Top 10 Historical Acts of Strength

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If you watched the Olympics this year, you saw many feats of impressive athleticism and strength. If you didn’t watch them, it’s very unfortunate that you were trapped at the bottom of the sea for two weeks.

However, most of the so-called feats of strength featured in the Olympics actually pale in comparison to those on the following list.

Note: All of the weights listed are in pounds, because that’s just how we decided to roll on this one. However, if you want to get all metric for this list, you can use this handy converter.

10. Bybon’s Stone

stone-of-bybon

The stone of Bybon weighs 300 pounds. That’s roughly the same as two, fully grown human beings, or one really fat one.  And according to the inscription on it, once upon a time, a man named Bybon lifted it over his head with a single hand. Now this act finds itself at number 10 only because historians doubt whether it actually happened, though if they read the rest of this list, they may change their minds about whether it’s possible for a human to effectively lift one of the Earth’s testicles.

9. Zishe Breitbart, Elephant Lifter

Siegmund-Breitbart

Zishe Breitbart was a Polish strongman who toured the circus scene in Berlin. Along with the regular strongman acts like biting through steel chains and being terrifying to stand next to at a urinal, Breitbart could also boast more impressive feats like lifting a baby elephant. Now you’re probably thinking, “pah, only a baby, what a weakling.” Well while holding said baby elephant. he was able to climb a ladder and hold a train wheel, all while three men hung from it. Honestly, just another day in the life of  Breitbart.

Rumors that he then threw the elephant into space, in an attempt to hit God in the face, remain unverified.

8. Donald Dinnie, King Of Sport

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Donald Dinnie won an estimated 11 thousand events in his lifetime, and was so terrifyingly adept at sport that it’s entirely possible he got a gold medal every time he sat down and didn’t cause the Earth to shatter beneath the power of his mighty thighs. The above picture? That’s Dinnie, showing off some of his medals. SOME!

Part of Dinnie’s impressive legacy are the two huge stones he was said to have carried across a bridge (which had a combined weight of 775 pounds.) These stones remain there to this day for anyone to try and lift. Although many have done so, few manage to do it looking as cool as Dinnie did.

7. Hermann Görner And The Barbell Of Power

hermann-gorner

Now listing the weight all the people on this list could lift would get boring, since lifting a heavy weight is only one part of being strong. Grip is also a very important factor, as Hermann was keen to prove. Without grip, strength is just the ability to push things over, a skill we all learn at about five years old.

Hermann’s signature move was the lifting of his own unique 300-pound barbell. This barbell was unique in that it its handle was unusually thick, meaning that, without a deadly kung fu grip, even the strongest of men couldn’t lift it. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people tried during Hermann’s career, and only one ever managed it: Hermann himself.

6. The Great Antonio, Bus Thief

great-antonio-bus

“I’ll just take this, thank you.”

The Great Antonio’s life reads like an acid trip during an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie marathon. Not only was he a man of terrifying stature and power, he was also positively insane.

This was proved no better than when he once decided to move a bus full of people, which isn’t exactly that weird of a thing for a strongman to do. But Antonio did it, without asking. He seemingly just wanted to move the vehicle, purely to prove that he could.

The driver of the bus kindly asked Antonio not to do so, because he’d be late and few passengers and fewer bosses accept the excuse that a giant hairy man stole your bus. But Antonio, being insane, decided to Hell with that noise, and did it anyway. When the police eventually turned up to see about the reports of the unholy spawn of Chewbacca and Godzilla wrecking their town, they just stood and watched. Because trying to arrest a man more than capable of punching you hard enough to alter your DNA just isn’t a good way to ensure a long and healthy life.

5. Signor Lawanda, The Real Jaws

signor-lawanda

Strength doesn’t just come from the arms or even the wiener: you can work just about any muscle to the point of perfection. Signor Lawanda took this advice (literally) on the chin, and spent a lifetime working on his impressive acts of jaw strength. In his prime, Lawanda was said to be able to lift a 1400-pound horse using only his teeth, and a specially made harness. Because you know what? Sometimes you just need to pick up a horse with your teeth for no other reason than it looks really, really awesome on your future Wikipedia page.

Just imagine that for a second though: put a coin in your mouth and try to bend it with your teeth. Better yet, try to bite it in half. Imagine your teeth slowly cracking and being forced back into your jaw. Because that’s totally something Lawanda did, just for fun. You know, in between giving fat guys a place to sit down, USING HIS FACE.

Image source – OldTimeStrongman.com

4. Eugen Sandow, Possible Ninja

eugen-sandow

The somersault is one of the most difficult feats of muscle strength one could perform. It requires stomach, back, leg and probably some brain muscles too. Sandow was able to perform this feat, all while holding 50 pound dumbbells.

Here’s a video of him doing it, just for fun.

If it doesn’t seem as impressive as the other feats listed, also consider that he could jump through his own hands while holding a 125-pound dumbbell, and once lifted an entire band on his chest. He found a balance between speed, agility and strength that very few athletes have equaled since. Not to mention that Sandow was one of the first strongmen to work his body to the Grecian ideal. In other words, he turned his body into a literal work of art, working his muscles to the exact proportions the Greeks had used for statues of their own gods. Meaning that, when, Sandow died, he only needed to whip off his own shirt to get into the VIP section of Heaven.

3. Alexander Zass, Man (And Groin) Of Steel

alexander-zass

Zass walked into a POW camp skinny, and walked out the literal embodiment of rage. He spent virtually his entire sentence pulling on the bars or chains holding him in order to build his immense strength. The end result? Well if a picture says a thousand words, this gallery of his feats is probably a Wikipedia’s worth of OMG’s.

2. Joe Rollino, Real-Life Forrest Gump

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Rollino had dozens of awesome feats of strength to his name, like bending coins with his bare hands and lifting hundreds of pounds with a single finger. But his most impressive act came during war time.

Upon seeing good American men lying injured, Rollino decided he needed to act. Exactly like that scene in Forrest Gump, Joe started scooping up soldiers left right and centre, only he saved them four at a time, carrying two under each arm. Take that, Tom Hanks! Oh yeah, and he once cursed out Hitler, right in front of his stupid face. So yeah, Hitler, you can take some of that too.

rollins-10-years-old

Amazingly, this is Rollino at 10 years old.

Sadly, Rollino died a few years ago. At age 104, after being hit by a van. Which means that yes, even the Grim Reaper knew better than to attack him directly, probably due to the fact that Rollino may have actually been Captain America.

1. Angus MacAskill, The Strongest Man To Ever Walk The Earth

angus-macaskill

The term strongest man is thrown around a lot, but only one man can really claim the title, and that man is Angus MacAskill. In fact, he claims that title so hard, we almost gave him the 2 AND 1 spots on this list.

Angus stood at 7’9″ but, unlike other people of similar stature, Angus was a true giant, meaning he had no growth abnormalities and was perfectly proportioned. This gave Angus proportional strength and made him, scientifically, the strongest human being to ever walk the face of the Earth. Also, the most dapper, judging by those suits of his.

His feats of strength were so numerous and so impressive I could probably create a list of just the things he’s done. He reportedly threw men 10 feet into the air, lifted a fully-grown horse, threw barrels weighing several hundred pounds, carried grindstones like pennies, and once emptied a half-ton boat of bilge water on his own.

Despite his size, Angus was considered a gentle giant. Although he did show, on occasion, terrifying acts of rage. Like the time he punched a man so hard people actually thought he’d been killed. He did this, by the way, at age 14! His greatest act of strength though was the time he was challenged to carry an anchor, an actual anchor, you know, the things they use to stop boats from floating away.

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Angus carried it without even breaking a sweat, its weight, almost 3 thousand pounds, or in other words, almost half of the things on this list.


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7 Comments

  1. I remember Bill Kazmaier. In the early eighties, when the strongest man competition was in its infancy and not yet broadcast widely, He won three straight times and was not invited for four years.
    He was so dominant one of the competitions involved lifting kegs up, walking about ten feet and dropping them into a stake bed truck. At least that is what everybody else did. Kazmaier just lifted them up where they were and threw them into the truck….. Unbelievable

    anybody else remember watching him throw those kegs? I looked on you tube and could not find the video.

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