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Take two stout chairs, or the foot-board of a bed and a chair, and bring them together so that you can stand comfortably between them with your hands at your sides. Now, place your hands upon them, raise your feet from the floor and lower the weight of the body by means of bending the arms until your knees touch the floor. Then raise your body until your arms are extended fully, drawing your knees up as high as you can. Continue this motion for not more than eight counts at a time.
These four exercises are the best that have ever been presented for muscle, for bodily health and for the retention of youthful agility and sense of orientation, and also the training and coordination of brain and muscle.
Before starting them please do one thing: Determine upon regular routine exercise. Get the habit.
This is to Certify that Caroline Baumann has completed a regular Course of the Attila System of Strength Building, passed a highly satisfactory examination in Feats of Strength, Boxing, Bagpunching, Wrestling, etc.etc., displaying thereby extraordinary qualifications as an all-round Athlete, Instructor, and Performer.
Here are a couple of exercises that you can do to test your strength, but which also will give you strength and muscle if you practice them regularly.
Get the strongest chair handy for them, you will then be least likely to damage either the chair or yourself.
Even the most ardent heavy-apparatus man can use his muscular system to the limits of its powers when he is removed from his weights, squat racks, etc., by circumstances such as National Service, traveling, conditions at home demanding silence, etc., and if weight trainers reading this are inclined to doubt the powerful effects of these exercises, then I would earnestly suggest that they try them. They will then have a very different opinion!
This exercise is supplementary to Dands [Hindu pushups]. Dands give a prominent shape particularly to arms and chest while Baithaks shape calf muscles and thigh-muscles, tending to develop wonderful stamina of the performer. These two exercises enable Indian Wrestlers to become invincible in obtaining strength.
“In all annals of Strength, Pride of place must be given to Arthur Saxon, the weightlifter who was always able to lift more than he claimed.”
– W. A. Pullum
The best method for a beginner is to start with five dands the first day and go up to ten at the end of the first week… You will be quite surprised to hear that when last year I went to see Gama performing this exercise I began to count, and saw that he went on doing over 2,000 dands within three hours time.
This is so far the oldest oldest get-up tutorial I have been able to find, from Thomas Inch’ Scientific Weight Lifting, published in 1905. The book opens with following motto:
“The Glory of a Man is in his Strength. Be Strong.”
…and as all Kettlebell Simple & Sinister practitioners know, the get-up is one of the best means to move well, and move STRONG!
Inch teaches a common old-school strongman variation of get-down to get-up, and with a dumbbell.
I believe that the greatest mistake weight lifters have made is their ignoring of the Bent Press. There is no lift that calls forth the admiration of athletes as does this lift. It is more fascinating than any in the 40 odd lifts weight men have been practicing for the past 50 years, yet it is seen so little today that unless something is done to revive interest in the bent press it will soon be nothing but a faded memory.
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.
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.
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:
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Grasp kettle-bell with right hand and hold it at the side. Place ball of right foot on block of wood. Rise slowly on the toes keeping the left foot clear off the floor. Stay on toes for count of five, lower slowly, rising again just as heel touches the floor