“Russian Lion” George Hackenschmidt, legendary strongman and wrestler, was truly an all-round lifter. He used barbells, dummbells, and kettlebells, and practiced all kinds of grinds and quick lifts.
As seen on the picture above, one of his favorite exercises was what we call today a Hack Squat. I have written an extensive HSQ tutorial for a StrongFirst blog – check it out here.
In an article called “All Round Body Strength” (1950s) Charles A. Smith revealed another of Hack’s go to drills: a get-up with a barbell of dummbell. No surprise, of course. Hackenschmidt’s excellent book Way to Live (1907) gives us some information about his get-up record:
And here is Smith’s description of Hack’s get-up:
One of the favorite movements of Georg Hackenschmidt was to hold a barbell at arm’s length, then lie down and get up again without lowering the weight. This wonderful exercise is rarely practiced these days, if it IS used at all, and I feel that is should enjoy a greater measure of popularity than it does.
It is difficult to advise what poundage one should commence with, but a STANDARD can be easily set by using a weight which will enable you to make 8 to 10 reps with a given weight. It is best to use a dumbell as this piece of apparatus will lend itself to easier balance.
At first, start by laying on the floor and having a training partner hand you the dumbell. You can start with the right or left hand, it is of no importance which one. From a “flat on your back position” with the weight held at SINGLE arm’s length overhead, start to raise the trunk and then TURN SIDEWAYS. If you are holding the weight in the right hand, then turn to the LEFT SIDE. As you turn over, press on the deck with your left hand and support the weight on the entire forearm and push your body up with all you have. From there on, it is a matter of balance and thighs. You will probably find it necessary to bend slightly over to the side away from the weight in order to prevent it falling from arm’s length. Lower the weight to the ground and resume the commencing position and repeat the exercise.
You will find this movement fairly exhausting at first, but as you get used to it, you will find it possible to start from a standing position and resume that position after having laid down. Use as many reps as possible – up to 20 reps with each hand, but NEVER use more than a single set of this exercise.
What are the other “All Round Body Strength” exercises on Smith’s list? Dumbbell Two-Hand Swing, Wrestler’s Bridge with Body Toss, and Single Leg Squat.
Pretty good list, right?
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