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JohnnyThompsonnum1

Strongest wrestlers

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I dont buy this bullcrap that Hodge was the strongest wrestler of all time. Its a myth that gets perpetuated, based on no evidence other than him squeezing pieces of fruit. The guy didnt even lift weights. The same people who think Hodge was the strongest wrestler also think Babe Ruth was the best home run hitter and Rocky Marciano was the hardest puncher. The fact is, Hodge would be outgunned by JC guys in todays era.

Hodge pinned 11 of 13 in winning 3 NCAA's. (and got screwed out of Olympic gold)

Hodge broke plyers and 3/4" end wrenches with his hands.

Hershel Walker didn't lift. Would he be out gunned by JC kids?

 

 

You wrote that as a joke, right?

 

Hodge beat kids who trained 2 months a year when the most sophisticated weight lifting routine was milking cows and throwing hay.

 

Hodge broke plyers? Samson killed a lion with his bare hands. Show me some proof other than stories by old timers.

 

Yes, JC wrestlers would throw Hershel Walker around the mat without problem.

It doesn't take people long to get sick of your responses. Quit being a hater. Show some respect for people that accomplished so much more than you or I.

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Im not being a hater or disrespecting anyone. Everyone just says Hodge was the strongest because everyone else says it. Show me something besides him squeezing an apple and I will believe it. Otherwise you have a bunch of people with no knowledge of a wrestler who never even lifted weights claiming he was the strongest of all time.

 

The question has absolutely nothing to do with accomplishments or respect; it has to do with how physically strong a person was.

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Im not being a hater or disrespecting anyone. Everyone just says Hodge was the strongest because everyone else says it. Show me something besides him squeezing an apple and I will believe it. Otherwise you have a bunch of people with no knowledge of a wrestler who never even lifted weights claiming he was the strongest of all time.

 

The question has absolutely nothing to do with accomplishments or respect; it has to do with how physically strong a person was.

 

Considering that "everyone" says it, it might just be true.

Also given that he was in his hey-day nearly 60 years ago, what do you think can be shown to you?

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I the consensus on Dan Hodge has to be in regards to his grip. Most here have probably heard the stories of him snapping pairs or pliers, twisting off shower knobs, and making "instant applesauce."

 

Karelin certainly was one of the strongest overall. The story of him buying a refrigerator, carrying it home, and then up several flights of stairs carries some muscle!

 

Mark Schultz was up there in the pound-for-pound category. A former gymnast, I heard that he could do 35-40 chin-ups.

Impressive Karelin anecdote. Jake Herbert, in a blog during his time Northwestern, mentions Keith Sulzer breaking his pull-up record:

 

"On a sad note, my pull-up championship was taken from me this year by a freshman! Keith Sulzer (the former St. Edward High School wrestler) beat my total by pumping out 50 straight pull-ups. I had 49, but don't worry, we will have a rematch this week."

 

http://www.intermatwrestle.com/articles/1601

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For those who question Dan Hodge's strength, a couple of his opponents weigh in...

 

> The late Gary Kurdelmeier, U of Iowa wrestler-turned-coach, 1957 Big Ten champ, 1958 NCAA champ at 177, was pinned by Hodge three times. Years later, he told historian Mike Chapman about having black-and-blue marks on his arms, because Hodge's grip was so powerful. He also told Chapman, "You didn't get too many good night's sleep when you knew you'd be wrestling Hodge."

 

> John Dustin, mat champ for Oregon State, kept yelling in pain during his 1957 NCAA semis match with Hodge, each time the Sooner tried to pin him, stopping the match. He later said, "He was trying to break me up!"

 

Mark

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I've known Dan Hodge since 1972, and no one else has as many stories told about him at OU, unless it was his coach Port Robertson.

 

I asked Dan one time if he'd ever met anyone as strong as he was. He said no one had a grip like his, but others had other types of strength.

 

Doug Blubaugh said on his first day at OSU he watched Phil Kinyon from a dead hang reach up and do 7 pullups with his right arm. Then he did 7 with his left arm. Doug said he decided then that when it came to strength he wasn't going to be on the losing end. So after practice he would walk the length of the football field on his hands!

 

I saw Joe James lose to to Wayne Baughman in the 1962 finals. James had a magnificent build and there were stories about the number of pullups he could do. However, he didn't out muscle Wayne Baughman in a match.

 

Until i was in my early 50s i'd never worked out with a high school wrestler I couldn't out muscle. A couple asked me how I got so strong since I never lifted weights. I said oh i lifted weights they are called bales of alfalfa try 1,100 a day.

 

Everyone knew Mark Schultz was strong, but most didn't realize how strong Dave was. I took some high school kids to the Sunkist International. The lower level bleachers were folded up, Dave using just his hands climbed up the bleachers to the upper deck. Those kids just stood there watching in amazement.

 

I asked a longtime booster who had watched all of Dan Hodge's matches in college what was the most amazing thing he'd seen him do. He said he was wrestling Kurdlemeier who had about a 20-inch neck, who was in a high bridge. Hodge put one hand under his head and one on his chest, then he pushed the head up and the chest down until the shoulders went on the mat for the pin.

 

Karelin was probably the strongest for lifting power.

 

Jay Pfau was a 6'6" 440 lb hwt from Sidney Montana. My brother ran around with him. I asked him what was the most amazing thing he saw Jay do. He said he leg pressed 750 pounds with one leg. At the Oklahoma Open at Lloyd Noble Arena he lateral dropped Jimmy Jackson completely off the mat. Jackson weighed about 360. It took the wood floor a while to stop moving.

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There is an exhibit in the NWHOF that shows evidence of Hodge's strength, not just grip strength.

 

Strangler Lewis was a pro wrestler when it was legimate who lived in OKC. He had two half circle wooden blocks separated by about 10 small coil springs. He used to practice squeezing the two blocks together with the headlock grip. At that time you could apply a headlock with having an arm encircled. Reportedly an opponent of Lewis died from head injuries who didn't submit. Lewis made an offer to anyone who could close the blocks using just their arms that he would give him the apparatus. There is a picture of Hodge closing the blocks. There is also a picture of a large man maybe 250 standing on the blocks and the springs are not anywhere near being closed.

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Ben Askren

Ed Ruth (strongest paws)

Mark Schultz and Dave Schultz

 

I heard Askren had trouble benching his own weight in college. He wasn't weightlifting strong but he had a grip like none other

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Im not being a hater or disrespecting anyone. Everyone just says Hodge was the strongest because everyone else says it. Show me something besides him squeezing an apple and I will believe it. Otherwise you have a bunch of people with no knowledge of a wrestler who never even lifted weights claiming he was the strongest of all time.

 

The question has absolutely nothing to do with accomplishments or respect; it has to do with how physically strong a person was.

 

Considering that "everyone" says it, it might just be true.

Also given that he was in his hey-day nearly 60 years ago, what do you think can be shown to you?

 

A work out log, pictures, his lifting program, some kind of old video clips, anything. Of course, they dont exist because he didnt lift weights. It is a very hard sell trying to convince me someone is the strongest of all time that didnt strength train.

 

Im sure he was a great wrestler and very strong for his era, but comparing him to wrestlers with the luxury of modern science and equipment, I just dont see it being true.

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Let it go.

 

You seem to want to get folks pissed (at you). I am not pissed at you at this moment. I am simply disappointed. Let it go. Most of us do know that (back in the day) weight training was not an intricate part of a college wrestling program.

 

That is part of our history. Things.....many things have evolved. Yes, we know that.

 

Thank You

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i've studied strength, in many sports, ive been quoted on the subject matter of fact.

 

theres different kinds of strength, sometimes its natural, sometimes developed. The best have a combo of the two, and have it where its needed. Youve got to have it where u can FLOW, not just short distances push pull strength. Examples of strength where u need it:

 

....Merlin Olson of the LA Rams, an NFL Hall of Fame defensive tackle, said once, "I didnt lift wts but i had natural strength where i could use it". Rulon Gardner i think was a farm boy, if correct i'm sure he developed farm boy strength, grip strength, flowing strength, from tossing bails of hay endlessly.

 

...."GRIP" strength VERY important in wrestling-- someone mentioned Joe Heskett, a lean guy but Walsh Jesuit asst Don Horning who took 3rd in ncaa for Kent St said in high school "Heskett has the Kung-Fu grip". Whatever Joe has was natural.

 

...someone mentioned Babe Ruth, Life magazine once had a two page layout of old Yankee stadium, it marked the 10 longest home runs ever hit there. Maybe 4 were Babe Ruth and four Mickey Mantle who i'm sure never lifted either, than maybe one Jimmy Fox and one Hank Greenburg. This layout was maybe 30 years ago, but still it shows Ruth and Mantle too could hit em as far or farther than anyone up to that time. --- And Ruth was being pitched a beat up ball compared to todays "Live" (steroid) ball.

 

....when i was at Ohio st i played basketball on the W. 11th street courts with Jack Tatum, legendary hard hitter Oakland Raiders. Tatum wasnt a wt lifter, but he had natural flowing strength, he would EXPLODE from his legs up.

 

The one problem i have with old timers, if you didnt face the great Black players or in baseball the great Hispanics, then u arent as good as history says you are and Ruth didnt face them-- but for sure he could hit gigantic homeruns regardless who was pitching them. --- This goes for wrestlers too ...s/BobP

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The 'Babe' is second all time to the admitted steroid user Mark McGwire in home runs per AB...

 

yes, and the Babe has a slugging % 2nd only to admitted steroid guy Barry Bonds. At the time Babe hit 54 HR's in- i think it was- 1920, his 54 exceeded the total of all other MLB Teams except maybe 2, so no doubt the Babe legit. Esp on those distances-- he and Mickey Mantle didnt lift any wts, in fact what both lifted was beer bottles --but distance doesnt lie esp considering the beat up balls the Babe was hiting, no one ever hit them farther, not even the steroid guys.

 

the Babe's situation reminds me of Golf, when Jack Nicklaus was young he was the one guy on tour hitting the ball a mile. Today alot of golfers hit it that far with better balls and clubs. In this case, when considering distance, edge to Nicklaus and the Babe.

 

however, as i said- imo - unless a player or wrestler faced the great Black athletes like today, and in baseball especially the great Hispancs, until then he hasnt been fully tested. And there are some all-time greats who didnt face the Blacks & Hispanics, not like today anyway. ...s/BobP

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The 'Babe' is second all time to the admitted steroid user Mark McGwire in home runs per AB...

 

yes, and the Babe has a slugging % 2nd only to admitted steroid guy Barry Bonds. At the time Babe hit 54 HR's in- i think it was- 1920, his 54 exceeded the total of all other MLB Teams except maybe 2, so no doubt the Babe legit. Esp on those distances-- he and Mickey Mantle didnt lift any wts, in fact what both lifted was beer bottles --but distance doesnt lie esp considering the beat up balls the Babe was hiting, no one ever hit them farther, not even the steroid guys.

 

the Babe's situation reminds me of Golf, when Jack Nicklaus was young he was the one guy on tour hitting the ball a mile. Today alot of golfers hit it that far with better balls and clubs. In this case, when considering distance, edge to Nicklaus and the Babe.

 

however, as i said- imo - unless a player or wrestler faced the great Black athletes like today, and in baseball especially the great Hispancs, until then he hasnt been fully tested. And there are some all-time greats who didnt face the Blacks & Hispanics, not like today anyway. ...s/BobP

You also should consider the Babe didn't concentrate on hitting until he was sold to the Yankees, after winning 99 games as a starting pitcher for the Red Sox.

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Olddirty:

 

Wt training is a training tool. It is important for many, but that doesn't mean it is required for everybody. There simply are those extraordinarily blessed.

 

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/ ... 1125982/3/

 

I agree. Infact, I dont think it strength is one of the top 2-3 most important attributes of being a successful wrestler. However, the thread was started on which wrestler had the most absolute strength.

 

BTW, Hershel Walker is nowhere near one of the strongest NFL players of all time.

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Olddirty:

 

Wt training is a training tool. It is important for many, but that doesn't mean it is required for everybody. There simply are those extraordinarily blessed.

 

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/ ... 1125982/3/

 

I agree. Infact, I dont think it strength is one of the top 2-3 most important attributes of being a successful wrestler. However, the thread was started on which wrestler had the most absolute strength.

 

BTW, Hershel Walker is nowhere near one of the strongest NFL players of all time.

Yet you dis one of the all time greats, who everybody who faced him describes as the strongest they ever faced, saying lifting vaults a JC kid above him.

 

Do you get to set the definition/parameters of what makes for the "strongest" wrestler? Most place grip strength near or at the top. I never feared a wrestler trying to bench me off him.

 

The practice of wrestling is a form of resistance (weight) training where the "bar" fights back and moves. Dr. Dale Thomas told me he didn't have anything against lifting, except (to him) it was taking time that could be better spent wrestling. We all have crushed opponents who were way stronger in the wt room but couldn't translate that into wrestling strength.

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Yet you dis one of the all time greats, who everybody who faced him describes as the strongest they ever faced, saying lifting vaults a JC kid above him.

 

Do you get to set the definition/parameters of what makes for the "strongest" wrestler? Most place grip strength near or at the top. I never feared a wrestler trying to bench me off him.

 

I am not dissing him. I do not think a guy who never strength trained was the strongest of all time when compared to modern athletes who have legitimate S&C coaches and programs. How is that an insult?

 

Yes, I get to define the parameters of strength when it comes to my opinion on strength. You can formulate your own with yours as well. Perhaps where you come from, grip is the pinnacle of strength. From my experience in college and at the international level, a wrestlers grip does not define how physically strong they are.

 

It is my opinion that for many people, especially older people, nostalgia plays a large part in the formulation of their opinions when making comparison. This is why athletes of yore are lauded as lb for lb greats, even when it defies logic, science, and facts.

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The example i provided showed Hodge had great arm strength as well as grip. Guys with long arms usually have lower bench press numbers that guys of the same weight with shorter arms. Same thing for squats shorter legs versus konger legs. Functional strength in wrestling is more the ability to pull than push. That is why i always tell kids don''t worry about the short stocky guy with huge arms. Worry about the guy with long arms and big hands. Hodge and other guys with that type of build are always being talked about as being stronger than they looked. The number of pullups and grip strength have usually translated as to who were the strongest wrestlers. The problem with the bench press is you are on your back, the one place a wrestler never wants to be.

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" Its a myth that gets perpetuated, based on no evidence other than him squeezing pieces of fruit."....."The fact is, Hodge would be outgunned by JC guys in todays era."

That's not dissing?

 

Those who claim superiority of the good old days are just as wrong as those claiming it for modern times. The "older group" does have the advantage of having seen, and in many cases have had the chance to roll with those of several eras. It doesn't make them right, but it does come from an informed perspective that youth won't achieve for a few more decades.

 

My previous citation of Hershel Walker was to demonstrate not the strongest NFL player, but to show push-ups, sit-ups, chins, sprints, etc can develop strength if rigorously practiced. Even to the point that in HS with first exposure to weights Hershel easily handled what "enhanced" NFL prospects use for combine evaluation.

 

I would like to hear what you think are the parameters for wrestling strength, how you would measure them, and why you chose them. I've always suggested not emphasizing any particular area unless there is an obvious weakness, except working on grip. It's often neglected even though its important in all positions, and you can never have too much grip strength.

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