Free Open-Access Physical Culture Library

Louis CyrWelcome to our FREE Open-Access Physical Culture Library containing the original work of Authors/Historians, David Gentle and Ron Tyrrell along with reproductions by other renowned Authors and experts including our very own Peter Yates.  Explore reproductions of articles, books, training courses, rare photos and illustrations. Special acknowledgements to Gill Waldron, Contributing Editor for kindly donating his vast collection.  Also to artist, Chris Bostick for his amazing illustrations found in many of the booklets and webpages of our site.  

Left - "Louis Cyr demonstrating his great back lift.  England and Europe were stunned by the enormous poundages he played with in this lift, and Boston strength fans remember that it was in their city that he made his marvelous record lifting 4300 pounds, a record that still remains unbroken.” – “The Strongest Man that Ever Lived” by Geo F. Jowett.

Below you will discover our Latest Installments along with a full index of your favourite Author or Ironman with full access to their books and articles.

Please support our efforts to continue to provide this free open access library. 

Become a HOPC Member Today!

Library Listings by Author ("Latest Installments" below)

A B C D E  F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

1  l  3  l  4  l  5

Free Open-Access Library - Latest Installments


Latest Installment in our Features section 
Contributed by Author
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body sculpturing course (Second Week) - george jowett

Contributed by Richie Neville
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thomas inch promotional flyer

Vintage Adverts (Features section) Contributed by Richie Neville
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body sculpturing course (First Week) - george jowett

Contributed by Richie Neville
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Memorable Muscle from Montreal - Leo robert

Leo RobertPublished in Health and Strength Magazine Vol. 143, Jan. 2017, Issue No. 1
Contributed by David Gentle
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"Leo Robert sadly passed away on the 28th November, 2016.  In tribute, we have chosen to republish an article (originally published Legends no. 3) which was written by David Gentle in 2013." -Health & Strength magazine

"My heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to my long-time friend David Gentle and Health and Strength magazine for this beautiful tribute to my husband Leo.  I will treasure it always" -Diane Robert 


rare maxalding courses and adverts

We hope you enjoy these rare pieces of history featured in our Maxalding section - Contributed by Gil Waldron
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Thomas Inch promotional flyers

Vintage Adverts (Features section) Contributed by Richie Neville
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Featuring flyers Thomas Inch must have included in his mail order courses.   

multi sporter with thermal eye Pamphlet

Vintage Adverts (Features section)  Contributed by Richie Neville
Printed in England
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"Special age fitness trainer.

Flexocisor Pamphlet

Vintage Adverts (Features section) Contributed by Richie Neville
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"The new 10-Minute way to every day fitness"  Promotional pamphlet by Exclusive to Stuart Surridge & Co. Ltd. Includes exercise chart.

Peter yates interviews ron tyrrell

Ron TyrrellContributed by Author
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How many people alive today had the privilege of knowing and being trained by either Thomas Inch, Bill Pullum and Court Saldo ?  Probably very few and still fewer that have known and been trained by all three One such person is esteemed contributing writer at HOPC Ron Tyrrell.  Ron formed a particular close bond with Court Saldo that lasted until the latter's passing. Ron kindly agreed to an interview and reveals something of his relationship with these men and his own extensive physical culture background. After reading the interview please check out the interesting articles that Ron has submitted to the History of Physical Culture.

My Approach to Competitive Powerlifting By George Hummel

George HummelReproduction - Published in Muscular Development Magazine March/April 1979  
Contributed by Peter Yates
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"While bodybuilding and powerlifting are considered separate sports and the training for them different, there have however been those who have been able to excel at both and manage to develop a training system that allows for both goals. George Hummel presents his training ideas in the March/April 1979 edition of Muscular Development.  This article still has some relevant advise for modern day lifters contemplating doing the same."-Peter Yates

Ronald Walker collection of letters and course material

Ron WalkerContributed by Martin Brown
 View Now   Note: large file - please allow a few moments to open.  Collection includes gripper and instructions, Booklet “Mighty Manhood” The Testament of Ronald Walker, Championship course lessons,  Enrolment form – complete by applicant; circa 1938, article from “Health and Strength” dated 18th June 1938, booklet “Ronald Walker The Man” by his friend and trainer George Walsh, 5th Report Form unused, advert for Enrolment, a printed note - “National Emergency”, printed note, “Important Notice to Pupils”, letter on “Breathing Control Exercises”, letter - “Congratulations on Enrolment plus First Lesson” signed by Ronald Walker, letter “Second Lesson” Signed by Ronald Walker, letter “Third lesson” signed by Ronald Walker, letter “Fourth lesson” signed by Ronald Walker, letter “Fifth Lesson” unsigned, letter “Ronald Walker’s Strength Diet” unsigned, letter “Ronald Walker’s Method of Massage for Strength” unsigned.  All of the above were contained in a cardboard package addressed to a pupil from “Ronald Walker Body-Building”


Contributed by Peter Yates
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"Allan Mead -One of the earliest and greatest Muscle Control experts in the world."

"He was wounded in the first Word War, lost a leg, was hospitalized for half a year, left the hospital thin and weak.  Through “peak contraction” methods, the use of weights, cables, and muscle control, Alan Mead developed a muscular physique that astounded the world with its amazing definition.  He stands 6 feet tall, weight 200 lbs., and is referred to as the human anatomical chart." -Charles Coster

The abbreviated workout by ron tyrrell

The Abbreviated Workout by Ron Tyrrell"A Training Aid for the Working Man"
Dec. 2016, Contributed by Author
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"The Abbreviated Workout has proved to be the way forward for many a working man finding himself with little time to train, or perhaps too little energy for regular training on a full programme.  Fortunately, this problem has been addressed over the last 100 years by a number of wonderfully far sighted men such as Mark Berry, Joseph Curtis Hise and Peary Rader, to name just three.  They all made excellent progress in their personal training, as did many of their pupils, and today we find that Pavel Tsatsouline, Russian strength and conditioning trainer and great admirer of the old-time strength teachers, advocates an abbreviated workout as a result producing way of making progress in strength training."-Ron Tyrrell 

Maxalding - Strength & Development Course

Maxalding course 1965Published in 1965/66
Visit the Maxalding in our Features Section
Contains six lessons - see right menu "Course 1965"
"Every Maxalding course is prepared in accordance with the basic factors relating to each case.  These include the Age Group Factor, Physique-Type Factor (assessed by height, bodyweight and measurements), Nature of Profession or Occupation (physical, mental or a combination of both, Other Activities (if any), - Sports, Games, Recreations, Hobbies, Extra Studies, etc., Special Requirements (weight increase or reduction, height increase, eradication of functional disorders, specialization for rapid increase in specific parts - arms, legs, neck, chest, back, etc." 

SIFU LUO GUO HUA (1946-2016) by peter yates

Sept, 2016
Contributed by Author
Part I and Part II
"For some time I had been contemplating writing an article about martial arts master Sifu Luo Guo Hua. His recent passing has now prompted me to put pen to paper in honor and remembrance. 

I was introduced to Sifu Luo by my good friend and Gung Fu brother, Greg Winder. At the time we were both living in Japan and I was intrigued by the stories Greg would tell me of his teacher."-Peter Yates

an interview with gil Waldron by peter yates

Gil WaldronSept, 2016
Contributed by Author
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"I first met Gil through his Maxalding website and over the years our friendship developed. We always try to meet up whenever I am in the UK. Gil's passion for physical culture and his desire to make information and access to old books available for all was evident from the start. I know he spent countless hours and personal finance in order for this to occur. I feel he deserves to be more widely known for his efforts in preserving and disseminating the history of physical culture. This is especially relevant regarding the Maxalding system which I feel without his and friend Roger's efforts may have been all but lost. Now however it is making somewhat of a comeback in some quarters and surviving into the 21st. Century."-Peter Yates

Cheat your Way to Lifeguard Shoulders

Leo RobertPublished in Mr. Universe magazine British edition August 1955
Leo Robert featured in photo layout
Contributed by Peter Yates
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"As a beginner can follow a routine for all-round gains.  But when it comes to a specialization program, you must plan that program for yourself alone.  Beginners can stick to rigid rules when they commence weight training.  But isolated work on the arms, thighs… or in your case, the shoulders must take into account such factors as diet, temperament, personal living habits and body structure."

Jim Bradford, Gentleman Strongman by Ron Tyrrell

Jim BradborkAug. 2016
Contributed by Author
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"As we live in an age when winning is everything, I am reminded of one of my favourite strength athletes of the 1950's, who never won an Olympic or World title, and yet is regarded by many strength historians as one of the greatest natural strongmen of all time.  His name was James Edward Bradford, known to his friends and fans as Jim Bradford. Jim won Silver Medals in three World Championships, 1951, 1954 and 1959, as well as two Silver Medals in the 1952 and 1960 Olympic Games, but there is much more than this to his story.  He was a steroid-free, self-trained strongman, scholar, chorister, and true gentleman, and like a throwback to the times when strength and power prevailed." -Ron Tyrrell

back to the roots by peter yates

Peter YatesJuly 2016
Contributed by Author
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"Since leaving my hometown of Darwen, Lancashire U.K. almost 50 years ago I have made it a point to return when able to visit family and spend time with old friends. I was recently able to spend just over three weeks there and made sure I got as much training and physical activity in as possible." -Peter Yates

The story of Jesse James by norman miller

Jesse JamesTwo part installment published in Strength and Health magazine in Dec. 1930 and Jan. 1939
Contributed by Peter Yates
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"This is a story of a slender country lad of mixed parentage who climbed the hard road from an ambition born during his immaturity, to the heights in the wrestling world.  Always ambitious to be strong and to excel physically.   Jesse James planned his own destiny the night he saw Jimmy Londos wrestle near his own hometown in Texas." -Norman Miller

Music, Muscles and Martial Art - Ken "Leo" Rosa by david gentle

Leo Ken RosaLatest installment in our "Features" section!
The Tale of an All-Round Bodybuilder, Dr. Ken "Leo" Rosa
Contributed by Author
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Dr. Ken ‘Leo’ Rosa has more sides to him than a Rubik  cube.  No 'gym rat' or 'beach bum' single mindedly seeking self-image importance, but a man who loves all facets of bodybuilding, music and life." -David Gentle

A GALAXY OF GREATS ON A VERY SPECIAL DAY by Gino Edwards/aka Johnny fitness

A Galaxy of GreatsLatest installment in our "Features" section!
Legends of the Iron Game Historical Meeting, the greatest gathering in Bodybuilding history.   
Contributed by Author with our sincere gratitude. 
With permission, David Gentle ©2016, See other Acknowledgements inside. 
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Enjoy this fascinating write-up of this important historical event written by Gino Edwards, AKA Johnny Fitness of Muscle Mag International.

The Muscle Wars Era

Muscle WarsSeries of reproductions taken from a variety of muscle magazines from that era. 
Contributions by Peter Yates
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We hope you will enjoy reproductions from the Muscle Wars era illustrating the on-going feud that took place between muscle promoters during this remarkable time in PC history

Monohar Aich an Endearing and Enduring Ambassador for Physical Culture By Ron Tyrrell

Monohar Aich"The physical culture world was saddened by the loss of the legendary Monohar Aich, when he died on the 5th June 2016, at the grand old age of 104."
Contributed by Ron Tyrrell
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"Monohar was born in a small village in the Comilla District, once part of British India but now part of Bangladesh. When he began his training at the age of fifteen, he was 4 ft. 6 ins in height and weighed 98 Ibs. He used a variation of the method of training that Indian wrestlers have used for centuries, based on Dhunds and Baithiks, consisting of various forms of press-ups and bodyweight squats. With this type of training he made good progress, increasing his height by 5 ins and his bodyweight by 30 lbs."


Siegmund KleinReproduction from Muscle Training Illustrated April 1968
Contributed by Peter Yates
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"Few men have become legends in their own time, but we have one in the old Iron Game – Siegmund Klein – and he was already known throughout the strength world when he was still in his teens.  Fifty years ago he opened his own gym and he is still going strong."
"Sig was born and brought up in Cleveland, Ohio, and as far back as he can remember, was interested in feats of strength and daring.  In those days Cleveland was a hot-bed of gymnastic activity and possessed some of the biggest and best German, Swiss and Czechoslovakian Gymnastic Clubs in the country."

Author Saxon's last days by Bob Hasse

Arthur SaxonReproduction from Strength and Health magazine, Oct 1951 issue.
Contributed by Peter Yates
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"The circumstances surround the unfortunate demise of the incomparable Arthur Saxon - the how and the why and the where of his untimely departure from the world – have long been enshrouded in mystery and misunderstanding.  The announcement of his passing in the summer of 1921 stunned the strength world.  And even before his earthly remains were committed to the grave, a variety of conflicting tales concerning the man’s last years and days in this life began to be voiced.  Some explanations were entirely plausible; others may only be described as pure and simple pipe dreams."


Al TreloarReproduction from Strength and Health magazine, Feb 1949 issue.
Contributed by Peter Yates
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"It was way back in 1904 that Al Treloar won the title of “Most Perfectly Developed Man in the World” in the first international physique contest ever held in America.  At this writing 45 years have tumbled past in the march of time and many figures have passed from the national scene but Treloar’s physique still dominates the gymnastic picture.
At least he does at the renowned Los Angeles Athletic Club where he has held down his physical directorship since 1907.  Though 3 score plus 15 Mr. Treloar directs at least 10 gymnasium classes each week ranging from medicine ball routines to calisthenics for business men and any exercise enthusiast."

how i developed my chest by Clarence ross

Clarence RossReproduction from Muscle Power magazine Jan. 1949 
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"The world famous strong-man and multi prize winner offers some mighty fine advice for improving the chest."
"Continuing my series of articles on how I developed the various muscle groups of my body, again I will endeavour to bring to you the important facts on specialization and the exact methods that I employed to develop my chest. To receive the full benefit, from these instructions I suggest that you follow these articles regularly, for from time to time I will say something of the utmost importance in regard to specialization, and I would not care to repeat myself month after month for fear of becoming boresome."
1958 Mr. Universe Contest ProgramME

1958 Mr. Universe Contest ProgramContributed by Richard Neville
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Souvenir programne of the 1958 Mister Universe Contest and Junior Mister and Miss Britain Finals held at the London Coliseum on Saturday, September 27th, 1958. 

Pictured on the cover, 1957 Universe contest winners, John Lees, Amateur (left) and Arthur Robin, Professional (right) display their trophies.

Presented for the 10th time by the National Amateur Bodybuilders' Association. 

The American muscle monopoly by randy roach

Terry RobinsonContributed by Author
Reproduced with permission from MuscleSport magazine.
eBook (view fullscreen) or PDF
Is the long, oppressive, dictatorial rule over bodybuilding coming finally to an end?  In the Spring edition of MuscleSport magazine, Randy Roach wrote on Lee Thompson’s recent anti-trust lawsuit filed against the National Physique Committee (NPC) and the International Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness (IFBB).  IFBB President Rafael Santonja and Jim Manion, Steve Weinberger and Sandy Ranalli-Williamson of the NPC were all served notice of the suit at the recent 2016 Arnold Classic.  Randy looks at what led to this legal action and also gave some historical background of the previous muscle monopolies of the past 75 years in American bodybuilding. 

Is bodybuilding a dirty word? by randy roach

Contributed by Author.
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The author skillfully examines the topic of bodybuilding and how its evolution through the 20th century contributed to the birth and exponential growth of the fitness industry

tribute to Terry Robinson

Terry RobinsonContributing Authors: David Gentle, Bill Pearl, Tuesday and George Coates and Richard Thornley Jr., Paul Vitello from the New York Times
Personal Letters contributed by
David Gentle
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Dr. Terry Robinson, bodybuilder and trainer to the stars.   Dr. Terry Robinson one of four brothers, was raised in the tough section of Brooklyn's Coney Island district. He was four months old when his father, an ex-pugilist and a member of the New York State Boxing Commission, introduced him to athletics by tossing him into the surf off the Coney Island pier. Having learned early that life was "sink or swim,” Robinson grew up not wanting to disappoint his father and was voted "Best All-Around Athlete" at Manhattan' s Textile High School." - Bill Pearl et al

Mario Lanza, Modern Caruso by Terry Robinson

Mario Lanza, Modern CarusoContributed by Peter Yates
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“Mario Lanza’s physique, his strength, good looks and personality are outstanding, and second only to his remarkable singing voice.  As there was only one Caruso, there is now only one Lanza.  What was the background, and what was responsible for this tremendous personality?"

Seen left - "Mario Lanza’s program includes regular training sessions at his private gym.  His workouts are supervised by Terry Robinson, his personal trainer.  Here Terry is giving Mario some pointers in the technique of bag punching." 

Herculean Hardware Volume No. 3 by Chris "Sticks" Bostick

Herculean Hardware by Chris Sticks BostickContributed by Author
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“This is the third installment of Herculean Hardware. It's essentially an strength equipment "comic book" designed to promote new ideas and save money and utilize readily available building supply hardware. Since most classic strongmen and bodybuilders had to invent and fashion a lot of their own equipment, we can do the same!" -Sticks

Leo Robert, pupil of the year by the judges

Leo RobertPublished in Your Physique magazine - Montreal Apr. 1948
Contributed by Peter Yates

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"little more than a year ago we ran a story about a young up-and-coming bodybuilder in our ‘Future Great’ column in Muscle Power.  This young chap was a French-Canadian named Leo Robert.  At the time he was unknown in the bodybuilding world.  However, he had put on twelve pounds of muscle in a few months of training and had added 2 ½” to his arms and 4 ½” to his chest, all in a few months of training as advocated by this magazine. He had been weak and skinny before and we were so impressed by his development that we ran a short story about him in Muscle Power and predicted that this lad would certainly be going places."

an interview with Paul Shaw by Peter Yates

Paul ShawContributed by Author
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"One year on a trip back to England, Paul came to visit me armed with a bag full of 6-inch nails and packs of playing cards. In short order he bent the nails, tore the cards into halves and even took the corner off one pack with his thumb, all the while smiling.

I often interview people then form their answers into an article but I felt in Paul’s case it would be better to let it stand as is. Some very interesting insights and tips are contained in his answers."

how to keep fit and like it by arthur H. steinhaus, Ph.D, M.P.E.

How to Keep FitPublished George Williams College 1957
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"Total fitness is fitness for modern living.  It means: a body free from disease, muscles, heart, and lungs developed to give strength, speed, agility, and endurance to do easily the tasks of each day, an alert mind - free from undue worry, fear, or tension - that can relax completely with the moment of opportunity and as quickly be engrossed in the next challenging task.  A spirit that feels itself unselfishly part of an important venture and important to that venture. 

The student or office worker hurrying to his desk must concentrate immediately, undistracted by a pounding heart or troubled mind.  Day's end should find him with abdomen firm, shoulders relaxed and spine upright."

hepburn's law by John Myles

Hepburn's Law"In consultation with Doug Hepburn"
Published in Kodiak Strength Enterprises 1980

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"Building muscle and strength is an undertaking that requires a great deal of time.  We talk on the order of years.  Therefore, if one was only benefitting 50% from his workouts, it would take twice as long to get the same results as someone who was getting 100% benefit and efficiency from his workouts.  Now if it takes a minimum of 5 - y years to become a champion working out at 5% - 1000% efficiency, think how long it would take if you were only getting 25% - 50% efficiency from your workouts!  Well, the odds are you would never make it.  So you must make every workout count."

The lifting cure by David p. butler

The Lifting CureIncluded is a wonderful photo album of David Blazer's stage act and British Professional Weight-lifting Association lift records.
Contributed by Author 
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"In laying before the public a new philosophy of physical culture, and a new method of cure, we do not claim that we have comprehended the whole of truth in its relations to the human organism in health and disease: we have simply discovered certain fundamental laws, eternal as the universe, and underlying the possibility of harmonious development and cure, together with the method of their application.  We have opened a field of investigation and study.  These laws are simple, their application complete."

I can lift half a ton on the wrestler's bridge - clevio massimo

Wrestler's BridgePublished in Muscle Builder, 1925
Contributed by Gordon Anderson

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"I can lift 1,000 pounds on a Wrestler’s Bridge.  I am the world’s champion at that style of lifting. The nearest approach to my record was a Wrestler’s Bridge lift of 850 pounds made some time ago. In my line I fear no rival.  Why should I with an edge of 150 pounds on my nearest competitor.  Besides, I am increasing my muscular development and adding to my strength constantly by persistent exercises and a strict adherence to diet at all times, and someday – probably in the near future – I shall better my own record."

The story of Ron - author unknown

Ron WalkerPublished in Strength and Health February 1937
Complete Three Part Series 
Contributed by Peter Yates

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"Ronald Walker, present Heavyweight Champion of Great Britain, holder of the world’s record on the Two-Arm Snatch and compiler of the highest total ever established on the Olympic lifts, started life with few natural advantages.  He was healthy but not particularly strong.  At the age of sixteen he was tall and rather thin.  Not until he began to lift weights when he was nineteen years of age, did he begin to acquire the strength and development that has made him famous."

lee van cleef by john barrs

Lee Van Cleef byJohn BarrsPublished in Vigour magazine - May, 1949 issue
Contributed by Peter Yates

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"To be hailed in the world of might and muscle as an expert hand-balancer, outstanding bodybuilder or as an all-round strong-man is an achievement of which anyone may be proud.  But to be acclaimed in all these departments, and in addition to be recognized as a top-rank physical culture authority, is fame indeed! Those who have attained such eminence are very, very few." -John Barr

getting ready for action by Earl Maynard

Getting Ready for Action by Earl MaynardPublished in "Muscle Training Illustrated" - Oct. 1971
Contributed by Peter Yates

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"Former Mr. Universe Earl Maynard tells how he maintains his physique in spite of hectic wresting schedules, and why he is planning to make a comeback in WBBG competition on Sept. 11, 1971."
"Wrestling in various cities around the world and coming into contact with hundreds of bodybuilders gets one reaction:  Everyone expresses his wonderment over the way I have maintained my physique in spite of heavy wrestling commitments.  They’re even more amazed when I tell them that I was into wrestling long before I took up bodybuilding, and combined both for many years."-E. Maynard


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Are you training hard and yet still not making gains? If so, here is the time proven, best way to train.

We offer you a training system, which once you decide your own personal body-type will produce the best results just for YOU. Avoid the wrong system and time wasting schedules and choose your own individual approach for rapid results.

Thomas inch, a great briton by David gentle

Thomas Inch, a Great BritonContributed by Author
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Thomas Inch was born in Scarborough in 1881 and became interested in bodybuilding at the early age of ten, remaining continually active in weight-lifting and bodybuilding, during which time he contributed a great deal to physical culture up until his death in his eighties.

Inch held many titles ranging from world’s junior champion weight-lifter and world’s professional middleweight champion to Britain’s Strongest Man.

the three apollons by David gentle

The Three ApollonsContributed by Author
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The Author features a trio of strongmen each known as Apollon throughout history.  Among these were Louis Uni, born in Marsillargues, France, William Bankier, known as the Scottish Apollon from Banffshire, Scotland and finally Yorkshire strongman, J.C. Tolson.  All were remarkable athletes in their own right.

Seen left - The fabulous John Davies, lifting the Apollon Wheels in 1949.  

Tyler Lurie, Following in grandfather's Footsteps by Peter Yates

Tyler LyerContributed by Author
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"In the last few years of his life I got to know and become good friends with Iron Game legend Dan Lurie. Besides the pleasure of talking to and learning from Dan I had the opportunity to meet members of his wonderful family. His wife Thelma is a most kind, generous and gracious lady. His children and grandchildren are the most attractive, multi-talented group of people I have ever encountered. When coming together for the frequent family gatherings there is an abundance of entertainment from fine singing voices. Apart from being musically gifted; fitness as can be expected has played a big role in their lives. His grandson Tyler told me that when he and his cousins came to family events Dan would hold push up competitions which were not easy because as he put it, “Everyone is freakishly strong.” “Must be good genetics."

 john lees, a man who never gave up by David gentle

John Lees, A Man who Never Gave UpContributed by Author
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"‘The story of one of Britain’s greatest bodybuilders, John Lees, who later became a successful wrestler.

John Lees was born in Stalybridge, his father was a master builder, and his grandfather was a noted wrestler who at one period was giving exhibition bouts with the world famous Russian Lion, George Hackenschmidt. He was quite a large lad when he was born, and at school was an all-round sportsman, especially good at boxing, football and wrestling. Despite his size, John was also very agile, a skill highly useful in his later life as a professional wrestler."-David Gentle

the legendary Steve reeves by David gentle

The Legendary Steve Reeves by David GentleNow Available in eBook! 
Published in Health and Strength magazine in 1981
Contributed by Author

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"Thirty years ago STEVE REEVES won the NABBA Mr. Universe title in London. Many title holders have come and gone   since   then; some almost forgotten.  REEVES remains uniquely the one person whose fame and coveted physique is still as popular today, as at the time three decades ago when he received the SANDON trophy and the Universe title."-David Gentle

confessions of a course collector by david gentle

Confessions of a Course CollectorNow Available in eBook!  A must-read for those who enjoy Physical Culture!
Published in 1996
Contributed by Author

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"In the year of 1947 – a year with one of the severest winters on record for both New York and the UK, when Thor Heyerdahl set sail on a raft for 101 days from Peru to Polynesia, Steve Reeves won the AAU Mr. America title, a US airplane first flew at supersonic speed, Al Capone died, and Joe Weider was just 25 – I decided to take up bodybuilding."-David Gentle

Wonderful Walker, The story of ron walker by Ron Tyrrell

Wonderful Walker, The Ron Walker StoryNow Available in eBook!
Published in 2002
Contributed by Author

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"As I read the words, "His Deeds Liveth Forever" on a photograph of the Ron Walker Memorial Trophy, my mind went back to a time some 46 years ago when I first heard his name during "snap" (miners' meal break) down a mine in the heart of the now defunct Kent Coalfield in the South East of England. A tough old mining instructor who was putting us through our basic training in preparation for a career in mining engineering, had learned of my interest in strength athletes: "I understand you are interested in the strong man stuff", he said in his powerful Yorkshire voice. "Well, I'll tell you this, one of the best was Ron Walker."

alan p. mead advertisement reproduction

Alan P. MeadReproduction of a rare advert from the early 1900s
Contributed by Gil Waldron

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"Mr. Mead has been aptly titled the “human muscle-map,” and when you glance at these pictures of him, you will not need to be told just why!  Let me get this compelling fact over to you right away!  Mr. Mead lost his right leg in action in 1918, and by dint of his own methods training, brought himself back to a perfect state of fitness again, then proceeded to build up this wonderful physique!  Alas for the P.C. profession!"

how Steve reeves trained by john grimek

How Steve Reeves TrainedReprinted from Muscular Development 1964
Contributed and Reprint Illustrated by Chris Bostick

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"Yes, we saw Steve Reeves change from a “skinny” bodybuilder to a Mr. Universe winner in just seven weeks!  It was in 1950 when we invited him to come and train with us in York, and since he expressed a desire to compete in the Mr. Universe contest again, York Barbell Club was willing to sponsor him. Of course it was only a year earlier when he placed third in the Mr. USA contest, which I won, and openly declared for the third and final time that I would no longer compete in any more physique contests no matter who hurled the challenge at me."-John Grimek

the evolution of women weight trainers by david gentle

Evolution of Women Weight Trainers  by David GentleNow available in Ebook!
Contributed by Author

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"There have always been exceptional strong women throughout history ranging from ancient female warriors to circus performers such as Katie Sandwina.  In earlier days for example the professional strong lady Josephine Blatt who's stage name was Minerva was once rated as the WORLDS STRONGEST LADY (circa 1890's). Minerva claimed to be able to lift a platform with 23 men stood upon it from overhead with a harness affair, using strong chains.  The total weight lifted was reported as being 3,564 pounds or 1,616kgs.  Minerva was six foot tall and weighed 230 pounds."-David Gentle

mike marvel's dynaflex course

Mike Marvel's Dynoflex CourseContributed by John Ball
Based on the quality of this reproduction, please use the 'zoom' feature in PDF to view.

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This course was promoted from the early 1960s to the mid 1980s and the adverts for it appeared on the back of Marvel Comics. It was one of the first courses to teach Power Flex Contractions. It is not certain today whether he actually existed or, because of the Marvel name, he was a figment of someone's imagination and was placed on the back of the Marvel Comics as a copy of the style of Charles Atlas advertising. Certainly the Marvel course did contain some of the types of exercises that Atlas taught.
Postscript:  Since adding this reproduction to our Library, we have learnt from reliable sources that Mike Marvel was actually Frank Rudolph Young. In addition to writing the Mike Marvel Dynaflex course, he wrote some books about yoga (amongst other things), we believe the most well known being "Yoga for Men Only" from 1969. He developed his own system known as 'Yogametrics'.

how the seeds of modern pc were sown by w.a. pullum

cyclopsPublished in Health and Strength 1957
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"Until the advent here of Eugen Sandow at the end of the 1880s, great strength and the cult of the physique could boast no particular worship in this country.  True, at this time in London, “Sampson” a self-styled “World’s Strongest Man”, had come to pass, so to speak, to be accepted, without question, at face valuation.  There were good and sufficient reasons for this, of course!  To a public then quite unversed in the scope and subtleties of this form of entertainment, the display given by this herculean artist (assisted by a pupil) seemed amply to back the claim. While further to confirm right to title, £1000, it was stated, awaited the man who could step up and duplicate the feats that Sampson himself nightly performed."


What Happens when a Lifter Takes to the RingPublished in Muscle Builder in 1960
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"Good lifters make good wrestlers – if they’re smart. Seymour Koenig is a weightlifter.  He’s also smart. On the coast they think he’s good enough to be a champ. " - Ed Theriault

Poppa Joe Assirati: The Last of the Golden Links  by David gentle

Joe Assirati, A Man in a MillionContributed by Author
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"‘Poppa’ Joe is a man in a million if not totally unique in having personally witnessed and been involved in possibly the longest unbroken span in the history of the Iron Game.  I know of no other whom at such an advanced age of 96 can recall and retell with an intimate and knowledgeable style, almost a century of physical culture and strength. 

Joe Assirati has lived and breathed weightlifting/training all his long and oh so interesting life and it has paid many dividends, least of all in longevity and peace of mind."-David Gentle

Training with an Injury - Part One By Peter Yates

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Enjoy this inspirational story about 82 year Arnold Betts, long-standing Maxaldist who remains in top physical condition.

"About three years ago I received an e-mail from my friend Gil Waldron the originator of Golden Age of Iron Men and Maxalding websites. The subject of the communication and accompanying photograph was Arnold Betts. To say I was impressed would be an understatement as the photograph taken at age 79 showed an individual who displayed muscular size, shape and youthfulness."


york advanced methods of weight training by Bob Hoffman

Published in 1951
Contributed by Gil Waldron
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"All kinds of people take up the practice of weight training.  The majority are those who wish to keep fit in the easiest and quickest manner.  Fortunately for them keeping fit with weights requires little time and effort, only reasonable persistence with a weight training course such as Bob Hoffman's Simplified System of Barbell training, to be twice as strong as the average man, to be well enough built to attract favorable attention in street clothes or at the beach, to enjoy splendid health, to have good endurance, rapid recuperative power and the expectancy of long life."  -Bob Hoffman


MAXICK from David Webster's the iron game

MaxickPublished Irving, 1976  
Contributed by Harry Rothman
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"Born Max Sick in Wurtemburg on 28th June 1882, Max was a weak sickly child with lung trouble, rickets and dropsy. When 10 years old he made some weights but his parents destroyed them and from then on he concentrated on isometric and muscle control exercises. His voluntary control of the individual muscles was sensational and although small in stature, his tremendous physique was popular in German music halls. " -David Webster

MAXICK from David P. Willoughby’s "The Super Athletes"

Maxick and Tromp Van DiggilenPublished Barnes, New York, 1970  
Contributed by Harry Rothman
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"Maxick, whose name was "anglicised" from the German, Max Sick, was anything but a man in poor health! Paradoxically, he was to become known as "The Muscular Phenomenon." He was born in Bregenz, a town in the extreme western tip of Austria, on June 28, 1882. Although as a child he had been sickly and of poor physique, by long training in weightlifting and gymnastics he became a phenomenon of muscularity and strength. Although standing only 5 feet 3 3/4 inches and weighing at his best from 145 to 147 pounds, Maxick set records in weightlifting that few heavyweights of his day could equal." -David Willoughby


YOU ARE AS STRONG AS YOU WISH TO BE by maxick and ray van cleef

MaxickPublished in Strength and Health Magazine - Sept. 1946
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"With great joy I follow the friendly invitation of the editors to put some auto-biographic notes about my life and my collected experiences in weight lifting activities to the disposal of the readers of Strength & Health.  However, I do not by any means want to exhibit my own person so that the reader shrugging his shoulders could come to the conclusion that the exception proves the rule.  What I want to do is to show-keeping honestly to the facts – the path which each person can take, providing he is willing to follow it." - Maxick


alan p. mead, "the living anatomical chart"

Alan P. Mead, "The Living Anatomical Chart"

Contributed by Author - Nov. 2015
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“To the physical culture followers, Mead's muscle posing was just as much one of the sights of London as Westminster Abbey.  Never have I seen such a harmonious and graceful torso, yet the awe-inspiring evidence of tremendous muscular power.  If he had lived in ancient Greece, dozens of statues would have been made of him by sculptors, glad to have found a model worthy of their supreme art.” - J. Paul Getty.  Thirty years after Mr. Getty wrote this article, I acquired a copy of the magazine and found it very inspirational, and immediately added Mead to my personal “hall of fame”.- Ron Tyrrell

Olympic Weight-lifting & Body-building for All by Jim halliday

Olympic Weight-lifting & Body-building for All by Jim HallidayPublished in 1950
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"During the past decade numerous writings have been penned on body-building, weight-training and barbell exercises, etc., but there is one branch or phase of the "Iron Game" that has been neglected  This is the stage when an enthusiast, having attained his objective as far as body-building or "conditioning" is concerned, contemplates entering the competitive sphere.  Knowing the pitfalls and dangers - to say nothing of the disappointments - which beset anyone wishing to do this, I felt that some advice and instruction might appropriately come from me.  It was with this end in view that this book was attempted." - Jim Halliday

Athaldo system of scientific physical culture by Don Athaldo

The Athalding Course Lessons by Don AthaldingIssued in 1955
Contributed by Noel Flanigan
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Athaldo's System of Scientific Physical Culture includes an accompanying letter from Don Athaldo,  lessons, detailed instructions along with photo illustrations and a chart of "Constructive Thoughts. Not only the name bears similarity to Maxalding. 


the bruno course of bodybuilding by bruno sammartino

Bruno SammartinoPublished in circa 1960's.
Contributed by Daniel

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"Bruno Sammartino is a professional wrestler who has travelled throughout the United States and Canada thrilling capacity crowds at wrestling shows with his superhuman strength and tremendous physique.  Only in his middle 20's this young superman has already won the wrestling Championship of Canada and the world's championship.  His mighty physique and amazing strength and stamina played a large part in his rapid success in the wrestling world." 

Herculean Hardware volume no. 2 by chris "sticks" bostick

Contributed by Author

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“This is the second installment of Herculean Hardware. It's essentially an strength equipment "comic book" designed to promote new ideas and save money and utilize readily available building supply hardware.

Since most classic strongmen and bodybuilders had to invent and fashion a lot of their own equipment, we can do the same!" -Sticks

How to learn muscle control third Lesson by Otto Arco and Alan Calvert

Otto ArcoPublished in Body Molding, Sept 1925
Contributed by Gay W. Ng

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“In the September lesson I told you that before attempting combination control feats it would be necessary for you first to learn to control the separate groups of muscle. It was my intention to follow the back, and breast, control, with a lesson on the control and display of the arm-muscles.  Instead, I am going to give you a sort of general lesson, including back, breast, arm and combination movements."

How to learn muscle control Second Lesson by Otto Arco and Alan Calvert

Otto ArcoPublished in Body Molding, Sept 1925
Contributed by Gay W. Ng

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“Let us start by assuming that you have practiced the stunts shown in Figures I to IV in the August issue; that you have advanced so far that you can move the shoulder blades up or down, or towards or away from the spine, when you have your arms raised out to the side.  Perhaps you have gone even further, and can move the shoulders in side-wise circles, as suggested by Arco."

How to learn muscle control by Otto Arco and Alan Calvert

Otto ArcoPublished in Body Molding, August 1925
Contributed by Gay W. Ng

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“This article, which is the first of a series, is the point work of Otto Arco and myself.  The division of labor is somewhat unequal. Arco does all the work of posing and supplies all the details of instruction.  All that I do is to get the material together, to expand his all-too-brief notes, to comment on his ideas and attend to the publication."

the larger aspect of muscle control by Alan Calvert

Otto ArcoPublished in Body Molding April 1925 - Illustrated with photos of Arco.
Contributed by
Gay W. Ng
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"First impressions are apt to be very lasting.  The words “Muscle Control” were first applied to a group of flexing exercises issued by Maxick (Max Sick) in England. 

A very similar set of exercises, (published under the same title) were later advertised and issued in this country.  Consequently, I find that every physical culturist, whom I meet, clings to the idea that the few exercises, or stunts, given in the above mentioned courses comprise all there is to “Muscle-control.”

klein's bell series by Siegmund Klein    

Klein's Bell was first issued in June 1931 and ran monthly until December 1932.  In January 1933 it merged with 'Strongman Magazine'.  Each issue ranged from 4 to 8 pages. It was described as 'being published gratis for the pupils and friends of  Siegmund Klein's Studio of Physical Culture, 717 7th Avenue., at 48th St., New York City.' 

By October 1931 the copies were costing 5c each and ultimately the publication was sold at 50c per year. Because of his connections Klein was able to publish articles by a wide range of Physical Culture and Bodybuilding experts and each issue is a gem containing the most interesting of articles, photos and personal recollections and anecdotes.

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The Stebbing Course by lionel stebbing

The Stebbing Course by Lionel StebbingPublished in 1929
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"Arranged by Lionel Stebbing, Personal Consultant, Body-Building & Health Practitioner (London).   Officially recommended by "Health & Strength," "Health & Efficiency," "Health for All Superman," et. etc. With the 4-in-1 Super Course you can now cultivate Radiant Health, Strength and a splendid Muscular Physique.  Remember, it all depends upon your own efforts how much benefit you extract from the Course.  Practise all the lessons thoroughly, with enthusiasm.  I know that you will write and tell me that your efforts have been richly rewarded!"


Flexing Course by Daniel D. MatysekPublished in 1921
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"This course is a brief and complete explanation of the MUSCLE FLEXING SCIENCE and how to use it for your personal physical advantage and supremacy. You are asked to devote 5 minutes every day or 15 minutes every other day to its practice. This practice must be indulged in your own room, when you are alone, so that nothing will interfere with your training sessions. If these muscle flexing exercises are practiced alone without any exercising appliance very satisfactory results and gains in muscular development may be attained, if the individual is persistent enough to perform the movements as outlined."  - Daniel D. Matysek

The Strongfort Advanced Course

Strongfort Advance CourseCorrespondence Course Published in 1922
"Strongfortism Reaches Every Park of the World"  
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"I am sending you some strength building movements for your first lesson, rather than feats of strength, for the purpose of preparing you for the actual feats of strength which you will get in your future lessons.  These movements, of course, are to be taken with a barbell, and I would suggest a weight that you can handle without special difficulty, but which will be heavy enough to interest you intensely."

The Miracle of Might By George F. Jowett

The Miracle of Might by George F. JowettPublished in Strength magazine in 1926
Contributed by American Powerlift Evolution

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"For the first time the story is told of the man who combines the greatest physical attributes ever gained by one person - shape, size, and strength.  He ranks, the writer states, as a Miracle of Strength.  The story of how he got his unusual physique and strength will interest you, as well as disprove some common fallacies.

Long after the great Louis Cyr retired the shout of "Vive Le Cyr" was heard in every land, where men of strength were worshipped.  The French paid undying homage to the long-haired descendant of the Gaulish solider of Cartier, while the English - speaking people hailed him as the "daddy of 'em all." 

The True Story of GoErner's Record Dead Lifts by Edgar Muellar

The True Story of Goerner's Record Dead Lifts by Edgar MuellarPublished in Iron Man in 1945
Contributed by American Powerlift Evolution

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"No one could be more qualified to tell the true story or correct mis-information about Hermann Goerner than the author, Mr. Mueller, having been associated with Goerner most of his active lifting career.  We know that you will find the following article as fascinating as we did.  What an amazing physical superman Goerner must have been in his prime.  Can modern lifters equal him? It was my privilege to witness Goerner make a one hand dead lift at Bill Pullum's club in London, England.  Goerner had been training there for some time, and the story had gone around that here was a man who could lift the unbelievable poundage of 600 pounds in a one hand dead lift." - Edgar Muellar

an Old Timer Looks at Goerner By Kurt Hennig Saxon and Bob Hasse (cross-referenced)

Hermann GoernerMarch, 1953 - Strength & Health magazine
Contributed by The American Power Lift Evolution Website
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"The recently published Goerner the Mighty, by Edgar Mueller, has been the cause for a reawakening of the long standing controversies concerning just what the "old timers" did or did not do in the way of certain record feats of strength.  Just why the feats claimed should have been so poorly chronicled and so inadequately attest to has always slightly puzzled me, as has the habit of keeping certain announcements hidden from the public for years and even decades after the purported feat took place."

muscle control by thomas inch

Muscle Control by Thomas InchPublished in Health & Strength Annual, 1958
Contributed by Ron Tyrrell
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"Without proper muscle control - conscious or subconscious - the highest possible athletic success cannot be hoped for.  This article aims at showing the many ways in which the physical culturist will benefit who pays daily attention to this very important aid to training.  During a long physical culture career I have always been fully conscious of the necessity of obtaining full muscular control.  Any method or system which makes this its main aim has a definite advantage over all other ways of training." -Thomas Inch

molding a mighty Back (and the rest of the series) by George F. Jowett

Molding a Mighty Back by George F. JowettRead this highly successful series of booklets published in 1930 and were best sellers for many years.

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"Whenever the memory of my father comes before me I always visualize his physical proportions which were accentuated by the great breadth of his shoulders.  Few men have had such a massive spread across the broad of the back and it was this more than anything else which drew my admiration to him when I was only a young boy.  There is something about a broad back that immediately arrests the attention of every eye." - George F. Jowett

The story behind the picture -  Maxick and Fred storbeck

The Story Behind the Picture by Ron Tyrrell

Published in Strandpuller magazine
Reproduced courtesy of Jim Bartlett, President, I.S.S.P.A.   
Contributed by Author
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The story behind the accompanying picture began in the year 1900 when the South African, Tromp Van Diggelen, a keen physical culturist and a pioneer in the art of muscle control, travelled to Vienna to demonstrate his skills for the famous Nerve Specialist, Krafft-Ebing.  This meeting convinced Van Diggelen to further perfect his skill in this branch of physical culture." - Ron Tyrrell

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