The World Strongest Man competition is undoubtedly one of my favourite events of the year. It features the strongest athletes in the world, competing against one another in a variety of presses, pulls and runs. […]
I love my PhD research. After three years, very few people can say that, but here I am. Now the reason for such positivity is not because a student recently gave me whiskey as a […]
Ed Coan entered his first powerlifting competition at 16 years old, he went on become one of the best (if not THE best) powerlifters in the world. Here is my candid conversation with The Legend, Ed Coan.
Undoubtedly we’ve all been faced with the question, who is stronger? As a teenager it emerged when those weighing 150 lbs. or less sought to square up to their heavier brethren. Was it more impressive bench pressing 200 lbs. at 150 or 280 lbs. at 200 lbs. bodyweight? While our adolescent selves often solved this problem by calling the other side fat or skinny, we were nevertheless ignorant of this perennial problem. Can strength across bodyweights be compared? For powerlifters or weightlifters currently reading this post, the words Wilks or Sinclair has undoubtedly passed through your lips. For the unaware, the answer is yes, albeit with some reservations.
Since the 1930s a series of formulas have been used to with the express intention of discovering who is the strongest lifter across all weight classes. Varying in their level of nuance, the strength coefficients, as they’re termed, have given a scientific air to locker room debates about the strongest lifter. Perhaps more significantly, they’re also used in competition to determine the overall winner. With that in mind today’s post seeks to examine the history of strength coefficients, beginning in the 1930s and continuing to the present day. As will become clear, the evolution of the strength coefficients used largely echoes the growing professionalism of weightlifting and powerlifting more generally.
Lifters of all ages, weights, and nationalities were there in great force, they having been expressly invited to witness an exhibition by Maxick, of Munich.
I have, I believe, been fairly open about my love of the World’s Strongest Man, specifically the opening decade of the competition. Whereas today’s competition is professional, modern and scientific, the contests of yesteryear were […]
Strongmen around the turn of the 19th century usually grab the attention of most people interested in Physical Culture. Almost everyone will know the name Eugen Sandow. Yet despite our preconceived notions that strength is an exclusively male pursuit, Physical Culture was in fact an all-encompassing movement that didn’t exclude based on gender. There were female performers as well, many of whom were stronger than their male counterparts. Society viewed these women with a suspicious eye. Was it possible to be strong and ladylike? Were they not too masculine? Katie Sandwina, once the ‘Strongest Woman in the World’ had to face many of these pressures. What’s more, she did it with a smile.
Just how strong can a gorilla be? After watching the latest iteration of King Kong over the weekend, the answer seems obvious. They’re very strong. As in smash anything in their way strong.
Not the most scientific of answers but hey, it works for me.
Luckily not everyone is as lazy as my good self. Indeed, some have gone to some interesting lengths to scientifically provide an answer. Today’s post, focuses on a 1920s study, which may have contributed to some common misconceptions about our primal relatives.
And before you protest about the nature of this post, the experiment (Spoiler Alert!), contains weightlifting. Both human and primate.
So often in today’s world of World’s Strongest Man, Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting, the assumption that strength is defined by maximum weight lifted goes unchallenged. It is as if we accept unquestioningly that the person who can lift 500 pounds once is stronger than the those who can ‘only’ lift 400 pounds for reps.
It’s important to remember that strength was and is, a highly contested issue. Today we are going to look at a 20th century European strongman’s views on what strength really means.