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View Full Version : Arthur, Kurt and Hermann saxon



We5
12-31-2003, 07:15 AM
Taken from Natural strength-

Hermann 5 feet 8
weight 168
Biceps 16.5
Forearm 13.3/8
Chest rested 44
expanded 47
waist 32
thighs 23.1/4
calves 15.1/4

Cleans: 290
continental cleans: 310
snatch: 187
Military press: 220-230

Kurt, 5 feet 8.5
Weight 170
biceps 15.5
Forearm 13.3/8
chest 42.5
expanded 46
waist 31
thighs 23.1/4
calves 16.1/4

Cleans: 293
cont. cleans: 315
snatch: 184

Arthur, 5 feet 10
Weight 200lbs
chest 46.5
expanded 49
Biceps 17.5
forearms 14.3/4
thighs 24
calves 16.1/4

Snatch: 195
military press: heels together, 252
Double hand lift: 336 bar held across one shoulder, 112lb ring held in left hand=448lbs total
clean and jerk: 311
Barbell throw and catch(!!) 311
Pull overs 386, weight then pressed to arms length

Exercises performed mostly were olympic style lifts, pressing, and some long lost stuff like bent press, swings, one arm snatches.
All before the days of squats, deads, benching, rows etc.
There are saxon training manuals, including pictures of their physiques on
Http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/
Also lots on Louis syr, sandow, thomas inch etc.
Also visit www.naturalstrength.com/ and look at "physical culture history",
loads of stuff on old time strength training/bodybuilding, and brooks kubiks dinosaur training at http://brookskubik.com/.

Wes.

benchmonster
12-31-2003, 09:14 AM
That last Saxon listed there, Arthur was one of the strongest men to have ever lived, at any time and at any bodyweight. The 2 handed anyhow he did (listed above as a double hand lift) was the most combined weight ever done in that exercise, even today.

And this was done long before anyone ever heard of steroids, bench shirts, squat suits, protein supplements or even Cell-Tech.

If anyone wants to get real world, freaky type strong, then training like the Saxons did is a good start. Try some Saxon side bends with a 20 lb dumbell in each hand, then come tell me about how strong you are through the middle.

And before anyone asks, a Saxon Side Bend is performed standing with a dumbell in each hand, or a barbell held in both hands. Hands are overhead at arm's length (think, stick em up!) With elbows locked, bend to the side, DON'T TWIST. Bend at the waist, go right for 5 reps or so, then left for the same number of reps.

Use very small weights for this.

Also, the 2 handed anyhow is an interesting exercise. As is the bent press, which is 1/2 of the 2 handed anyhow. Take an olympic bar, raise it in one hand to the shoulder, and press it to arm's length overhead. This is a bent press. I think the most anyone in my gym is doing on these is around 100 lbs for 5 each hand. And Saxon did 336 lbs with his right hand, while curling and pressing a 110 lb Kettlebell in the other!!!! Wow.

We can learn a lot from the old time strongmen. They were very strong and very athletic. They often made their living by traveling around with a circus or carnival and would regularly perform amazing feats of strength, and would challenge members of the audience to come up on stage and repeat these feats, thus showing that the feats of strength were legit, and not some sort of trick. They also would commonly challenge locals to legitimate wrestling matches, again showing their legitimacy and athletecism.

The modern marvels of strength are amazing as well, but don't overlook the feats and training of the old timers.

B.

We5
12-31-2003, 10:09 AM
Thats an excellent thread there.
The old time strength trainers style of lifting is vital to anyone.

The sort of gains they had were way before steroids, rep/set ideas, nutritional ideas(they had basic knowledge, and saxon himself recommends"bovril" and lager as two good strongman ideals!)

They trained every day using Single rep sets, or "practices" as Arthur called them, for many, many sets.Everything was basic.They didn`t have the knowledge and equipment we had today, but still built tremendous physiques and huge strength.
On the Sandow plus site, there is a saxon booklet with pictures of the trio, the younger 2 are very lean and muscular.
This is real proof of what works in training; heavy weights and gaining strength= more muscle.No gimmicks, no supplements, no secret methods.

Also read up about Louis Cyr, a 300lbs canadian whose strength was superhuman, he once lifted a platform of 14 men at a show, for example.
I`ve posted a list of links on the bodybuilding and fitness section on this site for anyone interested in reading more.

Wes. :)

We5
01-01-2004, 07:56 AM
http://www.t-mag.com/articles/205abs.html

The bent press among others.

phreak
01-02-2004, 01:35 AM
Also, the 2 handed anyhow is an interesting exercise. As is the bent press, which is 1/2 of the 2 handed anyhow. Take an olympic bar, raise it in one hand to the shoulder, and press it to arm's length overhead. This is a bent press. I think the most anyone in my gym is doing on these is around 100 lbs for 5 each hand. And Saxon did 336 lbs with his right hand, while curling and pressing a 110 lb Kettlebell in the other!!!! Wow.
No, he didn't. Essentially you are saying that he can press 336 with ONE hand, but only 252 with TWO hands. It should be the other way round, i.e., he would have been able to military press about 1.33 times what he could do with one hand, which is 448. This would have been a very marketable feat, and Saxon being a professional strongman would have used it to earn money. The simple fact that he didn't, tells me these numbers are incorrect.


We can learn a lot from the old time strongmen. They were very strong and very athletic.Mostly very athletic. Most of their feats required an extraordinary degree of technique and stability.

Blitzforce
01-02-2004, 02:05 AM
wonder why the snatches are so low?

Songsangnim
01-02-2004, 03:26 AM
Thats an excellent thread there.
Also read up about Louis Cyr, a 300lbs canadian whose strength was superhuman, he once lifted a platform of 14 men at a show, for example.
I`ve posted a list of links on the bodybuilding and fitness section on this site for anyone interested in reading more.

Wes. :)


If I am not mistaken his best lift was a platform of 18 men.

We5
01-02-2004, 04:33 AM
A reply to phreak;
The bent press isn`t like a military press or anything like that, its a supporting exercise.
See the links I posted on the BB Fitness forum for how its done.

Wes.

phreak
01-02-2004, 08:25 AM
A reply to phreak;
The bent press isn`t like a military press or anything like that, its a supporting exercise.
See the links I posted on the BB Fitness forum for how its done.

Wes.Nice array of links, btw. But I know what a bent press is. And although a lot of core strength is needed, the weight (with a hitch) still has to be pressed to arm's length and supported there. An even more conservative estimate would be that he could only military press (an amazingly strict one) what he could bent press. But of the four people I've ever seen do a bent press (interestingly 3 out of those four are life-long wrestlers), all of them military pressed far more than they bent pressed.

chris mason
01-03-2004, 12:31 PM
We must also keep in mind that some of the claimed lifts for men like Saxon may not be entirely accurate. Joe Roark, an iron game historian of note would have more information on this topic. I will see if I can get him thoughts on the issue.

benchmonster
01-06-2004, 07:50 AM
Phreak, I am not wrong. Saxon has the all time record in the 2 hands anyhow. And those are the correct numbers. Now I personally can military press far more than I can bent press. But the fact that myself and a few wrestlers you know can all do more in the military press than the bent press does not have anything to do with what Saxon did, or did not do, now does it?

I do the bent press regularly in my training, and I have a hard time fathoming how anyone could do over 300 lbs in this exercise, but then I also have a hard time imagining how anyone could squat over 1100 lbs when my own max is about 300 lbs less than that, and I really get blown away by someone who can close a number 4 Captains of Crush gripper, when the #2 kicks me in the ass. But just because I personally cannot do these things, does not make them impossible.

Phreak, if you can find a link or something showing what Saxon actually did in the 2 hands anyhow, or the bent press, please list it here. My trainer, who is something of a iron game historian, has several books on Saxon as well as Cyr, Goerner and others, and these books are where I got this info.

By the way, anyone here deadlifting over 700 lbs with one hand yet? Hermann Goerner did just that.

B.

benchmonster
01-06-2004, 07:52 AM
http://www.americanpowerliftevolution.net/2handsanyhowpage.html

Just to show I am not completely talking out of my ass here. Go here, then look around at some of the amazing feats of strength done by Saxon as well as many others then we can discuss this.

B.

phreak
01-06-2004, 10:52 AM
Phreak, I am not wrong. Saxon has the all time record in the 2 hands anyhow. And those are the correct numbers.Well, the photos are intriguing and stylistically nice, but hardly evidence. I see him standing there with a bar in his hand that (at best) could indeed weigh about 336 (by calculating the disc volume liberally). But nothing is official unless it is accredited by impartial, knowledgable judges.


Now I personally can military press far more than I can bent press. But the fact that myself and a few wrestlers you know can all do more in the military press than the bent press does not have anything to do with what Saxon did, or did not do, now does it?No, it is indeed no absolute proof. But it is quite convincing circumstantial evidence if he claims he lifted about double what he should have been able to.


I do the bent press regularly in my training, and I have a hard time fathoming how anyone could do over 300 lbs in this exercise,I've tried it with 110 and thought that was almost impossible... :) But I really should work on trunk flexibility -- I've gotten stiff because I quit judo years ago.


... but then I also have a hard time imagining how anyone could squat over 1100 lbs when my own max is about 300 lbs less than that, and I really get blown away by someone who can close a number 4 Captains of Crush gripper, when the #2 kicks me in the ass. But just because I personally cannot do these things, does not make them impossible.True. But when such spectacular claims are made, I like to see iron-clad proof.


Phreak, if you can find a link or something showing what Saxon actually did in the 2 hands anyhow, or the bent press, please list it here. My trainer, who is something of a iron game historian, has several books on Saxon as well as Cyr, Goerner and others, and these books are where I got this info.No, I honestly can't say that I have any links that prove the contrary. But that does not automatically validate his claims.


By the way, anyone here deadlifting over 700 lbs with one hand yet? Hermann Goerner did just that.Not me. Small hands and joint problems... 200 thumbless is hard enough. :(



ps.
I did some research and found a site that claims he supported two men sitting on a chair with one hand. That does make his official bent press much more likely. So in the interest of peace on earth (my New Year's resolution ;) ) I will say that he probably did bent-press a weight that was around 330-350. But I still say he should have been able to military press a sh!teload more weight.

pps.
I'm often argumentative, but only when things go against logic. Nothing personal. ;)

benchmonster
01-08-2004, 07:45 PM
Not taken personal either. Saxon died long before I was born. I did not witness any of his lifts myself, and don't know of any living person who did. But those old timers were the subject of much doubt and criticism in their day too. And from the stories I have read and heard, they were very quick to take on challenges to prove their incredible strength.

I was only reporting what I have read in record books and other sources. I agree whole heartedly that those numbers defy logic. However, the feats of strength of those guys were done in front of lots of different people at different times, and although we can not prove one way or another, I think the the lifts of Apollon, Cyr, Goerner and Saxon were proved as well as they could be given the limited amount of technology of the day.

B.

Scott S
01-09-2004, 12:15 AM
Jesus. If benchmonster's said it once, he's said it four times!



:D

chris mason
01-09-2004, 08:19 AM
Here are some qoutes from Joe Roark and the other guys at the Ironhistory section of cyberpump:

First impressions regarding measurements:
Although through the years various sizes were offered for the three men as their bodyweights varied, I cannot accept Arthur- who weight was always hovering around 200 lbs, to have ever had a 17.5" biceps.

One cannot use logic and say that Arthur could not have lifted more with one hand than with two. He did and that has always been known, and verified by onlookers and judges, and even a signed certificate indicating his 386 lb bent press.

When Arthur bent pressed his two brothers in the basket-like barbell the weight has been calculated by Liederman as 363 lbs and by Willoughby as 370. This was the combined weight of the two brothers plus 7' bar plus apparatus for them to sit in.

The bent press was not a press in the sense that the hand elevated up and away from the body, but the body lowered away from the hand which, though trying to press ended up being basically unchanged in height from floor- check photos of the beginning stance and the ending stance- the bell will not vary much in height off floor before standing back erect I mean).

The Saxons each claimed to have gotten 424 lbs to arms length in the bent press, but none could rise with that much- and we all know that Arthur was better and stronger than his brothers in completing the bent press. Grimek claimed he got 400 or so to arms length in the bent press but could not stand erect with it.

In the Two Hands Anyhow, following the bent press the other arm did not curl but swung the bell up. How many men have ever been able to curl more than half their bodyweight one handed- particularly when having close to 300 lbs overhead in the other hand? I know that sources can be found that assert he curled it but those sources are incorrect.

I could find chapter and verse if needed for all this, but will check back after others have replied.

************************

Several thoughts. As far as the two hands anyhow, I'm with Joe. The second weight was more likely swung than curled. As far as the one guy who kept trying to compare the bent press and military press, you have to keep in mind that those lifts were most common nearly a century ago. Most modern trainees consider anything lifted from the shoulder to arms length as "militaries" and many confuse a bent press with a bench press. I have been involved in a debate with an individual on another forum who insuists Bill March military pressed 390, which is ludicrous, and that back bend is not an important thing to consider in evaluating whether a lift was a military press. So I guess I am saying consider the source. The lifts quoted for Saxon seem low compared to those attributed to him by Webster and Willoughby in their classic works and lower than Saxon claimed for himself in his books.

phreak
01-09-2004, 12:58 PM
The funny thing is, that the 17.5" bicep is the most believable to me. Why would people doubt that? He was probably doing a lot of arm and back work (pullups, etc.) and could have had really good arms. Mine have been 17" @ 230-235 and I never did direct nor indirect arm work. I know a 46-y.o., 140-Lbs sprinter with 15". Arms, that is. :D

body
01-09-2004, 02:47 PM
well from those pics his arm does not look 17 inches.

not saying those pics were taken when he claimed to have 17 inch arms.

Scott S
01-09-2004, 02:51 PM
John Grimek (as you know) had 18" arms at 5'9" and 200 lbs. Saxon's arms don't sound impossible to me. Whether or not he had them can be debated.

Songsangnim
01-09-2004, 09:09 PM
Mine have been 17" @ 230-235 and I never did direct nor indirect arm work. I


So what you are saying is that you ONLY train legs? Indirect arm work for your information, occurs when you work another bodypart that involves arms. Pretty much all chest and back work uses arms to some degree. In fact I do not see how one could work chest and back without using arms.


As regards the Saxon claims your personal info backs up Mr. Roark's point. You weight 30 lbs MORE than Mr. Saxon and have SMALLER arms then he claimed to have? Stuart McRobert (a highly acknowledged weight training guru and author) said it best. "Now you know why anyone claiming huge measurements at a relatively light bodyweight is being dishonest." Consider the rule (bent by steroid users and genetic freaks) that to gain 2 inches on your arms, you need to add 20-30 lbs to your body overall. That is a rough rule of thumb but works well enough for most people. Saxon may have been a genetic freak, but again I have never seen any pictures that look like he had nearly 18 inch biceps.
Also nearly all weight trainers are famous for adding 2 or more inches to their arm measurement. Just look at some of the measurements the pro's claim for example and then look at some verified claims.

phreak
01-10-2004, 12:26 AM
So what you are saying is that you ONLY train legs?
:) Was in a hurry, so possibly a bit too succinct. For years I only benched. 3-5 sets of 5 and that's it; NO assistance work either. With a max width grip, barrel chest and short arms, that really didn't stress my triceps a lot. And (apart from some minor work as stabilisers) my biceps didn't get worked at all.

As for proving Roark's statement: no I don't. My build is far from average, as my arms are puny compared to my torso. Without going overboard, I would say that -- to look proportional -- my arms would need to be 2-3" bigger at least. Plus I have quite a lot of abdominal fat (no, arms aren't fat), which skews the results. 200 with 17" arms really isn't that special. But like Scott S said: whether Saxon actually had them is another matter.

Songsangnim
01-10-2004, 01:11 AM
:) . 200 with 17" arms really isn't that special. But like Scott S said: whether Saxon actually had them is another matter.


True. It is just that a 17 inch (and saxon's were supposedly just under 18) would look pretty big on someone who only weighted 200 lbs

Joe Roark
01-10-2004, 04:59 PM
Saxon's arms were measured at 204 lbs bodyweight in 1910. Right biceps 16.5 ", left arm 16.1".

He never had 17.5" arms and never cared about his upper arm size.

Arm size is among the most distorted 'facts' in the iron game.

chris mason
01-10-2004, 07:10 PM
Bravo Joe. I completely agree and thanks for taking the time to express you ideas here (at least this once ;) ).

alfa romeu
05-26-2010, 11:51 AM
Natural strength: good thread!
congratulations benchmonster for your max squat (about 300 lbs less than that), cause my squat is only about 286lb (completely unequipped), deadlift 330lb and bench 190lb...and just like you i can imagining how anyone could even squat 330 lbs for 5 reps (i means completely unequipped) like on this vid:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbIi-yPOxsM

real or not real?