Monday, July 31, 2017

Listen To Brad Steiner Talk about Self Defense

If you are interested, I am going to be a guest on Coast to Coast Radio again this coming Wednesday (August 2) at 10 pm (to 12 midnight). You might wish to mention this to anyone you know who is interested in self-defense.

If you are interested but cannot listen to the live broadcast, then you will be able to listen to a recording of the Show on


Read More »

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Cardio Thoughts - By Christian Tackett

For 18 years of my training career, l have been told that cardio was bad for me.  I have heard it all from "Cardio will destroy your recovery ability" to "You won't be able to recover effectively enough for your workouts" to "There is no evidence that cardio will improve your performance" to "There is no evidence that shows that the heart can be strengthened."  Yes, l believed these and more, and falsely believed that l was doing my body a service by keeping from it.  That is, until reality showed it's face to me after years of stress and on-again-off-again smoking.  

Let's fast-forward two months to the present day where Level 8 (hard interval style) on the elliptical, three times a week, 30 minutes each session is the rule.  To vary things up, and since yesterday was a beautiful day and needed some fresh air, l decided to do sprints--as in, sprint the length of a football field and walk back, ten times.  The first six times, l was breathing very hard; from 7-10 times, l was going on all mental strength and positive self-talk, but my son thought l was probably trying out for the Special Olympics.  After l finished, 20 minutes later, l headed home to continue the day and what it demanded of me.

To Maximum Bob:  Thank you, sir.  You've changed my thinking to my betterment.  I have easily trimmed off an inch or two on my waist measurement and my health--my body, my mind, and my spirit--has improved dramatically.  To the anti-cardio folks out there, l say this:  The lazy man's way to a physique may be out there, but cardiovascular stamina is important for good health and will enable you to improve mentally, physically, and emotionally.  Properly applied hard interval style cardiovascular training that is totally different from training for a marathon can all but help your training and your overall quality of life, so what do you have to lose?  Nothing.  However, if you, dear reader, do not build the whole person--inside and out--you will miss out on your cardiovascular health and its benefits that will all but help you.

EDITORS NOTE:  Some great information Christian. I completely agree. Interval style cardio is good for you and not at all like marathon training. Doing stairmaster, (or your choice of activity), 3 times a week for 30 minutes on hard interval setting will not hurt your strength and will get you in a lot better condition. *(Most machines have a built in warm up and cool down so a 30 minute hard interval workout is really just 20 minutes of actual training time.)
Read More »

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The True Masters of Natural Training - By Sutinder Mann

Truth has a power all of its own, you may try to cover it up with lies or ignore it but it remains the truth. In the training world a sincere physical culturist has an internal compass which points to the truth but as fallible beings we get lured by flashy claims. When I first read Stuart McRobert and Bob Whelan, I knew they were the real deal and ordered their books, which now serve as references on my bedside table.

About five years ago, the summer before I started back at work, I had happened upon a thread which discussed John Christy’s training methodologies and I was captivated by the ideas he expressed and they complimented the aforementioned authors. Another thing about truth is that it keeps popping up.

I was captivated by the ideas Coach Christy expressed they fitted my experience as an old school home garage trainee using free weights. It was as if I was illuminating a room I had always lived in but for the first time I saw it clearly and understood the the whys and wherefores of strength training.

For instance the idea of sticking with an effective program long term to master the exercises to ensure consistent performance and progression through his concept of ‘beating failure’. I had to have his book; I went to his website and was saddened by a lovingly put together video tribute to John Christy. I did not know ….. I did further research and on there was a fine tribute from Bob Whelan.

I returned to John’s RealStrengthRealMuscle website and ordered his book. It would take several weeks to arrive because it would need shipping from America to England.

Work became tumultuous due to restructuring of the organization and it became a fight for survival. John’s book arrived I could not put it down and I started to incorporate many of John’s ideas.

Despite working harder than I have ever done in my career I made great progress in my gym. Being patient and believing in his program I actually beat the hard gainer target of 300 x10 by getting (150kg) 330X10 reps for 2 sets in the parallel squat. Which was massive for me as the other targets outlined in Brawn Page 35 are still a long way off but I’m working towards them. Unfortunately I broke John’s rules by getting too greedy, buoyed by my success and not listening to my body which resulted in an injury but that’s another story and entirely my fault. Even in my predicament John had advice which helped.

“If you are a warrior, you’re going to get battle wounds -whether it is an injury or sickness. Just be smart, get healed and get back into the fight!" ... Excerpt from John Christy’s Real Strength Real Muscle Book P79

John Christy was master of natural training but also on how to approach life. He stressed hard work and guts both in dealing with training and also life in general. The tough minded approach helped me with one of the most difficult years of my career and his book cuts out the crap which is prevalent in training. I know I could not have made the progress I have made without his wisdom and the complimentary ideas of Stuart McRobert and Bob Whelan.

Read More »

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Strongman Priest - By R.J. Hicks, BS Exercise Science, CSCS

RJ Hicks is an active duty officer in the US Air Force and a Graduate Student in Exercise Science.

Who was the first college strength coach? Many believe it was Boyd Epley, at Nebraska, but few have heard of the man who formed the position, without knowing it, decades before people commonly accepted weight training. Father Bernard Lange was a man of character who ruled his weight room without opposition from 1935 into the late 1960s. A man of tremendous strength and love for his university, Father Lange dedicated his life's work to the people of Notre Dame.

In 1923, as noted in the magazine Strength and Health , Father Lange, was recognized as one of the strongest men in the world. He measured at 5 feet and 8 inches, weighing 260 pounds, with a 50 inch chest backed by 19 inch arms, Father Lange was truly an old-time strongman. His feats of strength include 11 repetitions on the bench press with 403 pounds. He regularly did military presses with dumbbells weighing over 100 pounds and deadlifted over 500 for repetitions with ease witnessed by "his boys,” the students of Notre Dame who trained under him. At the age of 60 he recorded a 600 pound deadlift and was successful in tearing a deck of cards in each hand with just his thumb and index fingers. He was a beast!

On the front door to his personal makeshift gym the sign read “private keep out". Barbells, dumbbells, benches and lifting platforms filled the room, all of which were painted bright colors. Mirrors, anatomy charts and clippings from weight lifting magazines covered the room wall to wall. Father Lange was solely in charge of the upkeep of the gym and the personal designer for many of the weight lifting apparatuses. He had complete control over who he let in and all of the rules by which the gym was governed. The gym was a fraternity for hardcore lifters only. New lifters had to rely on the veterans to learn the ways of Father Lange's gym and had to do so quickly. It was a privilege to train under Father Lange and an education in life.

Father Lange believed in a self disciplined lifestyle. He was known for being a real tough guy with a serious temperament, but a heart of gold. He believed weight training was a vital component to an athlete’s success, at a time when many fought against weight training. Through physical fitness, Father Lange imposed the development of character to "his boys." He believed in heavy weight training and cared more about heart and effort than the lifting records won. His gym was a place to teach life lessons. Father Lange saw the importance of success outside of the weight room and wanted more than anything for "his boys" to become winners in life. His relationship with the boys of Notre Dame was one of loyalty and tough love. Those who survived his tough reign and adhered to his rules strived to earn his respect and admiration. He was a true hero in their eyes.

Throughout his time at Notre Dame, Father Lange was able to make many contributions to the university. Within the weight room, he was able to coach over 6,000 students. Some of which were sent through the athletic departments, while others courageously entered at their own will. In addition, Father Lange coached the intercollegiate weightlifting team for six years, winning the championship in 1953. Outside the gym Father Lange was a charitable man, he ran free swimming lessons to the children of Notre Dame employees and to the children of the less privileged local neighborhoods. He would visit the immigrant land keepers, remembering where he was from, leaving them with a handful of coins or a beer as recognition, and built altars for many of the churches around campus. Father Lange was a protector and mentor to many of the people at Notre Dame.

Unknown by many, Father Lange's legend is carried amongst many of the boys at Notre Dame. Father Lange was probably the first true college strength coach in history, long before the position was even created and recognized. Many lessons can be taken away from his teaching, none-more than the opportunity coaches have to positively impact the lives of their students through hard work and discipline. Legendary strongman priest, coach and non-conformist, Father Lange was a beloved icon to many at the university of Notre Dame.


Gill, Paul G. "The Strength of His Convictions." Notre Dame News Spring 1987: n pag. Print.

Mahoney, R.J. "Notre Dame: A Salute To Father Lange And The Weight Training Program At Notre Dame University." Strength and Health Oct. 1967: n. pag. Print

Editors Note: Great article RJ. Father Lange is one of my favorites. My book SUPER NATURAL STRENGTH is dedicated to him.
Read More »

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Practice Makes Perfect - By Jeff "T-Rex" Bankens

This article is a follow up to the recent video posted on this website showing "yours truly" bursting a hot water bottle.

Bursting hot water bottles is a feat that has been performed by old time strongmen for decades. I have been performing this feat myself for nearly 10 years. I really like adding it to a performance because it is exciting to for the audience to watch, and really builds the tension in the room leading up to a grand explosion of rubber and hot air!

While bursting a hot water bottle is, no doubt a very exciting feat to perform, it is very taxing on the entire body. Performing this feat can tax your chest, biceps, abdominals, neck, and cardio vascular system. It can also wreak havoc on your tongue, which makes it difficult to speak shortly after performing this feat. The degree to which it taxes you depends on several factors, including: the type of Hot Water Bottle being used (some are tougher than others), the cardiovascular fitness level of the individual performing the feat, and what feats have been performed prior in your performance.

I was reminded of the importance of taking your own advice about 2 months back. I was performing at the annual employee crawfish boil for the company I work for. I have been performing here annually for at least 7 years. In preparing for my performance, I only took one of the listed factors into consideration: my cardiovascular fitness level was pretty high, as I have implemented some big changes in the last 1-1/2 years. That being said, I did not seriously consider the the feats I had performed prior to bursting the hot water bottle (I was tired and winded by the time I got to the hot water bottle). I also overestimated my ability to burst the new bottles I recently acquired (They are 2 - 3 times harder to burst than my normal bottles). Up to that point I had only practiced bursting them when my body and mind were "fresh".

I wish I could say my years of experience allowed me to skate through that feat and complete it with seeming ease, but I would be lying to you. I was able to get about 30 breaths of air into the bottle, and then it began to overcome me. In general, my body and mind were tired, and more specifically my cardiovascular system were taxed by the time I got that much air into it. I could literally hear and feel the air escaping as I tried in vain to "hold my breath" in the bottle. The struggle became too much, and I let the air escape, put the bottle back up to my lips, and started over. You see, the first time went so well that I decided to give it another shot. Once again, I was severely disappointed. I admitted defeat, moved on and completed the performance.

That failed performance taught me something valuable, again! It taught me that practice makes perfect! No matter how good you think you are, you should never skip out on practice! I was overconfident in my abilities and it cost me a failed performance. Thankfully the crowd was forgiving and enjoyed the rest of the performance.

So, what are the takeaways from this failed feat of strength?

Do not take yourself so seriously that you cannot mess up in front of people. Learn to laugh it off and move on.

Planning is key. Lay out your performance (or workout routine) in such a way that you are able to complete all of the required feats (or exercises). Practice, practice, practice. You do not become an expert at something without hours and hours of repetitive practice.

Should you have any questions regarding this article, public speaking, or performing feats of strength, please do not hesitate to contact me at
Read More »

Bursting a thick Hot Water Bottle "How to's" & necessary practice - By Jeff "T-Rex" Bankens

Read More »
Does modern bodybuilding make you sick? You should write for Natural Strength! I always need good articles about drug-free weight training. It only has to be at least a page and nothing fancy. Just write it strong and truthful with passion! Send your articles directly to me:

Vintage Bodybuilding Literature

Vintage Bodybuilding Literature
Oldtime Strongman Books

This site does not provide medical advice. We assume no liability for the information provided in NaturalStrength articles. Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or nutrition program. Copyright © 1999-2024 | All Rights Reserved.