19 September 2009

*Baddest Motherfuckers Ever #5- Arthur Saxon

Arthur Saxon.
More of a man than everyone who's been in Flex magazine for the last year, combined.
Essential Stats (per the Development of Physical Power):
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 200 lbs.
Chest: 49"
Biceps: 17 1/8"
Forearm: 14 3/4"
Thigh: 24"
Calf: 16 3/4"
Bent Press: 371 lbs.
Two Hands Anyhow: 448 lbs.
Clean and Press: 342 lbs.

Arthur Saxon (1878 – 1921), born Arthur Hennig and nicknamed "The Iron-Master", was a strongman and circus performer from the late 19th century into the early 20th century. Saxon is most well-known for the bent press, with which he set a world record of 370 lbs (although there are claims that he has done 385 lbs.) as well as the "two hands anyhow" lift of 448 lbs. (1)
If you think that Saxon did concentration curls to get those peaked bis, you're an asshole, and I guarantee you that everyone you've ever met hates you more than AIDS.

  • Saxon believed in training heavy, with fewer repetitions, rather than light, which he thought was pointless, thought frequent training was best. Yes, he was a bad motherfucker, and wanted everyone else to be just as bad a man as he was.(2) According to Thomas Inch (of the Inch dumbbell), "Even when appearing twice a night with this laborious and trying set of feats of strength they practiced for two or three hours in the morning and seemed tireless."(3) For the grip, back and leg muscles, they used to carry a pair of 119 pound ring-weights, at the hang, around the stage ten times. (Farmer's walking -- Koto) They also used to walk around the stage carrying their heaviest barbell, a few times around, it weighed 192.5 kilos or 423 pounds.(Walking with weight, you basically get under the bar like you're squatting, pick it up, and take a walk with it.) The warm-up exercise was always the leg press with a heavy barbell; they used to do 20 repetitions(Leg presses back then involved them laying on their back and actually balancing a barbell on their feet and doing leg presses that way.) and then go up into a shoulder stand and while in this position the barbell was pressed a few times again and also balanced on one foot. From a standing position, the barbell was held at the back of the body, rolled up the back to the neck and jerked from there to arms' length.(Behind-the-neck presses, they also did these coming out of a squat like a clean and press but with it behind the neck.) Arthur's heavy one-handed bar was used for this exercise. A barbell that Arthur used for two arm pressing was cleaned and jerked to arms' length, passed over into one hand, and deep knee bends were performed while holding this weight at arm's length overhead.(One-handed barbell overhead squats, a bitch of an exercise) This is why they became so good at the one hand anyhow, although, while exercising, they did not practice picking up the kettle-bell.

    Every day, the one hand bent press was practiced."
  • He thought that one should train the lifts at which he wanted to excel with light weights on non-heavy training days.
  • Saxon whooped Eugen Sandow's ass in an impromptu weightlifting competition in front of an audience in Sheffield, England, in 1898. Sandow was never able to avenge this defeat.
  • He at least occasionally lifted bare-ass naked. "At one time the so-called friends of the Saxons claimed that he had, in the early hours of the morning, and after discarding all clothing until he was quite naked, raised over 400 lbs. bent press after commencing with a very much higher weight."(4)
  • Drank like a fucking fish. "Arthur, however, was certainly a heavy drinker and once when a Fulham crowd at the Red Lion endeavored for a joke to get him drunk so that he could not go through with his show, he drank some 50 glasses of beer and had the last laugh as he never performed so well as that night at the “Granville.”"(5)
  • Died like a fucking man. "At the height of his career Saxon met with a serious accident. Through no fault of his own a heavy wooden bridge loaded with a large motor car and a number of people fell on him whilst he was supporting it. He was in hospital a long time, iron bolts having been driven in at several places."(6) While in the hospital, he died of pneumonia. Other accounts, however, claim he died after being run over by a car, hammered drunk, and laying in the gutter, haha.

As you can tell, Saxon was the fucking man. I'm reposting part of an article entitled "The Saxon Trio: What They Ate, and How They Trained", as it's all about balls-to-the-wall living and training.
"For breakfast they ate 24 eggs and 3 pounds of smoked bacon; porridge with cream, honey, marmalade and tea with plenty of sugar. At three o'clock they had dinner: ten pounds of meat was consumed with vegetables (but not much potatoes); sweet fruits, raw or cooked, sweet cakes, salads, sweet puddings, cocoa and whipped cream and very sweet tea. Supper, after the show, they had cold meat, smoked fish, much butter, cheese and beer. Following this they had a chat and at one o'clock went to bed.

At nine o'clock in the morning they arose and always had a cold rub-down over the whole body; if possible they would have a shower bath and a massage. It was this way that Kurt learned massaging which helped him very much, in later years, when he became an instructor and masseur.

In their childhood, breakfast, for the Saxons, consisted of a thick soup made from white flour, rolls or white bread with butter or marmalade. On week-days dinner was at one o'clock; there was no soup, but instead, vegetables of all kinds, cooked or steamed, with fat on them, and some potatoes; after this, raw or cooked fruits. Other days they had green beans, white beans, peas and all kinds of food like this and rice cooked with milk and plenty of sugar. This was varied at other times by having salted herring that had been watered for 24 hours and eaten raw with boiled potatoes; there was also pickled cucumbers and raw onions with a little vinegar and plenty of oil; they had milk or sweet cream made by their mother. Salads and celery were also part of their meals, particularly in the summer when they had salads with plenty of oil on them. Dinner was usually followed with fruits or sweet cakes made from white flour and sometimes, berries on top of the cakes. They were very fond of these. There was also plenty of mushrooms eaten raw or fried with fat; their mother used to go out in the morning and pick about 10 to 12 pounds of these in the fields. She also used to make big cakes, 24" by 36", and spread with butter, or beaten egg whites, sugar and chocolate. The was often eaten with apples. At dinner time, there was usually nothing to drink but plain water. Other meals included soup, black German bread, butter or lard, cheese, smoked fish, raw cucumbers and radishes and onions. There was never any kind of meat on weekdays except for their father's meal; their mother did not care for it and it was only when they went to England, as professional performers, that the Saxon brothers learned to eat meat every day; the meat in England was very good.

Although they had other foods, the things mentioned were their favorite foods. On Sundays they had a little meat, and for breakfast, real coffee. Other mornings they had coffee made from burned corn. There was also a special kind of beer of which they were very fond -- this was made from wheat, was sweet and contained but very little alcohol.

Later, in England, as performers, Hermann and Kurt were partial to sweet foods and sugar. They tried very hard to gain weight but in spite of sweets and a terrific appetite, sometimes consuming one pound of butter between them, they failed to gain weight; sometimes only a few pounds which they could not hold. Arthur, the oldest, did not care for sweets and butter; even as a child he did not care for butter. Instead of butter he would use the lard from pork. Hermann and Kurt, in addition to other things, could make two pounds of marmalade and two quarts of very sweet cocoa disappear at one meal. Kurt was the heaviest eater of the three and for breakfast alone he could consume 24 eggs cooked in one-half pound of butter.

Their three o'clock dinner consisted mostly of roasted or fried meat, beef, pork or veal, not much potatoes, plenty of salads with oil just as in their childhood. Sometimes they had vegetables, but always lean meat. Every day they had pudding-yorkshire, rice, sago, etc., but very sweet. Then there was always raw or cooked fruits and nothing to drink. Sometimes, on one day during the week, they roasted poultry, goose, chicken, or turkey. "Many times I ate an 11 pound goose alone," Kurt informed me. One day during the week they had fried or boiled fish, plenty of butter and toast but no potatoes. At six o'clock they had "tea"-this was mostly raw minced meat with raw onions, German bread and plenty of butter; sometimes sweet cakes and coffee were substituted. Their late supper included herrings (when they could get them) and eaten in the same manner they had become accustomed to in childhood. The herrings were sometimes used in salad form; they made their own mayonnaise with raw whipped eggs and oil. There never was any whisky or brandy at home. Even as children they did not care for milk and as men they developed no taste for it. At "tea" time they very often had whipped cream. They did not care for boiled eggs, instead, they went big for poached eggs with plenty of butter.

After their three o'clock dinner they rested for a couple of hours, except Kurt who could not rest so long because he had to go out and do the shopping for the next day. Cooking for himself and his brothers was a hobby with him-he was also out of bed earlier than the others to prepare breakfast."

What about workout shakes? Of course he drank them. The man was the pinnacle of human physical achievement. The forumla, however, was unorthodox enough that we might have to incorporate in in C&P.
"The Saxons did have a "health drink" which I presume they concocted themselves. The ingredients were dark lager beer (or Dublin stout) mixed with Holland gin, the yolk of an egg and plenty of sugar. "It is a very good but strong drink" was the Saxon opinion, "but, if you are not used to it you will get dizzy very quickly." It seems to me that one would have to be a very strong man in the first place, in order to drink it. "
Moral of the Arthur Saxon story. Be a fucking man. Then be manlier. You might, then, be a third as manly as Arthur Saxon.
  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Saxon
  2. Saxon, Arthur. The Development of Physical Power. 1905. pp. 20.
  3. http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2009/01/my-friendship-with-arthur-saxon-thomas.html
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=28966

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  1. Have any of your posts mention the dumbbell swing?
    I'm not talking about the gay-as-shit Crossfit swing.
    What I'm referring to is more of a snatch.
    No one does them these days, but they were really popular in Saxon's time (I learned the movement from his description, actually.)
    Men could put up their body weight in it.
    Brooks Kubik fucking loved it and for good reason- it's brutal.
    There are a lot of bitch dumbbell movements out there, but the swing is not one of them.


    Grimek liked it, as well: