30 January 2014

There Is Nothing New Under The Sun- Faddism In Exercises And Implements, Part 3- Indian Clubs, Kettlebells, and Heavy Partials

If only Harry Potter was 1/10 this cool.

One of my main problems with Harry Potter is that it is completely beyond belief that anyone would regard a 130 lb male adult holding a twig while wearing his high school graduation uniform with anything resembling fear, and even less believable is the idea that such a person might be capable of inflicting harm beyond a hangnail upon a hated opponent.  Call it a function of my rapidly advancing age, my will to power, or simply the belief that a heavily muscled man bearing a broad axe is a far more formidable opponent than a slightly built man with a rapier, all other things equal.  Men ought to wield manly weapons, not twigs.  Perhaps that last installment should have done more to disabuse me of that notion, but it hasn't seemed to- I still stand in utter disbelief that some spindly, albino, elfin poofter with an overgrown steak knife stands a fucking chance against a dwarf with a two handed axe designed to cleave man from limb.

In any event, people back in the day were apparently unconcerned with looking manly, because when they weren't fiddling about with Weaver sticks, they were busy with Indian club bells, perhaps the only training implement ever invented that could make the Weaver stick look like the training method of choice for a paragon of manly virtue.

Indian Club Training, or How the British Took a Marginally Cool Thing and Fucked It in the Ear

As the name would indicate, the Indian club was invented in India and used primarily in India and Iran as a strength training tool for wrestlers.  Though they're known as the Indian club, the implement was actually invented in ancient Mesopotamia and was used by Egyptians, Persians, and various Middle Easterners.  Later, the Mughals took the implement to India, where it was carried forward into modernity.  the Indian club really comes in two forms- the far heavier Persian variant (meels) that the Iron Sheik brought to the West when chumping the Ultimate Warrior at a test of strength in the 1980s, and the far, far lighter Indian version.  

The manlier version, meels come in a variety of sizes and weights based on purpose. Light meels, which are more like Indian clubs, act as basically weighted cardio- the medieval version of the 1970s shameful foray into weighted cardio, Heavyhands.  The light meels, weigihing between 10 and 15 lbs., were used in sets of 100, which sounds like it would be about s much fun as getting a blowjob from a half-starved piranha. Heavy meels, on the other hand, clocked in at 25 to 60 lbs. apiece, and to make them even more wrist-breakingly unweildy, were up to 4.5 feet in length (Varzesh).  Indian clubs, on the other hand, can range in weight and get middlingly heavy, they're typically only two lbs- especially wherein the British were concerned.

I suppose one could say the Brits were suckling at India's teet.

Weirdly, the Indian club really caught on with the British after they extended their empire into the Subcontinent, where English soldiers picked up the implement from the Indians.  Given their blatant and wild-eyed contempt for the Indians, it's rather odd they'd adopt Indian training methods, but no one has ever accused the denizens of the British Isles of logical action- we can assume copious amounts of heavily salted boiled meats and whiskey were likely involved.  

Richard Pennell- first American strongman, first man to overhead press 200 with one hand, and credited with a 102 lb one hand curl (at 5'10", 190lbs).  Also, horribly "musclebound" and "slow" according to Victorians.

I suppose it should come as no surprise that the myth of being "musclebound" began being propagated in the 19th Century.  Guys like Louis Cyr, Richard Pennell, and others, were held aloft as examples of men who were too musclebound to be athletes.  Instead, smaller, leaner, less capable men were held aloft as the physical ideal, as they were the racehorses to the strongmen's draft horses (Kraemer).  Oddly, it was at this time that inner city dwellers in Britain were being identified as "soft as shite", as the Brits are wont to say, and resistance exercise began to be heavily encouraged, particularly for the sedentary.

Some strength training couldn't have hurt- I've seen children with better builds.

The thinking at the time was that the British must be prepared for the inevitability of another European war, and anemic and weak city dwellers would probably put up all of the resistance of a 20th century Parisian when accosted by a twelve-year-old German girl holding a marginally sharp stick and bearing a somewhat menacing glare.  Who am I kidding?  They'd surrender to a four-year-old Belgian holding a lollipop while shitting her pants.  Nevertheless, light resistance exercise began to be touted as the best method of achieving "fitness", as the implements used would be portable, and therefore convenient, and would allow the user to avoid the horrible specter of "muscle boundedness" or somesuch other nonsense.  Frankly, everyone was distracted by their teeth and had a hard time understanding what the Brits at the time were carrying on about.  Nevertheless, it was likely for this reason (war) that Englishmen put aside their pride and picked up clubbells on the regular to get "jacked".

Goya's depiction of how most Indian club classes ended.

The truly interesting thing about the adoption of the Indian club by the British was the execution- the British primarily utilized the clubbell as a part of a group fitness class.  If the idea of a bunch of drunken Britishers swinging light weapons hither and yon in a tight space seems like a skit out of Monty Python, you're not the only one.  British soldiers in India, however, adopted the implement as an alternative to calisthenics, however, so when they returned to the British Isles, club swinging morphed from its original, solitary nature into what can only be described as a proto-Body Pump class, complete with songs sung in cadence and occasionally set to music.  No, I am not making that up:

"In order to awaken a lively and abiding interest in calisthenic and gymnastic exercises, and to secure an enthusiasm and a fascination that shall convert indolence and sluggishness into cheerful and vigorous activity, it will be found absolutely necessary to employ instrumental music.  the best music for this purpose is furnished by a brass band" (Watson 124-125).
 Thus, Victoria-era Britian was filled with drunken, anemic limeys violently swinging 2 lb. bowling pins in circles while listening to oompapa music and screeching lyrics to military cadences at the top of their lungs... and this was considered to be a good thing.

According to esteemed physical culturist and author J. Madison Watson,

"Indian clubs, or scepters, as they are sometimes called, are deservedly held in the highest esteem by all gymnasts, affording, as they do, one of the very best and most extended series of exercises for developing the muscular power of the whole body.  Nothing can be better calculated to invigorate the respiratory system, expand the chest, call into action the muscles of locomotion and the principal structures around the joints, and enlarge and strengthen the muscles of the forearm, the upper arm, and the shoulder, as well as the abdominal and spinal muscles"(Watson 257).

Meanwhile, in America, clubbell training caught on with a bit more of the original intent in mind.  The seminal American work on the subject was published in 1866 by Sim Kehoe, which decried the British use of the short, light Indian club as suited only for "invalids or children"(29).  Apparently the populace of the British Isles were considered to be about as physically imposing as six-year-olds with cerebal palsy in mid-19th Century America, so Kehoe recommended the more robust colonialists utilize the long club, which ranged from 24 to 28' in length and weighed between four and twenty pounds apiece.  Kehoe described the most effective utilization of the club to consist of eight main strength training movements, based on those popular in India:

  1. Inner Front Circle
  2. Outer Front Circle
  3. Inner Back Circle
  4. Outer Back Circle
  5. Inner Side Circle
  6. Outer Site Circle
  7. Inner Moulinet
  8. Outer Moulinet
Suuuuuuuure.  I'll get right on that.

For detailed descriptions of the moments, check out Kehoe's book here, but sufficed to say it involves a lot of spinning bowling pins in circles for extended periods of time.  Clubbells remained in vogue throughout the 19th to the early 20th century, peaking with the inclusion of two nebulous and insofar as I can tell undefined Indian club competitions as part of gymnastics in the 1904 and 1932 Olympic Summer Games.  Thereafter, the smaller, lighter, more agile implements were abandoned in favor of far heavier objects.  They briefly enjoyed a resurgence through Dragon Door Publications, who dragged them out of obscurity, but they at best remain a curiosity best left alone for most- without a bit of instruction, best case scenario you wrench a wrist and worst case you smack yourself in the face with them.  I have managed to do both on more than one occasion.

Kettlebells... One More Thing the Russians Didn't Invent
Just as most people think the sandwich is a British noblemans invention in spite of the fact that it was invented in 11th Century China, most people think the Russians invented the kettlebell in the 19th Century because they were too weak to lift real weights, but in fact the kettlebell is far, far older.  the kettlebell, known in Russia as the girya, is a adaptation of a weight typically used in Russian markets to check the weight of a purchase of bulk goods.  The giri used by the Russians take their name for the Persian adjective “gerani”, which means “difficult” and was originally invented by the Greeks as an implement for strength competitions at the Olympic Games.  The stones were then adapted for strength training by the Slavs to build strength for war, and have been a part of Russian strength training techniques since the Eastern Slavs**  conquered Western Russia.  Additionally, implements similar to the kettlebell are ubiquitous in Asia, having been used for thousands of years in China and likely nearly as long in Japan and Korea in the form of the stone padlock.

Never go full retard.

In the 19th Century, kettlebell training and competitions became immensely popular. While I can find no evidence to support this, it would seem likely to me that Tsar Alexander had his army utilize them to ensure they were physically fit and strong, and may have played a part in Napoleon's defeat.  Thereafter, they continued to grow in popularity as the soldiers took the implements back to their hometown for local strength training and competitions.  Whether or not that's accurate, I have no idea- given the vast volumes available on vodka and the sparse information on giri, one can assume that Russians felt drinking was a far better use of their time that writing about something as simple and ultimately unimportant as a strength training implement.  Nevertheless, the strongest of the of the Russians ended up touring Europe with circuses as strongman acts, and disseminated information on the use of the kettlebell as they went, like drunken, mustachioed versions of David Carradine in Kung Fu, though with less cross dressing and autoerotic asphyxiation.

Apparently a depiction of Soviet era Hungarian strongman and kettlebell enthusiast Imre Nagath. 

With the rise of the Soviet nightmare came an emphasis on physical strength in the populace and public displays of strength on an international scale, ostensibly to show the West that only the people in the Ukraine were starving to death, and that was because Uncle Stalin liked the smell of dead people.  Collective farms held strength competitions and then sent their best lifters to holiday festivals in Moscow, where papa Stalin presided over the events and likely had the shitty lifters liquidated.  According to one source, having Stalin's soulless gaze upon you scared you into winning- "one girya-lifter is believed to have said: 'I was in no mood to continue the competition, but when I saw Comrade Stalin looking at me I immediately snatched the record'" (Dmitriev).

I've heard Vladimir Putin jerks off to this picture at least twice a week.

Competitions in girya lifting seem not to focus so much on pure strength as they do strength endurance:

  • The First Nationwide Festival of Strongmen, held in 1948, boasted 20,000 competitors, though there is no record of how many were compelled to participate through threats of liquidation or internment.  The winner of the event was a sailor named Alexei Protopopov, who snatched a 32-kilo girya 1,002 times with short breaks, ostensibly in the hopes he would be fed and allowed to sleep indoors.  
  • A contemporary of Protopopov, Aleksandr Bolshakov, clean and jerked a two 32-kilo for 19 repetitions, which seems light until you consider the fact he likely did so without having eaten for a couple of days.
  • A decade later, some lunatic named Ivan Nemtsev crushed the competition for eleven straight years, capping his utter domination of an entire country by snatching a 32 kg girya 370 times in a row.  

Although kettlebells typically come in 4 kg, 8 kg, 16 kg, 32kg, 36 kg , 40 kg, 48 kg and 56 kg sizes and are used for a variety of exercises ranging from the utterly useless Turkish Get up to the marginally useful high rep Olympic clean and jerk and snatch, kettlebell competitions only utilize the 16, 24 and 32 kg giri and simply consist of the snatch and the clean and jerk.  After the formation of the International Federation of Girya Sports in 1993, international competitions began being held in those two events, though they really only featured Eastern Europeans and a smattering of German, Greek, and American oddballs who had likely only just recently stopped dressing in traditional Chinese garb and yammering on about the what everyone else knew to be the extremely questionable utility of traditional martial arts in streetfighting.

Likely due to its popularity in Soviet Russia, it wasn't until they were popularized by Russian strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline that anyone in the West gave two shits about kettlebells.  Tsatsouline, a marketing genius, managed to build an entire industry out of nothing, convincing people that lifting a relatively light but ungainly implement hundreds of times was the secret to true strength, in spite of the fact that he himself, while fit, was not terrifically strong.  In spite of his best efforts and masterful propaganda, kettlebell training has basically remained on the fringes of actual strength training, but is generally considered great for insanely hot chicks with too much money, the infirm, children, and people who have difficulty lifting real weights.

The Partial Deadlift and Partial Squat Rear Their Beautifully Ugly Twin Heads

Clearly, picking up extraordinarily heavy things wasn't an overwhelming concern in the Nineteenth Century.  Strongmen hadn't really become tremendously popular, though by the early 1800s a few European strongman troupes had made it to American shores.  Heavy lifting, however, was not a popular activity- it was basically little more than the basis for the occasional freak show performance put on by giant men dressed like Roman gladiators for the entertainment of a paying crowd.  All of that changed, however, when I couple of 19th Century Americans stumbled upon a treatise penned by early 18th Century philosopher John Theophilus Desaguliers.  Desaguliers, in the midst of a lengthy work on mechanical action called A Course in Experimental Philosophy, analyzed the muscular action in strength performances by 18th Century strongman Thomas Topham.  Topham, a carpenter by trade built almost identically to Arthur Saxon at 5'10" and 200 lbs, was one of the first recorded professional strongman and served as a bodyguard to the aforementioned philosopher.  Desaguliers, then, has a front row seat to Topham's many performances, which included:
  • bending a large iron poker to almost ninety degrees by smashing it across his bare left arm.
  • carrying a sleeping watchman in his box a considerable distance and then dumping the occupant and his box over a waist-high wall.  
  • holding horse and cart back for fun while the driver whipped his horse in an effort to get the animal to pull away.  
  • lying extended between two chairs with a glass of wine in his right hand and five dudes standing on his stomach. 
  • rolling up a seven pound pewter dish "as a man rolls up a sheet of paper". 
  • twisting a kitchen spit around the neck of shit-talking hostler. 
  • lifting a fat man off the ground with one hand while lying extended between two chairs with four blokes on his stomach (Wikipedia). 
  • lifting a six foot long table off the ground and holding it horizontally, with a 50 lb weight hanging off the opposite end... holding it with his teeth.
  • bending an iron poker in half around his neck and straightening it again.

The feats that really blew Desagulier's socks off, however, were partial lifts.  One, in fact, was a lift so ridiculous in the effort it took to display that it is difficult to understand how it was actually conceived- a lift of 1,838 pounds a couple of inches off the ground.  As you can see from the illustration above, this lift required that a large platform be erected at least fifteen feet high, upon which Topham stood with a rope and tackle draped over his shoulders.  Using this, Topham lifted three hogsheads of water a few inches off the ground.  This feat of strength may seem about as puzzling to you as the need for a sequel to Adam Sandler's shitfest of an ensemble comedy Grown Ups, as it should- there is absolutely no reason whatsoever so much effort should have been expended for so little reward.  The next, and the one that perhaps can be solely credited with being the impetus behind the entire American heavy weight lifting movement, was Topham's partial deadlift of a stone roller weighing 800 lbs by wrapping it with a chain and holding either end (Desaguliers 290).

"I have seen him lift a rolling stone of about 800 lb with his hands only, standing in a frame above it, and taking hold of  a chain that was fastened to it.  By this, I reckon he may be almost as stron again as those who are generally reckon'd the strongest men, they generally lifting no more than 400 lb in that manner.  The weakest men, who are in health and not too fat, lift about 125 lb having about half the strength of the strongest.  N.B. This sort of comparison is chiefly in relation to the muscles of the loins; because in doing this one must stoop forwards a little.  We must also add the weight of the body to the weight lifted.  So that if the weakest man's body weighs 150 lb that added to 125 lb makes the whole weight lifted by him to be 275 lb.  Then if the stronger man's body weighs also 150 lb the whole weight lifted by him will be 500 lb that is 400 lb and the 150 lb which his body weighs.  Topham weighs about 200 lb which added to the 800 lb that he lifts, makes 1000 lb.  But he ought to lift 900 lb besides the weight of his body, to be strong again as the man of 150 lb who can lift 400 lb"(Ibid).

The feats of Johannes von Eckenberg (1684-1718), “Herkules Eckenberg.”  As you can see above, von Eckenberg was famous for the same sorts of shenanigans Topham was in the following century.  Apparently, the Renaissance was filled with a lot of carpenters with a lot of time on their hands.  

Desaguliers, in an effort to scientifically compare the strength of dudes who apparently had a trampling fetish, developed several strength testing machines.  One of them mimicked hip and harness lifting of the type that 17th and 18th Century strongmen William Joy, John von Eckenberg, and Thomas Topham made famous.   Realizing that a harness lift only tested the strength of a man’s hips, back, and thighs, however, Desaguliers also invented machines to measure arm strength and overall lifting power.  Using these, Desaguliers went on to calculate the force placed upon the body with lifts conducted at a variety of angles, rep ranges, and movements, and concluded that extremely heavy partials placed a greater systemic load on the body than lighter full range movements. 

They miss neither church, nor meals.

If you're having trouble believing that a philosopher's physics textbook inspired a group of people who later went on to decide that the Earth was 6,000 years old, subsist on a diet of Ho-Ho's and Ring Dings, and consider a 10 minute walk to be "exercise", you're not alone- this would seem far fetched to anyone with a spinal column that ended in something resembling a human brain.  If modern Americans can be trusted to do anything, it's to be as intellectually lazy as they are physically.  Americans of the 19th Century, apparently, were an entirely different breed.  Perhaps because they acknowledged the fact that the Bible was a work of historical fiction, 19th Century American not only read Desaguliers' book, but they built strength testing machines modeled on Desaguliers’ designs and littered the country with them, placing them on street corners, circus sideshows, and local fairs. There, Americans pitted themselves against each other in tests of "'main strength'—the strength of his back, hips,legs and hands—by moving a large weight a very short distance and thus see how he stood in comparison to his neighbors" (Todd 5). 

Looks more like a hypnotist than a lifter to me.

After becoming "the strongest man at Harvard", medical student and aspiring actor George Barker Windship tested his strength on one of these machines, pulling 420 but utterly failing in his attempt to get laid in the effort, as no one on Earth would likely be impressed by a 420 lb partial deadlift, unless it was performed by a sub 100 lb woman, invalid, or small child.  Thereafter, Windship gave up on the body weight exercises and gymnastics that had earned him his reputation for strength at Harvard and adopted a program of heavy weightlifting centered around extremely heavy partials in 1854.  Dragging his wounded psyche (and likely insanely sore carcass) home to Boston, Windship built a lifting machine based on Desaguliers' designs in his backyard "by sinking a hogshead in the ground and placing inside it a barrel, filled with rocks and sand, to which he attached a rope and handle. Then, standing on a platform he constructed above the barrel, he mimicked the partial movements of the lifting machine he had tried in Rochester" (Todd 6). 

5 Realz:  Isabel Ice is officially marriage material.

Hammering himself like he was some random jacked dude trying to pound Isabel Ice into a coma, Windship built his strength up quickly.  From his 420 pull in 1854, he managed a 700 pull in 1856, 840 in 1857, and a massive 1208 lbs in 1860, all performed without straps.  Having topped out on what his tiny little rat claws could handle, Windship built a wooden yoke attached to chains and continued to train squat partials.  “With this contrivance," Windship stated "my lifting-power has advanced with mathematical certainty, slowly but surely, to two thousand and seven pounds, up to this third day of November, 1861” (Todd 6).  Clearly, what people seem to like to call "Anderson squats" would far more accurately, impressively, and Dennis Miller-style obscure reference-ly be referred to as "Windship squats."

Though that ended up being his best lift, Windship kept pounding the iron like a 1950's meth fueled American housewife with a husband who gets a little punchy if his shirts are slightly wrinkled.  After going nuts working with lead shot-fulled globe barbells and heavy dumb bells, Windship invented the first adjustable dumbbell, built a standing chest press machine, trained with 180 lbs dumbbell at a weight of only 150, and even built an Indian club that weighed in at an utterly insane, impossible to conceive, and difficult-to-understand-exactly-what-the-fuck-he-did-with-it 137 lbs.  Though I have no evidence to support this theory either, it may have been that Windship was a doctor at the Boston Lunatic Hospital and he had to defend himself daily against the attacks of the nutters contained within, but George Barker Windship eventually built himself into what could only be described as one of the strongest human beings at 150 lbs to ever live.  

If it wasn't for this thing, you'd likely not even be reading this blog right now, because none of the shit taht inspired me to start lifting would have existed.  No Stallone, no Bruce Lee (he lifted on a Marcy trainer, which was a descendant of Windship's machine), no Ahnold... what a sad world it would be.

Capitalizing on his hard work, Windship hosted the first ever American professional strength competition, and although he ended up losing when his yoke snapped, Windship's reputation grew after he explained the mechanical action behind his opponent's lift to jounalists.  Thereafter, he began performing exhibitions of strength and delivering lectures on the myriad benefits of extremely heavy strength training. Calling the hand and thigh lifts and partial Hack lift he performed on his machine "health lifts", Windship gained a massive fan base, disabused the American public of the notion that being "musclebound" was unhealthy, spawned an entire industry of copycat lifting machines like Mann's Reactionary Lifter (a sort of trap bar deadlifting machine designed for women so they wouldn't have to change clothes to use it) and the Butler Health Lift machine.  With that, heavy lifting spread to both men and women, and the American populace began, for the first time, to lift heavy, often, and enthusiastically... as everyone fucking should.    

That ran incredibly fucking long, but hopefully it proved interesting.  In the last two articles in this series, I'll cover the Olympic lifts and the power lifts, and then probably carry on with my life writing about other shit.  I've also go more keto recipes coming, an article being co-written with J. Stanton of Gnolls.org about how badly people fuck up the simplest diet in history (the Paleo Diet), a new BME, and a books/music/movies article.  I've got a lot of irons in the fire, obviously.  Til then, go do some heavy partials, or I'll send Windship's ghost after you to mock you when you take your clothes off.
** Footnote:The people generally referred to as "Eastern Slavs" were actually mostly Finno-Ugric tribes, not true Slavs, which explains how they managed to conquer the bloodthirsty, mounted deathmachines of the former lands of the Scythians and Sarmatians.  I realize no one gives a shit but I had trouble understanding how the fuck that could have happened and decided to do some investigating.  Genetic analysis shows that most Ukrainians are more closely related to ancient Turks than modern Belarussians, who are actually of Slavic decent.  Additionally, the majority of basic Russian words are of a non-Slavic origin.  There, you learned more useless shit because I forced you to do so.

Desaugliers, John Theophilus.  A Course of Experimental Philosophy, Volume 1.  W. Innys, 1744. 

Dougherty, J.H.  Indian Clubs and Dumbbells.  New York: American Sports Publishing Company, 1901.

Dmitriev, Oleg.  Of Russian origin: Girya.  Russiapedia.  Web.  10 Jan 2014.  http://russiapedia.rt.com/of-russian-origin/girya/

Kehoe, Sim D.  The Indian Club Exercise.  New York: 1866.

Kraemer, William J.; Keijo H√§kkinen.  Handbook of Sports Medicine and Science, Strength Training for Sport. Hoboken:  John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

Roussin, Eric.  Champion Armwrestlers of Yore. Armwrestlers Only.  15 Sep 2013.  Web.  27 Jan 2014.  http://armwrestlersonly.blogspot.com/2013/09/champion-armwrestlers-of-yore.html

Todd, Jan.  "Strength is health”:George Barker Windship and the first American weight training boom.  Iron Game History.  Sep 1993.  Web.  29 Jan 2014.  https://www.academia.edu/3009405/Strength_is_Health_George_Barker_Windship_and_the_First_American_Weight_Training_Boom

Traditional Iranian Martial Arts (Varzesh-e Pahlavani).  Pahlavani.com.  Web.  27 Jan 2014.  http://www.pahlavani.com/ish/html/ph/new/meel.htm

Watson, J. Madison.  Handbook of Calisthenics and Gymnastics.  New York: Schermerhorn, Bancroft, and Co., 1864.

Wikipedia.  Thomas Topham.  Web.  29 Jan 2014.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Topham


  1. I think David Horne sells a book about Thomas Topham. The guy was actually reckoned to be stronger than anyone else at the time, it was just that he personally was a halfwit and couldn't think of ways to make his stunts look better.

    re: diet http://www.britishpathe.com/video/strong-man-2/

    1. Anyone who ides of a self-inflicted stab wound is definitely a halfwit.

  2. I googled "meels" and this was what popped up. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/04/04/from-buzz-bissinger-to-nicolas-sarkozy-the-rise-of-heels-for-men.html Fuck this shit, let's open up our borders, it's time for western civilization to end.

  3. Perhaps Stalin had the right idea re:liquidating the weak. Imagine a world without Justin Bieber, Richard Simmons, the BeeGees, AFI, metrosexuals, skinny jeans....The human race would be much better and stronger.

  4. Is that Chucky with the kettlebell?
    Mike the Machine just before his head exploded into his neck! Great blog. Do the nootrops help your creative writing? Blowjob from a half- starved piranha! How about a high five from a Civil War field amputee??

    1. I've only just gotten Genius, but yeah, I think aniracetam has helped my writing somewhat.

  5. Nobody has mentioned that absurd mathematics yet. You would have thought an early promotor if newtonian physics would know how to add and multiply. Steve Justa does a better job in Rock Iron Steel.

    1. I had a bit in there about it but dropped it because it just made the paragraph choppy. Squirrelly calculations indeed.

  6. Just read this while eating a pound of sweet Italian sausage.

    I'll be doing partial deads and shrugs after this.

  7. Not really sure why but bitches with huge hamstrings turn me on something fierce...

    Interesting thing about the late-Victorian Englishmen: in addition to being built like Ethiopian bodybuilders, they were notoriously impotent too. Subsequently, that was a part of Eugen Sandow's popularity. It was rumored that he could go all night. Easily.

  8. Why hate on kettlebells? I agree its not the only tool, but combined with barbells, sounds good. Not only Pavel promotes that, Bud Jeffries also said that combining barbell training with kettlebells is way to go. Pavels marketing model of Strongfirst is really smart, thats true. But I think thats not the end, I´ve read too many stories of people who had great experience with kbells to dismiss it as a fad tool, especially for fighters.

    1. I don't find kettlebells interesting enough to hate on them, an they're not popular enough to really bother caring about at all.

    2. Come on, thats rather diplomatic answer.

    3. Seriously, they bore me too much to bother shitting on them. They're great for people who suck at lifting. Otherwise they're basically useless.

  9. To be fair to the old victorian english. They may have looked like the final days of Freddy Mercury, but take a couple of hundred of the Public School faggots, dump them on the other side of the world surrounded by 100 000 warrior cannibals, and come back 5 years later.
    You'll find the cannibal king dressed in black tie and tails serving tea to his new masters and wondering what the FUCK just happened.

  10. Interesting and fun read as always.
    Just a few corrections since you put effort into this piece, might as well make it right!
    Russiapedia is not accurate...

    In 1948 the first kettlebell competition took place in Moscow. It was attended by 55 athletes (maybe the 20000 were spectators?), participating in 4 weight categories. Disciplines were: snatch and jerk with 32kg kettlebells, barbell clean and press and barbell clean and jerk.
    • 60kg Konavolov 28 snatches, 7 jerks
    • 70kg Salomaha 23 snatches, 15 jerks
    • 80kg Lavrentev 30 snatches, 13 jerks
    • >80kg Bolshakov 33 snatches, 19 jerks
    No mention of that guy doing 1000 snatches. Maybe side show? Putting down the kettlebell(s) ends the performance.

    There was no 10 minute time limit until 1989. I feel for the judges who had to sit through this...
    Ivan Nemtzov became known as the “king of snatch” after performing 370 half snatch with 32kg. Half snatch meaning taking the kettlebell to the shoulder on the way down, rather than swinging it in 1 motion like they do today in modern competition.
    On a similar note, Yuri Ramashin did 200 jerks with 2*32kg in 40 min in 1988. I imagine his hands (and mind) were numb after 15 min.

    1982: first Russian championship, and yes, 1993 first world championship. they competed in biathlon: Jerk (not Clean and jerk) and Snatch.
    The Clean and Jerk (Long Cycle) became a discipline of it's own and first competed in 1998 in St Petersburg.

    Source: Went to Siberian State University of Physical Education and Sport for a week in 2013. trained with World record holder Anton Anasenko.

    Side note: Russians do not lift kettlebells for strength or fitness. It's either for kettlebell sport competitions (a strength endurance sport), juggling display or they use them with athletes for various throws.

    You're welcome. or not.

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