Monte Saldo's Secret of the First Ever Bodyweight Dumbbell Swing

…actually, more than a bodyweight – 150 pounds (68 kg) at 143 (64, 8) pounds bodyweight!

We are of course talking about old-time strongman one-arm dumbbell swing, performed quite differently from today’s well know Hardstyle kettlebell swing or snatch.

Monte Saldo writes:

…perhaps my most interesting experience in weight-lifting was accomplished in the year 1912, and which is featured in the reproduction of the certificate [see above, note PM]…

 

The lift in question is know as the “Swing”, and was a very popular lift on the Continent, even decades before the period referred to. But there was no record of any man ever having lifted a weight equal to, or in excess of, his own body-weight in this particular style.

 

In this lift it is necessary to swing weight from the ground to arm’s length above in one continuous movement, with the arm straight. It was regarded as impossible to swing a dumb-bell equal to one’s body-weight in this style, because it was contended that a lifter would be thrown out of balance. However, to cut a long story short, I succeeded in lifting a weight of 150 lb. in this style while only being 143 lb. in body-weight. I must say here that I have never seen the body-weight lifted in this style by anyone else, with the elbow locked.

  • Chapter Weight-Lifting in Monte Saldo’s How to Excel at Games & Athletics, 1937, p. 73.

Example of one-arm dumbbell swing  (well, just 0,6 BW, left and right)

Leo Gaudreas writes about the event:

A professional show was held under the auspices of the British Amateur Weight Lifter’s Association, November 28, 1912; hundreds of fans, unable to gain admission, had to be turned away. This was Rally of the Strong and again Saldo made weightlifting history at this Rally by doing a right hand swing of 150 pounds and a bodyweight of 144 pounds, and thus becoming the first Britisher to swing more than bodyweight with one hand.

What was Saldo’s secret?

The one hand swing with a dumbbell loaded equally at both ends does not offer the same lifting advantage as a dumbbell that is loaded with one end heavier tap the other. Monte Saldo had discovered the advantage of an unequally loaded dumbbell for this lift and since this method was acceptable for professional records, Saldo made use of it. Later, the amateurs fell in line by accepting the use of the unequally loaded dumbbell for the one arm swing. That part of the dumbbell that is at rear at the start of the lift is loaded about 15 or 20 pounds heavier than the other end. Once a popular lift, it is practically neglected by modern weightlifters.

Well, not anymore. It is time to stop doing lateral raises and curls and start to lift dumbbells like the strongest man that ever lift – Sandow, Cyr, Inch, Saldo, Maxick, Hackenschmidt, Grimek, and many, many others.

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SIMPLEX Dumbbell STRONG Swing Tutorial
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