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17 October 2012

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love the Zercher, #3- We Pick Shit Up And Put It Down

When I started this series over a year ago, I detailed some of the myriad methods by which lifters around the world have competed in stone lifting over the years.  Stone lifting seems to be about as old as man, and is easily as old as human athletic competitions.  Given its great age and ubiquity throughout human history, it seems pretty fucking retarded to omit it from your training.  For those of you who have been hiding in your house doing nothing but blasting off motherfuckers' butt cheeks in first person shooters and have thus completely missed the unavoidable awesomeness of stone lifting, here's a little primer on stone lifting as it's existed around the world.  Before you roll your eyes because you think you already know all there is to know about stone lifting, allow me to clue you in on the face that you know jack shit about it- there are apparently more ways to lift a stone than there are ways for a sorority girl from LA to shame her parents on any given Thursday night.  These motherfuckers might not be guzzling glasses of cum, but they're certainly coming up with some fascinating ways to lift rocks off the ground to shame their neighbors and unman their countrymen.


China:  Surprisingly, stone lifting exists in some of the oldest documentation China's produced, and records exist as far back as the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC) detailing Chinese stone lifting methods.  I say it's surprising because there have been precisely two jacked Chinese people in the last 100 years, and I've never heard of Bruce Lee or Bolo Yeung lifting stones.  In any event,  the Chinese competed in a sport called Tuoshi under the rule of the assholish Manchus, which was part of the Qing Wushu examinations with stones weiqhing 220, 275 and 330 lbs.  To be considered proficient, a competitor had to lift each at least a foot off the ground.  Stone lifting supplemented other traditional fight training, and was performed as stone lion lifting. stone block lifting, millstone lifting, stone discs lifting and stone lock lifting.  Quite honestly, I couldn't find a motherfucking thing about stone lion lifting, but the name itself sounds fucking awesome, and I imagine tiny yellow people lifting massive stones carved in the shape of lions while jump kicking other little yellow people in the face.  This would make for pretty much the greatest Jet Li movie of all time, and might have thus been the real secret to Bruce Lee's strength.  According to the hideously written sole internet source I could find on the subject, stone lifting basically consisted of two types- barbells with stone plates, or stone block lifting like the aforementioned Tuoshi.  For the former, "the shape of stone discs was much same to the barbells and there was a bar between the bells of oblates. In the center of the oblates, there were holes in order to stick the bar in. These oblates were made of different weights to adapt to different people and different purposes. There were two methods to lift stone discs, one was to lift it up and the other to brandish it. To lift it up means to lift it with one or two hands, but to brandish it means to wave it up in the air with various movements"(Cultural China). I cannot imagine waving a barbell around over my head- that sounds borderline reckless.  In any event, the Chinese clearly gave zero fucks about their rotator cuffs and just got the fuck after it.  According to the same site, their stone blocks were "like an ancient lock, and its function and playing method were similar to the modern dumbbells" (Cultural China).

Bybon's Stone.

Ancient Greece:  The ancient Greek lifter Bybon, "had, using one hand only, 'thrown'" a "block of red sandstone weighing 315 pounds" over his head in the 6th century B.C.  Given that it seems pretty unlikely that anyone scooped the stone above off the ground and threw it into the air with a single hand, historian David Willoughby assumes that the translation "thrown" is incorrect and that the first weight was simply lifted over the lifter's head (Willoughby).  I suppose, however, that it's not entirely unlikely, given the fact that the 6th century B.C. was filled with fucking supermen.  In that same century, a block of sandstone weighing a pretty much preposterous 1058 pounds was lifted off the ground by a Greek named Eumastas.  That's probably not a full on deadlift, but bear in mind the heaviest stone used in Atlas stone competitions is 520 lbs, and was hoisted by Travis Ortmayer.  To my knowledge, only one other strongman has ever loaded a stone over 500 lbs, and some random beast of a Greek doubled that weight over 2000 years ago.

Fucking ouch.
Switzerland:  For the last 200 years, the Swiss have competed in the Unspunnen Festival, an outgrowth of traditional Swiss cowherd festivals. The festival is named for the Unspunnen Stone, a large, oval stone weighing 184 lbs that is lifted and thrown for distance.  The festival is only held every 12 years and hosts thousands of competitors.  The current record holder in the event is Sepp Anbauen, a jacked joiner who stands 5'8" 253.  Anbauen chucked the rock 3.64 meters, setting a new festival record.  His throw was beaten, however, by Ernst Frieden at the Swiss Wrestling Festival with a 3.93 meter toss (Jeck 56-60)


Tahiti:  Though you've likely never heard of their sport, it should come as no shock that the massively muscled and generally terrifying Pacific Islanders participate in stone lifting competitions.  Tahitians have traditionally participated in stonelifting competitions that now occur on Bastille Day.  The stones, called the Heiva Stones, are cylindrical stones lifted to the shoulder for time, and weigh between 264 and 308 lbs.  They lift the stones in a method similar to the Basques, standing them up vertically first and then shouldering it as quickly as possible.  (Jeck 64)  Scoring in this sport is far more complex in other stone lifting compeitions, as judges apparently utilize a wide array of factors to determine the winner- "rapidity of execution, the candidate's appearance, the size and weight proportion between the stone and the athlete" (Tahiti Traveler) are all taken into account.  Apparently, the Tahitians have something to say to the American powerlifters who justify the fact that "fatties gonna fat" with some nonsense about leverage.


India:  Indians have (any visual evidence of Indians to the contrary) traditionally competed in stone lifting, using round stones called gota and rectangular stones called budkar that weigh between 50 and 300 kilograms.  Stone lifting in India consists of three events called Watee, Gutti, and Budkar arose out of "the centuries-old traditional rural area sports. In the past, someone from the bride’s wedding procession would throw an 80kg stone and wait for anyone from the groom’s side to take up the challenge of lifting it.  'If they failed to lift it, the procession would be stalled for days'" (Iqbal).  The competitions in watee and budkar is somewhat different than other stone lifting competitions, as lifters have to lift the stone off the ground, press it, and drop it behind them after holding it at full extension.  The stone in watee is round and lighter than the udkar stones, but lacks handholds of any kind.  the budkar, by contrast, has handholds carved into it to facilitate the lifting of heavier weights.  Yay for them, right?  Nothing makes enduring the pain of a sharp edge digging into your face more bearable than a couple of rough-hewn handholds.  Gutti, on the other hand, is actually a weighted situp competition with stone balls weighing between 80 and 120 kilograms, wherein the lifter has to pull the stone off the ground using only their palms (use of the thumbs is prohibited) and then do as many weighted situps with the stone as possible.  Stone lifting has existed in India about as long as the nation itself, and great men throughout history were only considered so if they were accomplished stone lifters.  For instance, the revered wrestler Gama became completely legendary "in 1902 when he lifted a stone weighing over 1,200 kilograms. World-renowned Gulaam Mohammed alias Great Gama Pehelwan had lifted the stone that was lying in Nazarbaug Palace near Mandvi" (Tere)  Clearly, gama wasn't throwing that thing behind him, but the two-and-a-half foot long stong is currently kept in a museum in India and is inscribed with text reading that the stone was lifted by Gulaam Mohommed on December 23, 1902 (Tere).
Finns, being... Finnish.

Finland:  The Finns, being the logging motherfuckers that they are, prefer their stones loglike.  Like the Basques, the Finns lift cylindrical stones that rest on a flat bottom.  The Finns, however, prefer to lift their stones and carry them for distance.  The heaviest stones in this event weigh 356 lbs (Jeck 54). I couldn't find any pics of this or any other sources, so we'll just have to take Steve Jeck's word for it and move on to weirder shit.



Germany:  Never to be outdone on any test of manliness, the Bavarians manage to outdo pretty much everyone on this list for the weirdness of their competitions save for the Indians and their weighted situps.  As you can see from the video, the Bavarians start with a pull from a deadlift position and pull a rock attached to a handle as high as possible.   The men compete in the following weight classes (-85 kg, -100 kg, -110 kg, +110 kg), though they all use the same 254 kg (558 lb) stone.  Women, on the other hand, have two weight classes (-70 kg, +70 kg), and lift a 125 kg (275 lb) stone.  If that wasn't awesome enough, they have another open stone lifting competition in which they just keep adding 25 kgs to the stone until no one can lift it- the last man to successfully make a pull is the winner.

Like I mentioned at the outset, there are more ways to lift a stone than any of us ever imagined, and they all seem awesome.  Up next, the most famous stone lifters in the world (the Scots and the Basques), the training methods of the best stone lifters, and in-the-gym approximations of all of the aforementioned to up your awesome to guitar-wailing, ninja-esque, fantastical proportions.

With luck, it'll be this awesome.

Sources:
Iqbal, Amjad.  ‘Stone lifters’ out to save their dying sport.  Dawn.com Urdu Edition.  8 May 2012.  Web.  10 Oct 2012.  http://dawn.com/2012/05/08/weightlifters-out-to-save-their-dying-sport/
Jeck, Steve.  Of Stones and Strength.  
Stone Lifting.  Cultural China.  Web.  17 October 2012.  http://kaleidoscope.cultural-china.com/en/141Kaleidoscope3163.html
Tahiti Traveler.  Ma'ohi Sports.  Tahiti Traveler.  Web.  17 October 2012.  http://www.thetahititraveler.com/general/socsports.asp
Tere, Tushar.  1,200 kg stone lifted by Gama Pehelwan on display.  The Times of India.  5 Aug 2010.  Web.  10 Oct 2012.  http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-08-05/vadodara/28318379_1_stone-baroda-museum-museum-authorities
Willoughby, David.  The Super-Athletes.  New York:  A.S. Barnes and Company, 1970.

34 comments :

  1. Jamie, I think one of the ancient Greek methods of lifting stones was to lift it just off the ground. I'd guess that the athlete who lifted that 1000~ lb. stone lifted it in that manner. Not sure where I learned that as this was something I looked up about 4 years back. I recall also finding a book online which detailed most of the methods Greek athletes used to train.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, a lot of traditional Chinese stone lifting events are still held

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    2. Ooh, ooh, Jaime i know something! Ask me, ask me!! What were you there in ancient fucking Greece? No? Well stop fucking brown nosing, put that apple on his desk and fuck off.

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    3. HA HA! Just had a look at your shitty blog. Over two years only one person has ever left a comment - and that was you! You left the only comment on your own blog!! What kind of a sad four eyed fucking loser do you have to be to keep up an online blog for two years that nobody reads, HAHAHAHAHA!!! Specky twat.

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  2. the revered wrestler Gama became completely legendary "in 1902 when he lifted a stone weighing over 1,200 kilograms.

    So what's the big deal about some ancient greek lifting 1058 pounds? Gama would have had his little sister move that pebble.

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    Replies
    1. Frankly, both are insane, but it's hard to know how high either of them got lifted.

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  3. I find the Gama story very hard to believe, not just because of the ridiculous weight, but also because the source is Times of India which is rather poorly regarded by Indians as being sensationalist and not entirely down with the truth.

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  4. Chinese stone locks are cool. They're also huge: http://img294.imageshack.us/img294/7769/xinsrc01206060221276561.jpg

    Here's a huge thread on stone lock lifting (Incl. some pretty fucking hardcore videos): http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=95503

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  5. Yo jamie, i has read all milo issues plus many books justa and etc. dude your blog is awesome i enjoy these dope articles and your research into extremes pf training methods ,ive read your entire blog multipe times , plus bought your book via googe which you have not yet emailed me i wil send you the code and my email address on facebook later, fukn enjoy the radio sho has isted to every episode , need sleep gotta go. Peace

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    Replies
    1. The book is no longer available on Google- they shut down my account because my site is "pornographic". That would be why you never received it. Thanks for the props though.

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    2. 'Unknown', reading through your post made me suddenly have Stan by Eminem play in my head. Fucking weirdo.

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  6. fuk yo dude i got one i has pushed a 600kg tyre about 1200lbs tyre i set it up leaning at a 45 degree angle the did push pressses incline full body press kinda work, then i get in the arms fully extended overhead pusition and slowly walk my feet back as far as i can, then walk back up also i overhead shrug it at an angle, like i rock it between fully standing its about 6 feet tall and i rock it til it falls at me and catch it at about my chin level the do various hods and pushes and rocks and shit unti i get tired then i push it back to standing fully. i uses 2 other big tyres witch i stand betwwen they are tipped over on the ground so if the tyre falls towards me it hits to two big tyres instead ofm crushing and killing me hahahaha. later yo.

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  7. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=2061960429317&set=vb.1253900627&type=2&theater
    link with rough example i did a tonne of shit thats not in the video but you get an idea this was just am rough demo vid. usually the tyres on the ground are the same size and set up evenly in perfect position once we let the tyre hit the ground it took 4 strong fuckers to get it up again. peace

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  8. Jamie, you dont ever seem to show even the slightest skepticism towards some of these outlandish claims of the past.

    We have guys today who basically live and breath this kind of stuff, train specifically for it, take drugs to perform above their already elite human ability, and are only lifting half the weight of people 2000 years ago? Seems a little dubious to me.

    How would they even accurately weigh the objects back then without hoisting it onto a balance and loading the other side with an equal amount of known weight?

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    Replies
    1. They didn't weigh them then- they weighed them recently after finding them with the inscriptions carved into them. Again, no one knows exactly how high these things were lifted, or in what manner. Given the ridiculous seriousness with which the Greeks took the Olympic Games, I'm reticent to call bullshit on them. Furthermore, it's well established that the people of the past were far stronger and harder than modern humans. As such, it seems well within the bounds of reason that they could outlift most of our best lifters on any given day. Finally, if a nerd with tiny joints can break a world record in a sport for which he doesn't even really train, pretty much anything's possible if people just sack the fuck up and do it.

      Delete
    2. It remembers me of Manthropology.

      Do we have any idea on why? Better sleep/nutrition/stimulus? Less plastic? Better mentality?

      Fuck. This makes me hate myself and want to hit reps at 90% of 1RM's three times a day.

      Delete
    3. Life was a hell of a lot harder back then, and they did a ton of manual labor. The vikings grew up rowing boats, chopping down trees, and killing people. There was a documentaary on the history channel comparing the joints and tendon insertions of ancient athletes to those of today, and their ligaments and bones were far thicker than modern athletes.

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    4. Fair enough. I didnt know we still had the objects around today, I thought it was mainly based on reports and ancient writings.

      From one nerd to another, keep on lifting that shit brother.

      WWJD - What would Jamie do?

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    5. How ancient were these atheltes?

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  9. Jamie: The record in Unspunnen Stone throwing is currently 4.11m. Hold by Markus Maire, done in 2004. The Unspunnen comp is held every 3 Years atm.

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  10. Jamie,

    Can you clarify the deadlift program you mentioned a while back that looked like this:

    Deadlift
    1x5x135
    1x5x225
    1x5x315
    1x5x405
    6-8 x 3 - 1 x 435-455

    So if you hit a triple on 435, you'd add weight and try again. If you couldn't get all three reps with a given weight, you'd start busting out singles with it? Is that correct?

    So something like 435x3, 445x2,1,1,1,1...

    What's the progression though? Do you keep doing 435x3 and 445x1 until you got 8 singes? at which point you'd try to up your triple and singes? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Once you can get 6 sets of 3, definitely add weight. I always did at least 15 reps of deadlifts though. Just going 8 singles will probably kill you if you're close to your 1RM with the weight.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm clearly a dunce, because I'm even more confused now. Going back to the above example my interpretation is let's say i work up and hit 435x3, I then try 10 more so 445, but only get 2. I then stay at that weight and bust out as many as a can (maybe another double and then some singles). Next week I come back and hit 435x3 and try 445 again. If I hit 3, then I add ten pounds and do as many as I can again. If not, then I keep beating at 445 until I can manage a triple. Does that make sense?

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  13. I have enjoyed some sessions of barbell curl&Press followed by zercher squats. The two seem to go together very well. Good use of one's time.

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  14. sustanon is the shit with zechers!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Jamie,

    I just started APD for the second time. I love it, it works. Can you discuss the new craze over Raspberry Ketone supplements and if that would be something to supplement with to enable Ketosis?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  16. gama lifted 1200 kg ,why talk about others then .. gama was undefeated .. his record of 5000-0 is ungodly .

    ReplyDelete
  17. Those are Latvian lifters in your Finn pic though.

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    ReplyDelete
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