Old School Strength – Hermann Goerner

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In this article, we take a look at the life and career of Hermann Goerner, an Olympic weightlifting champion who was born in 1894.

Deadlifts are a compound exercise that primarily works the erector spinae, spinal erectors, trapezius, and glutes. The exercise is good for overall strength and muscle building.

One of the arguments I attempt to make on my site is that what many people believe to be unique ideas are anything but. For hundreds of years, man has shown amazing power. Such achievements were made long before the invention of modern equipment, supplements, and the plethora of certification programs that have sprung up in our business.

I got a comment from a guy who has been trying to increase his grip strength via my forum only last weekend. He’s found that since concentrating more on his grip, he’s been able to grab a lot heavier dumbbell. His email arrived at just the right time. It basically backed up a statement from Earle Liederman’s book Secrets of Strength (recently discussed here).

Wrists that are strong are essential to overall strength. Most common feats of strength need the item to be moved, lifted, swung, or shattered to be grasped by the hands, which must be tightly linked to the arms to ensure that force is delivered without interruption. “Young guy, you will never be any stronger than your hands and wrists,” a renowned veteran advised a newcomer to the professional ranks.

If you are a fan of Hermann, and want to get in shape, but our getting up there in age there are still some great programs to get in shape. You can start with eating better, getting more exercise, or checking out programs like the Fit Father Project

Liederman’s comments are still relevant today. The development of strong hands has obvious implications for a variety of other lifts. Looking back to Hermann Goerner may reveal the finest demonstration of grip strength ever.

In 1891, Goerner was born. His education, on the other hand, was far from obsolete. His physical achievements would astound many people of our day. I’m well aware of this. He deadlifts 595.5 pounds with just two fingers in each hand in the picture below. He’s reportedly said to have deadlifted 734.5 pounds with only one hand. What an amazing feat of power!

Following that, you can see him overhead pressing a 330-pound barbell. While this is a great load, it is even more remarkable given the barbell’s thickness of 2 and 3/8â€. Thick-handle lifting isn’t a novel concept…

In terms of Goerner’s history, I recommend reading Edgar Mueller’s The Mighty Goerner (published in 1951). It’s a fantastic book that recounts the tale of one of the world’s most powerful men.

Aside from a compelling tale, the book also provides insight into his preparation. The following are a few noteworthy lines from the book.

“He exercised whenever he felt like it, changing his schedule to fit his energy and condition at the time, and he never forced himself to do a workout when he wasn’t in the mood… He didn’t have or follow a “set” training regimen; instead, he constantly changed his exercises and mixed up his work to the point that one could honestly claim he never performed the same program again.”

This element of his training interested me, so I read about it. I, too, have followed a similar approach without adhering to a rigid regimen. More in this vein may be found in previous Think For Yourself installments (Part I and Part II)

What about using a range of tools to train?

Who said strange things had to be new?

His creative mind was always devising new and innovative methods to lift various weights, including kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, block weights, barrels, weighted sacks, and so on.

Mueller goes on to talk about weightlifting, putting the shot, leaping, and swimming as well. Goerner would swim for almost an hour on certain days and then do a free weight exercise afterwards. Goerner was obviously in great shape and extremely powerful.

Please see the following two websites for additional information about Hermann Goerner:

Goerner’s main page, courtesy of Sandowplus

Herman Goerner is a superhuman being (excellent site)