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JohnnyThompsonnum1

Strongest wrestlers

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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

 

I remember seeing Tatum on campus. Looked like he was made out of steel.

 

What Bob says about not competing against top black and hispanic athletes may be true, but you can only face who's available and let history decide.

 

The greatest will always prevail, be it Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Babe Ruth, Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Dan Hodge or Dan Gable.

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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

 

I was told the same thing about Askren's weight lifting strength a few weeks ago. He just knew how to use his body to exhibit power.

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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?

 

I would not consider that an insult. If you look at any Olympic level sport, you have modern era kids in highschool that are putting up stats and numbers that blow away those of the early to mid 1900's. Thats in every single sport. To me, there is no shame or insult to athletes of previous eras that are getting outclassed by stats of those of today.

 

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.

 

I would use the battery of tests that we used to determine strength at the Olympic Training Center which included:

 

Deadlift - 1 rep max

Cleans - 1 rep max

Squat - 1 rep max

Static holds - 2x BW for distance

High jump - without gather step

Broad jump - distance

Pull ups - to failure, kipping allowed

UBE Ergometer (arm bike) - standing, total watts in 30 seconds

 

These are what we were tested in before setting up individual training programs. All of this info was recorded and then averaged into categories by weight (World Level, National Level, Good, Average, Poor) We had numbers in most of these from the USSR wrestlers as well. I agreed with all of these as good measures of strength for a few reasons: The were real numbers that could be measured and quantified. They did not require much technique. Positioning would not skew numbers. They accounted for all motor skills that would be present in a wrestling match so they were relevant tests.

 

It is my opinion that 3rd party accounts of "how someone felt" is a very poor way to determine strength. It is almost impossible to differentiate by feel the differences between muscular strength, speed, agility, leverage, fatigue, and positioning. This is why people such as Ben Askren, Hershel Walker, Dan Hodge, John smith, or Bouvaisar Satiev would be described as freakishly strong, when more likely than not, the case would be that they had superior positioning, timing, or leverage.

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Years ago when Dave Schultz was training at Foxcatcher, he told me the strongest wrestler lb for lb that he knew was Valentin Jordanov, multi-World Champion & 96 Olympic Champ, who was also training at Foxcatcher. When you watch some of his matches, you marvel at how this guy could be so good; believe me it was NOT his technique on his feet (horrible shots), but his incredible strength, especially evidenced by his par terre (best ever IMO) This is why I feel strength is the most important component in the sport. One simple question, can a HS 5th place finisher from Pa beat a Japanese woman wrestler, multi-World champ, who weighs the same?

I would bet he dominates 10 of 10 matches, on strength alone.

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I found in wrestling that the guys who looked like Mr Olympia competitors usually weren't at my strength level (and I never looked as muscular as those guys). Look at Dake...he's in great shape obviously and he isn't a muscleman by any stretch of the word, but I doubt anybody out there thinks Dake isn't one of the strongest wrestlers at his weight. There is a difference between "weightlifting strength" and natural strength. There is something to be said for natural strength developed through hard work on a farm (or elsewhere) over the course of many years, versus muscle gained from lifting weights.

 

Anybody who thinks one needs to lift weights to have great physical strength is just ignorant on the matter of strength.

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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

 

I was told the same thing about Askren's weight lifting strength a few weeks ago. He just knew how to use his body to exhibit power.

 

I find it extremely difficult to believe Askren could barely bench his own weight.

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At a wrestling camp I attended quite a few years ago, one of the coaches talked to everybody about how he wrestled a guy who could bend pliers with his bare hands. He didn't believe the stories... until after he wrestled him. Then he simply couldn't believe how strong he was. There are ways to counter hand strength - and that's what he was trying to coach us. Good stuff, but later after practice he admitted, none of the counters were that helpful against Hodge who beat him handily.

 

Hodge was a beast - hand strength was the tip of the iceberg.

 

Reminds me of guys posting a few years ago when Cael went undefeated for 4 years. Obviously as amazing as it gets. Then the random bozo posts started claiming that Gable didn't even belong in the same conversation, and John Smith's credentials put him at least 2 levels below. All kinds of nonsense.

 

If some self-important jerk wants to claim Hodge is no better than JUCO of today... he's just a troll.

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witnessed a guy named Joe Ladnier bench 430 pounds for 8 reps, when Joe was 19 years old. He wasn't a wrestler, we brought him to our school to demonstrate so our athletes would get fired up about lifting. he weighed prob. about 240- 8 reps at 430 would prob. put him at about a 515 single- it was fascinating to watch.

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I would use the battery of tests that we used to determine strength at the Olympic Training Center which included:

 

Deadlift - 1 rep max

Cleans - 1 rep max

Squat - 1 rep max

Static holds - 2x BW for distance

High jump - without gather step

Broad jump - distance

Pull ups - to failure, kipping allowed

UBE Ergometer (arm bike) - standing, total watts in 30 seconds

 

These are what we were tested in before setting up individual training programs. All of this info was recorded and then averaged into categories by weight (World Level, National Level, Good, Average, Poor) We had numbers in most of these from the USSR wrestlers as well. I agreed with all of these as good measures of strength for a few reasons: The were real numbers that could be measured and quantified. They did not require much technique. Positioning would not skew numbers. They accounted for all motor skills that would be present in a wrestling match so they were relevant tests.

 

Did you happen to hold onto any of this info? I'd be really interested in seeing the results for the various categories.

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Olddirty says: "It is my opinion that 3rd party accounts of "how someone felt" is a very poor way to determine strength."

 

I say: how someone feels as an opponent is the only important measure of "strength" in a wrestling match. "superior positioning, timing, or leverage" etc. are all ingredients that make up wrestling strength. I don't care if someone is measurably stronger if they are unable to apply it as effectively as someone someone a bit "measurably" weaker.

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dirty,

 

Hate to say this man but you're just jaded and mad you never got to the top. You are/were a very good wrestler but your attitude sucks sometimes. You say well we've had all kinds of advances since Danny Hodge wrestled, well how much stronger or better would Hodge be if he had the same things at his disposal that we have now? I don't know of any current wrestlers who can duplicate what Hodge can do now. Maybe he was onto something as far as strength training. But to say JC wrestlers now would blow through him shows a complete lack of disrespect and or ignorance.

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What is this? Do you have a video link?

It is basically a farmers walk with dumbells. We had fat bars and sloshpipes but never used them for testing as you could not change the weight

 

 

Did you happen to hold onto any of this info? I'd be really interested in seeing the results for the various categories.

 

Yes, I still have them, although they havent been updated since 2011 throught the database. Also, there is no distinction between Soviet numbers and American. What weight class did you want?

 

You say well we've had all kinds of advances since Danny Hodge wrestled, well how much stronger or better would Hodge be if he had the same things at his disposal that we have now? I don't know of any current wrestlers who can duplicate what Hodge can do now. Maybe he was onto something as far as strength training. But to say JC wrestlers now would blow through him shows a complete lack of disrespect and or ignorance.

 

The question wasnt how good old timers would have been with modern technology, science, and education. The question was who is the strongest of all time.

 

Anyone with a degree in sport science is going to agree with me: There is no way athletes from 60 years ago are as strong as the ones of today. Look at all of the records: The mens Olympic champs of 1956 cant put up the same numbers as many FEMALE athletes of today. Take the Olympic weightlifting. The year Dan Hodge took 2nd in the Olympics, 2 lift total at his weight was 290kg. The mens Olympic Champ in 1956 would have taken 3rd place in last Olympics women's division at the same weight and dead last in the men's competition. The only people that are ignorant are the ones that think athletes from 60 years ago are as fast and strong as the ones today.

 

*edited for a more fair comparison in weights*

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As for the strongest wrestler of all time there have been so many and it is probably someone not mentioned I won't even begin to take a stab at that.

 

there have been many great points made and coming from a background in exercise and human physiology I keep hearing people talk about weight lifting strength vs natural strength ect. This is true to some degree but often misunderstood because the trainging people are doing is simply not ideal for the sport they are training for.

 

You will see an individual bench or deadlift a stupid amount of weight but then get handled by a much lesser in appearance wrestler and say something to the effect "he has natural strength or farm strength" often to much emphasis is put on certain lifts such as a bench press or squat. These are great lifts and should be included in anyones program. What we don't often focus enough on however are all the functional and power movements or lactic acid threshold. I could type for an hour on physiology behind developing type 2 and slow twitch muscle fibers as well as training all the small supporting muscle groups. Genetics do play a major factor and some people have a higher genetic potential than others but everyone would be a better athlete with strength training and many athletes are not devoting enough attention to what is going to make them a better wrestler. A 500lb bench press although fun to watch does little in a wrestling match but a high lactic acid threshold grip and core strength will make you a much better wrestler.

 

In summary natural or farm strength is often confused with simply having a higher genetic potential or a higher starting point if you throw hay bales all day you have strength trained your core legs and grip over and over and inadvertainly trained areas that translate into wrestling more than the guy who was in a gym all day. Conversly if the guy in the gym all day where training the proper skill set to become a wrestler he would have a definate advantage over the guy lifting hay or only gaining strength through wrestling activities. Some people are simply blessed with body awareness and strength but to compare them as the strongest of all time is probably not a fair statement as science clearly gives the upper hand to those who strength train and often common strength training feats aka big bench press huge biceps do little to make you a better wrestler.

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To all the Farm boys ..... Either alfalfa, of grass hay, plus post hole diggers, and breaking Horses and Cattle to lead ... produces a grip like no other !! Something to be said about Natural/Farm type strength.

 

Particularly when you are 5'3" and about 112# ... (me) ... tossing 60# to 110# hay bales.

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To all the Farm boys ..... Either alfalfa, of grass hay, plus post hole diggers, and breaking Horses and Cattle to lead ... produces a grip like no other !! Something to be said about Natural/Farm type strength.

 

Particularly when you are 5'3" and about 112# ... (me) ... tossing 60# to 110# hay bales.

 

Let's hear it for the farm boys!

 

 

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1 ... 30,2217799

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I've tossed 1,100 bales daily during the summer, but the most physically demanding thing i've done is shovel wet concrete from one end to the other in a basement. The subfloor was in and the truck couldn't pour except at the front. Try standing in boots, in wet concrete and shoveling for 2-3 hours. I've had guys tell me i have a Hodge type grip. I tell them no, i could leave fingerprints on the apple, he crushed it instantly.

 

In 1973 Stan Abel had a small group over to his house after a dual. He brings out a big beach towel and tosses an apple to Hodge. He said crush the apple Danny. I had never seen him do this before, so i thought this will take awhile. He squeezed and the apple completely disintergrated, juice splattered onto a wall about 8 feet away. No other person i've been around could do that. Last spring I went to his house in Perry to take pictures of him crushing an apple he crushed it but it took awhile (two weeks later he had his 80th birthday).

 

I always told kids i've coached don't worry about the stocky guys with thick biceps. Worry about the guys with long arms and big hands. Many of the measurements of strength do not translate to being a good wrestler. The number of pullups, grip strength, and squats are the only ones that translate well in my opinion. You regularly hear guys say he's a lot stronger than he looks. I heard to those comments were said commonly about Hodge, and about Cael Sanderson. I got to watch Cael up close at a dual at ASU, his quickness was very evident, but i could tell he was immensely strong when he easily pulled his opponent back to the center of the mat.

 

Being able to handle the same weight for 6-8 minutes in a variety of positions is vastly different from lifting weights in a gym. Gable is primarily responsible for weight training on a regular basis. The Russians don't do much actual weight lifting for wrestling, but do a lot of bodybweight resistance exercises.

 

I'll agree that there are wrestlers today who in a weight lifting contest would be stronger than someone 60 years ago. Of course onecthing Old Dirty is forgetting the old timers cut a lot more weight, so when the last day of a tournament they were 15-20 pounds over flat weight. Maybe that was why they felt so strong. Hodge cut to 177 because the next weight up was Unlimited Hwt.

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I'll add a couple more to the Hodge lore.

 

The 3/4 nelson is illegal in freestyle wrestling because of Danny Hodge. In the 1956 Olympics after being royally screwed in his first match of the round robin, his last match was against a Soviet wrestler. The matches then were 15 minutes long. There was 3 minutes of forced par terre, if you scored a reversal you got the point, but then had go back to the bottom position. So guys wouldn't flatten out because you aren't going to be successful for 3 minutes on bottom doing that. Hodge hooked up the 3/4 nelson, the Soviet was resisting, guys who were in the stands said you could hear the vertebrae popping. He pinned the Soviet. Afterwards the Soviets got the 3/4 nelson to be rule an inhumane hold, and it has been banned since then. Danny told me he could have pulled the Soviet under without hooking the leg.

 

Port Robertson was Hodge's college coach and a very strong physical person, I know first hand. Port weighed about 220 and was very solid. He told me that he was wrestling with Danny in practice one day and got put in a bearhug. Port said he told Danny he was huriting him. Danny thought he was kidding and squeezed a little harder. Port said he could feel his ribs caving in, he couldn't breath or talk. So he doubled up both fists and hit Danny on both sides of his head at the same time to get him let go. He said that was the last time he wrestled with Danny.

 

Both of those instances are not merely examples of a strong grip, but incredibly strong arm strength.

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I'm surprised LI Martin hasn't chimed in with this yet, but farm boys aren't the only ones with outsized strength. Clammers who use tongs are in the same group. Those guys will stand in their boat and use long tongs to rake through the bottom of the bay and pull out the clams. Makes for impressive upper body strength.

 

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Jake Varner in these discussions. None of his peers at the college level seemed to be able to break his grip.

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OD,

If you would have stated "in my opinion" this would not have been quite the issue. You are coming off, to me at least, as stating everything you say is fact and everything everyone else is saying against you is opinion. You did come back later and say it is your opinion.

As far as some of your points wouldn't you say the improved knowledge base (especially in regard to technique in particular) lead to some of the improvements over time? I have personally witnessed Hodge crush a pair of plyers and of course the apple as well. He did this at Sr Nat's in VA Beach some four or five years ago so he can still do that.

Weight lifting doesn't correlate to "strongest wrestler". This, to me, means a guy that is strongest when competing when wrestling. I'm not sure if that was the original posters implications however... JMO.

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sure modern top players --in general -- are stronger in some things that can be measured, like wt lifting. However there are certainly exceptions, that is why they are legends

 

HR balls that have been measured tell us Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle and Hank Greenburg and Jimmy Fox and Harmon Killebrew and Frank Howard among others could hit the baseball as far as even the strongest modern (steroid) players.

 

Bob Feller was the first pitcher, in the 1940's, to be measured at 100 mph, though others like Walter Johnson perhaps could do it too. The famed Steve Carlton slider?? he developed his strength by puting a baseball in a bucket or barrell full of sand then burrowing in to pull it out. U wanna talk grip-strength?

 

Russ Hellickson was ox-strong, he told me about his own self-developed training methods, pick up a boulder, run with it 20 yards, put it down, pick it up again run back 20 yards, do this drill until u almost drop.

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