Wednesday, June 29, 2011

THE DEVELOPMENT OF PHYSICAL POWER - (Circa 1906) - Chapter 22 - EVEN MORE PRESS RELEASES - By Arthur Saxon


THE MAJESTY OF MUSCLE Arthur Saxon, the Strongest Man in the World. (and how others may increase their stamina and strength.) (BY THE BARON)

To the average man the possession of abnormal muscle is a thing to be wondered at greatly. The wrestling boom has called attention to the matter of physical development of late, but prior to that the performances of such men as Sandow and Saxon had caused runs of greater or shorter duration upon the various schools of physical culture.

It is quite evident, however, that quite 90 per cent of those who pay their money to witness the struggles between wrestlers or strong men in various departments, are not exactly models of physical development themselves. Weedy they are in various degrees, cigarette smokers, and more apt to spend their nights in billiard saloons than in getting the full benefit of the open air.

Strength, great and above the average, is, of course, given to but a comparative few. Still, there is no reason why an ordinary man should not under proper tuition, be capable of lifting considerably more than his own weight above his head, or to sustain any physical effort such as running, walking, or cycling for a considerable time.

TO SECURE SUCCESS:

How best to secure such development, however, is a matter needing careful consideration. In order to elucidate this matter, however, I paid a visit a few nights ago to one of the Oswald Stohl houses, and there was fortunate enough to secure a few minutes chat with Arthur Saxon, undeniably a terrifically strong athlete, who claims to be the strongest man on earth, and who nightly challenges all and sundry to perform the feats he may be doing just as a matter of course.

At the first glance Saxon does not strike one as being anything beyond an ordinary individual you meet in the street. But stripped--then is the difference. Just under 14 stone in weight, he carries a 48 inch chest, is 24 round the thigh, 17-1/2 round the upper arm, the same round the neck, stands 5 ft. 10 ins. in height, and was born as recently as 1878 being consequently just now at his best.

Naturally powerful, Saxon, as a lad, pitted himself against all and sundry. He proved successful in his trials and then, after a careful preparation at Leipzig, he blossomed out into a professional strong man in 1897.

At first he wrestled, and with considerable success.

"Why did you give that up?" I asked him, for judging by his development, he would need a considerable amount of pressure before his shoulders could be placed on the mat.

WRESTLING AND WEIGHTLIFTING

"Oh," was Saxon's reply, "a wrestler and a weightlifter must be a vastly different man. In the one you need strength and smartness combined. It is fatal to a wrestler to be slow, but in weightlifting you must possess 'stiff' power. That is the difference, and it is quite certain a man cannot be a champion at two different things. That is why I forsook wrestling.

"What are my lifts? Well, with the right hand I am repeatedly raising 328 lbs. from the shoulder, and with a double-handed lift I can put up 300 lbs. from the front and 325 lbs. from the neck behind.

"My training? Simply to keep fit and well, day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year. Personally, I am continually in practice, and to that alone I ascribe my powers. Any athlete must follow out the regular rules if he wishes to excel, and as for diet, I would recommend just what I do myself. Live regularly and well, and eat what has been proved to suit you. Good plain living cannot be beaten, while stimulants and tobacco must be taken in moderation.

"One or two cigars smoked during the day would not, I think, injure any man, but he must be careful not to overdo things. Moderation must be his watchword, even in work, for in this respect the young athlete must be careful not to overdo matters.

"Anyone training for weightlifting should be careful not to overdo things. He should commence with the smaller weights, and as his power increased, then he could increase the severity of his tasks in ratio. That is the real method of training, for a strain at the commencement of affairs is apt to be a very serious thing.

BATHS AND MASSAGE

"Baths and massage, I may add, play important parts in an athlete's programme, and I cannot speak too highly of the former. They draw the stiffness from the muscles, and the massage brings all the little recognised thews and sinews into use and subjection."

Then Saxon proceeded to illustrate what he meant by claiming to be the strongest man in the world. Loaded with weights, totally an aggregate of 1,420 lbs., he tramped up and down the stage, and, not satisfied with this, called out 13 men, who hung on a barbell while he strolled up and down behind the footlights. The weight in this case was considerably over a ton, but it might have been a hundredweight, so easily did he bear it.

"Did you ever meet with accidents," I asked him later. "Yes, sometimes," he admitted, "when the stage is not strong enough to carry the weight I put upon it. With the men things are not to be feared, for they generally fall clear, but with the weights the case is different. They fall in a direct line, and I have before now had a finger smashed when a track in the stage has collapsed with me, but that is all!"

Iron Nation
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Bob Whelan

Bob Whelan

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