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The Ancient Art of Club Swinging

The Ancient Art of Club Swinging

Say Indian clubs and most people will think of small bottled shaped wooden clubs. But there is more to it than that, including a rich and ancient tradition of strength and skills by strongmen of the East. Club swinging is as old school as it gets!

The original Indian clubs were big and heavy, with the goal of building strength for war, wrestling and status.

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The Bent Press by Arthur Saxon

The Bent Press by Arthur Saxon

The above photograph is the only one which has been published showing me with the bell at the shoulder in the act of pressing. In it I show how to take up a firm position with the feet, and it will be noticed that the right leg is straight contrary to the position generally assumed by the beginner attempting to learn the body press, and even by many a lifter who has had years of experience. In the photograph I show exactly where the elbow should be placed, and it does not require much imagination to gain a correct idea of how the body should fall in the downward direction.

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Harold Ansorge: Systematic Practice the Bent Press – 21 Pointers [1943]

Harold Ansorge: Systematic Practice the Bent Press – 21 Pointers [1943]

In practicing the bent press, I would recommend that you start at a low poundage and work up to near your limit: Each time you lift, think of only one pointer and do that correctly. Forget about all the other ones. This will make it so you will be able to perform this one pointer without thinking of it. Then, take another one, etc.

I am listing a number of pointers that you should master before you consider your style correct:

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Health & Strength: Light vs. Heavy Dumbbells

Health & Strength: Light vs. Heavy Dumbbells

When you read about the incredible feats of the many old time strongman – and then you study their books – you will certainly notice that many of them recommend high rep exercises with very light weights, and only in the end occasionally mention lifting the heavy weights.

Did really Sandow achieved his incredible feats of strength by lifting light dumbbells?

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Orlick/Weider: Abdominal Exercises for Strength and Power (1944)

Orlick/Weider: Abdominal Exercises for Strength and Power (1944)

The following exercises are of a strenuous nature and should be performed only by those who are already quite advanced in their training. Where number of repetitions are not given, repeat exercise until you have to strain and at this point stop and rest. Do this three or four times in succession with each exercise. In this way your body will act as its own barometer telling you pretty well what you can and what you cannot do. As the abdominal muscles grow stronger you will naturally be able to do more repetitions and at no time will you be forcing yourself beyond sensible physiological limits.

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George Hackenschmidt: One Hand [Dumbbell] Snatch [1908]

George Hackenschmidt: One Hand [Dumbbell] Snatch [1908]

George Hackenschmidt’s book Way to Live (1908) is one of the best old-time strength manuals out there – and I have to say, “Russian Lion” is one of my favorite old-time strongmen as well: lifter, wrestler, philosopher, true gentleman, man of integrity and honor.

Hack was a huge fan of barbell, kettlebell and dumbbell lifting, and I have use lots of his stuff in my research about the old-time strongman dumbbell training for my Hardstyle Dumbbell Lifting system.

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“The Russian Lion” George Hackenschmidt [VIDEO]

“The Russian Lion” George Hackenschmidt [VIDEO]

In the golden age of professional wrestling, he was the most famous wrestler of them all. But George Hackenschmidt (1877-1968), aka “The Russian Lion,” was much more than that. A body builder, weightlifting champion, nutritionist, philosopher, and writer, he has been described by Terry Todd as “the outlier’s outlier,” and his story makes a worthy entry as Chapter 3 of the Rogue Legends Series.

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Arthur “Archie” Allaire: The One Hand Military Press (1928)

Arthur “Archie” Allaire: The One Hand Military Press (1928)

It is worth noting that all… Military Press athletes are exceptionally strong in the legs and back, and although their ability in this lift might draw your attention merely to shoulder and arm strength, once glance at the physique of either will prove they are far from being of top-heavy build.

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Barbell & Kettlebell Lifting at the 1913 Olympics [RARE VIDEO]

Barbell & Kettlebell Lifting at the 1913 Olympics [RARE VIDEO]

Barbell military press, continental barbell clean & jerk, barbell leg press, kettlebell snatch to waiter’s press (switching the side!), one-arm barbell snatch, one-arm barbell clean & jerk, stacked kettlebell bent press – what a great overview of some of the most popular old-time strongmen lifts!

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Inch’s Dumbbell Program Minimum for Boxing [2 of 2]: The Dumbbell Jerk

Inch’s Dumbbell Program Minimum for Boxing [2 of 2]: The Dumbbell Jerk

Using the same dumb-bell (40 to 55 lb. in weight according to your strength and expertness), bring it to the shoulder with the right hand. Give it a slight jerk by first bending (only slightly) the legs, and then suddenly straighten them and push hard. As you do so, lean well over to your left, watching the dumb-bell carefully, the left hand being held out and away.

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Inch’s Dumbbell Program Minimum for Boxing [1 of 2]: The Dumbbell Swing

Inch’s Dumbbell Program Minimum for Boxing [1 of 2]: The Dumbbell Swing

Place your left hand upon your left knee take hold of the bell with your right hand, and give it a little swing out to the front and slightly upwards. Allow it to return almost to the first position, but through the legs (keep it clear of the ground this time) and then swing the dumb-bell up to the front with a straight arm, right overhead.

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“Jonglieren”: Team Kettlebell Juggling in Germany (1925)

“Jonglieren”: Team Kettlebell Juggling in Germany (1925)

Each man carries a kettle-bell that weighs about 43 American pounds. These teams go through an eliminating process similar to our trial feats. The opposing teams step toward each other, carrying the kettle-bells upon the right shoulders, and go through a series of march formations to the exhilarating strains of martial music. Each team member wears the uniform and colors of the club he represents.

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Alan Calvert – The One-Arm Military Press (1915)

Alan Calvert – The One-Arm Military Press (1915)

Assuming that a dumbbell has been lifted to the shoulder, there are several ways of getting it to full  arms’ length above the head with one hand.

The simplest way – and incidentally the way that requires the most strength – is the “MILITARY PRESS.” A dumbbell (short handle) is generally used.

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Desbonnet’s School of Physical Culture (1885)

Desbonnet’s School of Physical Culture (1885)

To paraphrase a legendary RocknRolla quote, “there is no school like the old school, and I’m… a fan”.

Professor Edmund Desbonnet was – together with Russian Dr. Vladislav Von Krajewski and Louis Attila (teacher of Eugene Sandow and many other famous strongmen) – one of the true forefathers of the Iron Game.

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How to Get Strong Legs With Dumbbells

How to Get Strong Legs With Dumbbells

Stand erect. Raise the left leg forward and off the ground.

When executed with resistance, how a barbell with an over-grip in position across the shoulders, the hands par apart as the weights on either end will permit, or hold dumbbell extended at the right side.

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Charles MacMahon: Kettlebell Juggling (1927)

Charles MacMahon: Kettlebell Juggling (1927)

The juggling of kettle-bells is a broad subject and I will not attempt to outline all the juggling stunts that are possible, but will merely give you instructions on a few of the most common.

As the title states, you need a kettle-bell or two, or ring-weights with stationary handles.

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DUMBBELL SWING TUTORIAL

DUMBBELL SWING TUTORIAL

Get StrongFirst!

Get StrongFirst!

Flexible Steel

Flexible Steel

One-Arm Dumbbell Swing Tutorial - Free Video & .pdf Manual