As a garage athlete, you have a ton of options when it comes to competing. The Spotlight On series is an introduction to the many competitive outlets available to garage lifters. On Thursday, April 21st, I was honored to be asked to perform repetition deadlifts with God’s Warriors Strength Team a group of performing strongmen who visit schools and churches to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The experience inspired me to seek out strongmen in the Olde Time tradition for our Spotlight series. There are differences and similarities between performing strongmen and those who compete in the sport of strongman. Performing strongmen obviously don’t compete to win prize money or a trophy. Instead they put on exhibitions as part of the entertainment for events or as volunteers in outreach efforts. These strongmen train mostly in garages and backyards with ordinary implements. Common feats are rolling up frying pans, ripping phone books in half, bending nails, breaking wrenches and baseball bats and straightening or twisting horseshoes. Some are very large people but many are average sized men and women who only inspire awe after breaking free of handcuffs or shackles or bending an iron bar in their teeth. There seems to be no age limit either. Or at least don’t try to tell 74-year-old Mike Margolis that there is.
The ancient Huns who followed Attila were fond of tying a prisoner between two horses and galloping off in different directions to tear him apart. Grandmaster Dennis Rogers has duplicated the feat with two Harley Davidsons but survived by holding the motorcycles back! Other examples of today’s Olde Time strongmen are the legendary Bud Jeffries, Jedd “Napalm” Johnson, “Iron Tamer” David Whitley, Mike “The Machine” Bruce and Adam T. Glass.
I’ve been in touch with Grandmaster Dennis Rogers, Jedd Johnson and Adam T. Glass through email and they are all extremely willing to help beginners get started. Rogers owns a training facility in Houston, TX and hosts a seminar he calls Oldetime Strongman University to help interested men and women get started. Another great resource if you’re interested in this brand of tendon building, superhuman strength is Oldtime Strongman which is full of the original courses from performing strongmen such as Arthur Saxon, The Mighty Atom and George Jowett.
A good resource for training materials besides the local scrapyard, is Ironmind Enterprises. They’ve been providing tough as nails products for strength athletes since 1988 and most of their originals are still going strong. The company says they build their stuff with the intention that you get to watch your grandchildren train on it. One resource I’ve not tried is Atomic Athletic but they seem to have a decent reputation.
Good luck and try not to frighten the neighbors!
John Greaves III is a freelance writer in North Georgia. He is the founder of Garage Gym Life and a graduate of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. John’s diverse athletic and writing background allows him to write about a variety of topics from sports to business. You can find out more about him including how to have him guest post on your blog, write for your magazine or ghostwrite a piece for you by clicking here.