Sarah Pileggi, ‘The Pleasure of Being the World’s Strongest Women’, (Sports Illustrated, 1977)

Katie Sandwina was a professional strong woman who performed in John Ringling’s circuses in the early 1900s. She was celebrated for great feats of strength, such as carrying a 600-pound cannon on her back, and lesser ones, like executing the manual of arms with her 160-pound husband Max instead of a rifle. Sandwina was a handsome woman, standing 6’1″ and weighing 210 pounds. She had a narrow, corseted waist, in the style of the day, and well-rounded thighs filling out her white circus tights. Some people think Sandwina was the strongest woman who ever lived, but because very few strong women have thought it prudent to advertise their strength, the matter is difficult to judge.

In a genealogy of the spirit, Jan Todd would be in a direct line of descent from Katie Sandwina. The day four years ago when Jan first heard of Sandwina was also the day she began to turn over in her mind the possibility of shedding a feminine physical ideal that was not of her own making. Until that day she had been a naturally strong, athletically talented, intellectually well-equipped schoolgirl who took her strength for granted and worried, off and on, about her height (5’7″), her weight (165) and her posture (round-shouldered).

The History of the Bosu Ball


Part of the functional training fetish exhibited by members of the strength and conditioning community in the opening decade of the twenty-first century, the Bosu Ball was not too long ago, a ubiquitous piece of gym equipment. Nowadays found in the corner of the gym floor, if at all, the Bosu Ball, along with the Swiss Ball covered previously, represented a shift in training from strength and hypertrophy and balance and functional strength (whatever that means).

Having rediscovered the Bosu Ball recently, and by that I mean having tripped over one in the gym, I thought the timing seemed right to finally uncover its history.

Stuart McRobert, Ten Years Wiser, Hardgainer Magazine, 11:1 (1999), pp. 13-16.


This issue of HARDGAINER marks the start of our eleventh year. In it we’re starting a new series in which an article from exactly ten years prior to the current issue will be reviewed and updated, to reflect what the respective author has learned over that ten-year period. Because Iwrote most of the articles in the early issues of HARDGAINER, I’ll be writing the early installments in this new series. But later on, other authors will be involved.

– Stuart McRobert

Forgotten Exercises: The Butt Punch

Admittedly a strange name for an even stranger looking exercise, the Butt Punch came to the weightlifting community’s attention in the late 1990s thanks to the late Jerry Telle. Telle, for those unaware of him, was briefly touted as one of the freshest thinking minds in the Iron Community. Bursting onto the scene with a host of new ideas and, more importantly, interesting exercise, Telle is perhaps best known owing to his fondness for drop sets.

Nevertheless, Telle contributed a number of exercise variations, the Butt Punch being one of them. Aimed primarily at, you guessed it….the glutes. The Butt Punch hits the glutes and lower back like it’s nobody’s business. Having spent the last month playing around with the exercise, it’s a great substitute for Good Mornings and Romanian Deadlifts. But before we get into its applicability, we’ll let Telle do the talking.

Dr. Mel Siff, A Short History of Strength and Conditioning (Dolfzine, 2003)

Strength training has always been synonymous with the so-called “Iron Game,” a broad generic term that includes the competitive lifting of heavy objects by “strongmen/women” during the last century or so. Feats of lifting strength, however, have appeared throughout the history of most nations, but it has only been in very recent times that training to produce strength has become a scientific discipline.

Mel C Siff Ph.D.
This science did not arise overnight, but is the culminating point of thousands of years of trial-and-error methods of training.

The earliest reference to formal strength training occurs in Chinese texts dating as far back as 3600BC when emperors made their subjects exercise daily (Webster, 1976). During the Chou dynasty (1122-249BC) potential soldiers had to pass weight-lifting tests before being allowed to enter the armed forces.

Guest Post: Here’s A Brief Look At The History of Physical Therapy


Photo Source

Physical therapy, which is a unique treatment approach for healing musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions has a rich history that dates back to 460 BC. Used nowadays for treating conditions like hip fracture, backaches, neck pain, shoulder injuries, foot and ankle pain, and headaches etc., physical therapy is not a new treatment method as most people think. Yes, physical therapy had been used by people belonging to different civilizations for managing pain and healing injuries for ages.

Whether you talk about ancient Greeks, Parisians, Egyptians or Chinese they all had been using physical therapy to treat the pain caused by injuries and prolonged illnesses for centuries. With the passage of time physical therapy continued to evolve and today it’s a very renowned form of treating a wide range of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions.

Joe Weider, Why I Entered the Mr. Universe Contest, Your Physique, February 16: 7 (1952), 7


UP UNTIL a few minutes ago, I had not the slightest intention or expectation of writing this article. Since my return from Europe, my mail has been flooded with letters asking my why I entered the contest. “How good are the European bodybuilders compared to our boys?” asked one reader. “What were your experiences, and how was the show conducted and organized?” inquired another. I read a score of letters and as the pile of mail slowly grew higher and higher before me, I realized the futility of answering separately each piece of correspondence. So after a few minutes consideration, I decided to make an article take the place of a letter to those many fellow enthusiasts who have congratulated me, and have expressed pleasure and surprise that the editor of a physique culture magazine had the courage to show the world he practised what he preached.

Dorian Yates’ Workouts from 1982-1985


Yates in 1986

Known as ‘The Shadow’ in bodybuilding circles, Dorian Yates was the goliath of early 1990s bodybuilding. Winning the Mr. Olympia six straight years in a row from 1992 to 1997, Yates was famed for his intense approach to training. A modified form of the high intensity training advocated by Arthur Jones and Mike Mentzer, Yates’ success briefly brought this style of training to the bodybuilding fore.

The following post, stemming from a Dorian article with Flex magazine from the mid 1990s, details the Englishman’s training programme prior to his meteoric success. While everyone wants to know how a champion trains, knowing how they became a champion is equally important…Enjoy!

Notes on John Grimek, Brooks D. Kubik, Dino Files (2000)


Grimek’s Workout, 7 November, 2000

I reprinted a terrific article on Grimek’s training in an early issue of the Dinosaur Files. The author was Joe Berg, and the article was titled, I believe, “The Greatest Physique Story Ever Told.” It originally ran in S&H in the early 50’s. The premise of the article was as follows: