methodologies were. We get so hung up these days on the perfect system, but these guys all had their own. There was a book called Dinosaur Training a while back that was supposed to be a revival of all the old school training methedologies, and I guess it was a big hit, but digging into it, I find it's not representative of my light research into the subject.

For instance, the author talks about how all strongmen used abbreviated training, only trained muscles once or twice a week, and always went all out. That wasn't true - at least not for all of them like he suggests. Some of them were all about training the same muscle groups every single day over long periods of time, some guys trained for four hours or more in a session (obviously only possible if it's your career), and many strongmen believed in doing workouts well below what they were capable of to make the continuous activity possible.

The guy who wrote the book is a modern legend in his own right and knows his shit. If you followed his training philosophy, you would indeed get strong. But I find it interesting how many of the tactics used then are so contrary to what people do today - so much so that even guys claiming to be bringing it back are ignoring the variance.

Of course, people today are much more interested in building size than strength, and for maximium hypertrophy, you've got to get those solid rest days. As for me, aesthetics are important to a point, but a guy that has unreal strength masked by a body that only looks somewhat stronger than the average dude's has always been impressive to me.

The old strongmen were very functional too. Many believed in being well-rounded and didn't respect guys who were just big and strong but couldn't run and move like a champ.

Here's a list of old books by strongmen. Could make for some interesting reading.

The Development of Physical Power, by Arthur Saxon (1906)
The Textbook of Weight-Lifting, by Arthur Saxon (1910)
The Way to Live, by George Hackenschmidt (1908)
The Truth About Weight Lifting, by Alan Calvert (1911)
The Milo Bar-Bell Company's First Course in Body-Building and Muscle-Developing Exercises, by Alan Calvert (1924)
The Henry Higgins Strength and Muscle Course, by Henry Higgins (1915)
How to Use a Barbell, by W.A. Pullum (1925)
Goerner the Mighty, by Edgar Mueller (1951)

The Textbook of Weightlifting by Arthur Saxon – sold by Bill Hinbern
The Milo Barbell Courses by Alan Calvert – sold by Bill Hinbern
Super Strength by Alan Calvert – sold by Bill Hinbern
The Key to Might and Muscle by George Jowett – sold by Bill Hinbern

Dinosaur Training – sold by Brooks Kubik (Not old but based on old school principles)

Beyond All Seas

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.
To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you'll be lonely often, and sometimes
frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Kipling
(This post was last modified: 11-17-2014 02:50 AM by Beyond Borders.)
11-17-2014 02:45 AM
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Frank Rook Offline
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RE: Old School Strongman Training
I've been using material from Convict Conditioning (volume 1 and 2) by Paul Wade & Naked Warrior by Pavel Tsatsouline to form the core of my workouts for almost a year now.

Both books contain bodyweight based programs which can be tweaked for both strength & cardio conditioning.
That works for me as I do spend a fairly considerable time outdoors or travelling. I do fit in kettle bell & free weights when the opportunity presents itself.
That would be my only exposure to some of the classic strongman training.
Not too sure of the authenticity but i'm considerably fitter & stronger (allows to me to last for multi-day mountain treks followed by kayak & sailing expeditions as I get older) than before i did this stuff.

Thanks for sharing that list. Looks to be worth exploring further.
(This post was last modified: 11-17-2014 05:22 AM by Frank Rook.)
11-17-2014 05:21 AM
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Beyond Borders Away
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Post: #3
RE: Old School Strongman Training
This book also looks really interesting - it's not old but he's got old school ideas. The author looks like crap in his photos, but his training methedologies are raved about and I guess he's damn strong. Understatement when referring to these types, of course.

I read the Amazon preview and it seems like an entertaining read too. Guy talks about doing a 3 to 5 hour training session every month or two as a way to challenge yourself and build elite muscle endurance.

http://www.amazon.com/Rock-Iron-Steel-Bo...iron+steel

Beyond All Seas

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.
To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you'll be lonely often, and sometimes
frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Kipling
(This post was last modified: 11-17-2014 05:36 AM by Beyond Borders.)
11-17-2014 05:35 AM
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