Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
JohnnyThompsonnum1

Strongest wrestlers

Recommended Posts

I'm curious....where have you heard Hodge was the "strongest wrestler of all time"? I've never heard that about Hodge. I've seen many references that Hodge had insane strength, but never anything that claimed he was the strongest. In fact, I think the strongest would almost certainly have to be a heavyweight in the modern era.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe Hodge is considered one of if not the strongest (by most on this thread anyway) in a p4p or in comparison to other wrestlers in the day... there's no doubt IMO that modern heavy's would put up more raw numbers in the weight room than anyone else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Obviously, but the question is plural, not singular. I assume the OP was wondering about wrestling strength compared to opponents, i.e. a number of candidates could qualify for consideration regardless of size. Ant proportionally way stronger than elephant, the reverse true for gross lifting ability, etc I don't think was the question. If it was then the answer is either a 118lbr, or a Hwt. from the era of the unlimited class.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Obviously, but the question is plural, not singular. I assume the OP was wondering about wrestling strength compared to opponents, i.e. a number of candidates could qualify for consideration regardless of size. Ant proportionally way stronger than elephant, the reverse true for gross lifting ability, etc I don't think was the question. If it was then the answer is either a 118lbr, or a Hwt. from the era of the unlimited class.

 

I just love hearing stories and a topic like this, as already proven, provides me with tons of them. What you say has a lot of truth to it. Pound for pound the strongest guy on my high school team, was a 125 lber. He could bench press 275. The overall strongest guy on our team was our 160-189 pounder who was just stronger than all get out. He wasn't very tall and a lot of guys who were taller mistook his shortness as him not being very strong. Can't tell you how many guys he grabbed by the head and whipped over to their back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll add that this is a very subjective subject that people are trying to make objective. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Dan Gable in the discussion yet. Certain techniques require a vast amount of brute strength vs other techniques. Gable had probably the best bar arm series the sport has ever seen, and he seemed to often lock them up with ease. That takes a lot of strength.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I warched Gable's top series for the first time this spring. I was in the Army and didn't get to see him wrestle until the 1970 Big 8. Gable had the great endurance and strong lean muscles. What surprised me about his arm bars (chicken wings to us in Oklahoma) is he locked them below the elbow. Thus he wasn't fighting the biceps. Pound for pound Gable was very strong, but i don't think as strong as Hodge. Gablr could go forever without getting tired. Tommy Evans was the same way. Both had resting heartbeats in the mid 40s, while being very strong, their trump card was being able to wrestle at a fast pace for an entire match. I'd watch Tommy Evans workout with Wayne Wells everyday in the spring of 1972. I would swear that after 15 minutes Tommy would start beating Wayne. At the Olympic training camp Wells and Gable would go at it, Gable would start to win after 15 minutes, but he was 20 years younger than Evans.

 

I guess the next topic is the Best Conditioned Wrestlers, or those with the greatest endurance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gable --

 

I would be amazed if Gable were to say he was strong -- compared to the strongest.

 

I will say this -- and I think both Gable and I subscribed to this philosophy:

 

at least in our time -- nobody could wear opponents out - mentally, before the match -- like Dan. And nobody could wear opponents out during the match like Dan.

 

When I wrestled, there were only a few who felt at all strong in the last couple minutes of the match to me. That made it a 100 times easier to work any move on them -- as I had already exhausted them.

 

Frankly, once I saw my opponents put their hands on their knees or lock their hands on their heads while standing there before the ref blew the whistle, I knew they were no longer "strong" -- if you know what I mean -- and made me then twice as strong -- as I wanted them to notice that I was in constant motion, excited to get back inot the action (even if I didn't feel that way totally).

 

ONe thing I would advise for kids who aren't quite as good is get in such good shape that you can wear your opponents down, so that their strength (or skill or whatever) can be nuetralized. Press them constantly -- shoot every 10 seconds at least and never stop motion on the bottom. Then even if you are behind 5 or 6 points, you can easily make it up in the last couple of minutes. I did that lots of times with guys who were better than I.

 

Some people could say that these days all wrestlers are in better shape, so you can't wear them down -- maybe -- but I don't think so from what I see.

 

Best -

 

DA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Someone spoke of Greg Gibson's strength (he and Mark Schultz had the best gut wrenches in the US). In Bucharest 1982, after a 1.5 hr workout training for a Romanian Inv. meet, Greg jumped up on a pull-up bar and knocked out 30 perfect pull-ups. What amazed me was that he'd worked hard in practice with Chaid and others, and with no rest like a machine does 30 and then quits, not because he couldn't do any more (which he clearly could have), but that was just his finishing workout routine. He may be the closest American to ever win all 3 World titles-2nd in Freestyle-1981; 2nd Greco- yr ?; 1st in Sambo- yr ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at some

STRONG wrestlers.

 

By Mike Chapman

 

Let's talk strong. I mean, really STRONG. Most folks not closely associated with amateur wrestling believe wrestling is a sport where strength is king ... that the strongest guy on the mat will invariably win. Of course, real fans know that is far from the case. Such factors as skill, endurance, quickness and dedication are more important in a match than brute strength.

 

Still, strength is an important element of wrestling success. If one has skill, endurance and determination, then strength is a tremendous asset.

 

I've always been fascinated by feats of strength. I have been a serious weight trainer for nearly 30 years, and enjoy swapping stories with other wrestling fans about the great feats of strength I have seen, or heard of.

 

My first impression of great wresting strength came as a senior in high school in Waterloo, Iowa, way back in 1962. I saw Oklahoma State for the first time, and was awestruck by the presence of two Cowboys in particular. At 157 was Phil Kinyon, a marvelous physical specimen. Phil won the NCAA title at 157 pounds as a sophomore in 1961, and was runner-up the next two years. At 191 that year, was the sensational Joe James, sporting a physique that almost defies description. Both Kinyon and James were lean and rippling with muscle. Like anatomy charts. It wasn't until year later that I learned that both Kinyon and James could do ONE-HAND CHINS. Pure one-hand chins, with one arm firmly behind the back. I have talked to men who swear he could do three or four chins with either hand, and that Joe could do two with one hand ... at a bodyweight of 210 pounds (he was NCAA heavyweight champ in 1964). Amazing!

 

(cont)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the most powerful wrestlers of the late 1960s was Jim Duschen, who wrestled at 190 pounds and heavyweight for Iowa State. Jim sported a very impressive set of arms. Jim, also from Waterloo and one of my best friends, used to shock people when told them he didn't practically live in a weight room, so big were his muscles. But Jim only lifted weights for fun in those years, and was a push-up devotee. At a bodyweight of 210 pounds, Jim could drop down and whip off 150 or so pushups at any time.

 

Jim told me he once saw Chris Taylor, the 450-pound Cyclone star who died in 1979, pull a 135-pound barbell off a rack, and press it overhead five times-- with ONE HAND.

 

Chris never spent much time in a weight room, but had tremendous raw natural power. Obviously!

 

But Jim says one of the strongest men he ever met was North Dakota State's Brad Rheingans, who was a Division II national champion and won several Greco-Roman national titles, as well.

 

Two extremely powerful heavyweights of the 1960s and 1970s were Larry Kristoff of Southern Illinois and Greg Wojciechowski of Toledo, by all accounts. Kristoff had immense natural strength, and at his peak was one of America's best ever. Greg was

a reputed 450-pound bench presser when winning the NCAA title in 1971.

 

Frank Santana was a powerhouse at lowa State in the late 1970s. He reportedly could seat press 300 pounds on a weight machine when wrestling at 190, and bench press close to 400 pounds!

 

(continued)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The man many wrestlers feel is the strongest in recent years is Mark Johnson, assistant coach at Iowa. A two-time NCAA runnerup at Michigan and a member of the 1980 Olympic team in Greco-Roman, Johnson has trained with weights seriously for years and has won major physique meets.

 

Mark has benched well over 400 pounds, despite weighing less than half that. But his greatest strength is in his biceps. Mark has curled 250 pounds for ten reps, a mind-boggling feat that even Lou Ferrigno (of Incredible Hulk fame) admitted to me that he could not do, at a bodyweight of 270 pounds!

 

There were a number of wrestlers in the late 1940s and early 1950s noted for their strength, among them Bill Nelson and Bill Weick of Iowa State Teachers College. Nelson was a three-time NCAA champion, while Weick was a two-timer. Both are reputed to have hand grips of iron. But the undisputed king of grip, according to almost any source, is the legendary Dan Hodge.

 

Hodge won three NCAA titles for Oklahoma at 177 pounds in 1955, '56, and ’57. Not only was he unbeaten in college, Dan was never even taken down ONCE. His .736 pinning percentage is the highest in history for a three-year career. Stories of Hodge twisting the handles of pliers, crushing apples and twisting the hands off water faucets in the shower are legendary. I have witnessed the apple crushing on a number of occasions myself.

 

A list of exceptionally strong wrestlers would have to include Pete Blair, two-time NCAA champ at 190 pounds for the Naval Academy. Hodge once told me Blair was the strongest man he ever faced, and that's a pretty solid endorsement.

 

(continued)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another Sooner three-time NCAA champion, Mark Schultz, was a great chinner. Mark, also winner of three world titles (including one Olympics), could do 55 chins with a slight knee kick, and 35 from a dead hang. That's tremendous biceps strength for a guy who weighed around 190.

 

Former Iowa Stat wrestler Bob Antonacci earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for his pushup exploits in 1979.

Antonacci, a two-time All-American at 126, cranked out an astonishing 1630 pushups in 30 minutes!

 

"It was official," said Antonacci recently. Guinness people were there, and media and lots of fans. "It was tough work, and all pure psych the last 15 minutes. My chest was pumped so tight I thought it would pop."

 

Antonacci used to work summer camps, and earn extra bucks by betting campers he could do 1,000 pushups in 30 minutes.

When he found out the world record was 1,602 in 30 minutes, he went for it.

 

(continued)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps the strongest wrestler who ever lived was an Estonian, who competed in amateur Greco-Roman meets in Russia at the turn of the century, always winning. At the tender age of 20, George Hackenschmidt set several world records.

 

Using a crude barbell without revolving sleeves (which really helps lift more weight), Hackenschmidt could throw 198 pounds overhead with ONE HAND, in a move now known as the snatch. He also performed a bent press (bending over at the waist for increased leverage) of 270 pounds ... with ONE HAND.

 

Hackenschmidt had a marvelous physique, with huge biceps and a stomach like a washboard. At 21, Hackenschmidt was credited with the following lifts: a 350-pound clean and jerk, a 280-pound standing press, and a ONE HAND dead lift of 660 pounds. He weighed 202 at the time of these lifts.

 

Can you imagine any collegiate wrestler with that type of strength today? The 350-pound clean and jerk on that old style barbell would translate to nearly 400 pounds today.

 

But his pet move was to get in a wrestler's bridge on his neck, grab a barbell, pull it up to his chest, then ram it overhead ... a pullover-bench press on his neck. His record in that lift? A mere 335 pounds.

 

(continued)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because of his great strength and physique, Hackenschmidt was in tremendous demand as a wrestler. Winning all the Russian amateur meets, he turned pro and by the age of25 was earning $1,200 a week (this was in 1905, remember). Known as The Russian Lion, he was the acknowledged heavyweight champion of the world from 1904-1908, when the sport was the real thing. He recorded over 400 straight victories, with most of his wins coming in less than ten minutes time.

 

Hackenschmidt retired from wrestling in 1913, and toured the world. He was fluent in seven languages, and wrote a number of books, mostly philosophical in nature. He trained with weights all his life, until his death at the age of 87.

 

In 1983, I asked Ivan Yarigin, two-time Olympic champion and longtime Soviet coach, if he knew of The Russian Lion. His eyes widened, and he stared intensely at me. "How do you know about George Hackenschmidt?" he asked me, through an interpreter. "He was one of my heroes."

 

To a Soviet sports historian, the name Hackenschmidt is similar in impact to Jim Thorpe in America. There is a nice photo of him in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, OK.

 

I don't know if he could crush apples, do one-hand chins, curl 250 pounds ten times or do 1,630 pushups in 30 minutes ... but George Hackenschmidt is probably the strongest wrestler who ever lived.

 

END

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Renowned professional wrestling broadcaster Jim Ross has told quite a few "being on the road with Danny Hodge" stories from the time he spent with him in the 1960's. He said that once Hodge got into a car accident where he crashed into a body of water (not sure if it was a lake or a pond). Hodge had broken his neck, yet was still able to hold his neck in place and swim, then walk himself to safety. He also tells other stories of how Hodge was often challenged in feats of strength and how he'd never lose an arm wrestling match or a mercy. In terms of overall strength, not sure where to rank Hodge. In terms of grip, I'd say he's the best in the world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Renowned professional wrestling broadcaster Jim Ross has told quite a few "being on the road with Danny Hodge" stories from the time he spent with him in the 1960's. He said that once Hodge got into a car accident where he crashed into a body of water (not sure if it was a lake or a pond). Hodge had broken his neck, yet was still able to hold his neck in place and swim, then walk himself to safety. He also tells other stories of how Hodge was often challenged in feats of strength and how he'd never lose an arm wrestling match or a mercy. In terms of overall strength, not sure where to rank Hodge. In terms of grip, I'd say he's the best in the world.

 

I wonder if Hodge could close a Captains of Crush No.4 gripper in his prime. Only five guys in the world can do it. One of them is Magnus Samuelsson. It'd be interesting to see which level he could get up to today...

 

http://www.ironmind.com/ironmind/opencm ... rush4.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

George Hackenschmidt is tremendous answer....but in doing my studies on wrestling at OSU ( I had to give a long oral history and show techniques, etc to a group of Ohio States best athletes in all sports, including great football players and Nick Swisher, an OSU baseball player at the time.), I found that the answer to this question is easy: Hercules.

 

An acknowledged God/ child of a god wrestled and defeated all that opposed him. I am very barely kidding on this as my answer. He is the one we should all look up to. Hercules would crush Cael Sanderson, Kyle Dake, Mark Schultz, etc.

 

Mortal men it becomes harder, and I am a subscriber to the training now being better, yet not necessarily carrying over to wrestling. bench press never ever is a motion used in wrestling. A standing bench press with no support behind one's back, which is far far far harder and much more wrestling like. We are stronger, and our science is better, yet we are babied compared to older generations, and I believe factors like this cancel each other out.

 

From my neck of the woods Mark Coleman was a darn freak. He didn't look as muscular and roid-y in college and could still lift insane amounts. He may be the strongest OSU wrestler I can think of, with Stieber up there, and also Dunyasha Yetts, who looked like a shortened Randleman and gave Kolat and Fried and Abas all they could handle. His strength was explosive: one second you felt your strength was pretty close, the next you were catapulted by him.

 

Also I am going out on a limb and saying former NFL player and wrestler Lorenzo Neal was probably pretty strong. Just a limb.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Someone spoke of Greg Gibson's strength (he and Mark Schultz had the best gut wrenches in the US). In Bucharest 1982, after a 1.5 hr workout training for a Romanian Inv. meet, Greg jumped up on a pull-up bar and knocked out 30 perfect pull-ups. What amazed me was that he'd worked hard in practice with Chaid and others, and with no rest like a machine does 30 and then quits, not because he couldn't do any more (which he clearly could have), but that was just his finishing workout routine. He may be the closest American to ever win all 3 World titles-2nd in Freestyle-1981; 2nd Greco- yr ?; 1st in Sambo- yr ?

 

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/ ... /index.htm

 

"While Kemp was marveling at Gibson's exceptional gut wrench—the move itself isn't rare, but Gibson's skill in executing it is—other wrestlers and coaches were awed by his mere physical presence. The 6'3" Gibson is built along the lines of former heavyweight boxing champion—and ex-Marine—Ken Norton. Gibson has a 31-inch waist, an upper torso that appears to be twice that big around and, in the words of the 170-pound Dziedzic, "arms bigger than my legs." One referee said Gibson "looks like somebody's statue." Such is Gibson's athletic ability that he both wrestled and started at defensive tackle for two years at the University of Oregon and later had tryouts with three NFL teams, the Sea-hawks, 49ers and Eagles. He runs a 4.7 40 and dead-lifts 600 pounds. And while at Marine boot camp in San Diego in 1978. he set an obstacle-course record that still stands. "The old record was about 60 seconds," he says. "I think my time was 45."

 

A very strong guy. However, it's interesting how he meets his match strengthwise against Mike Evans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

lets look at the record book-- according to article by wresting historian Jay Hammond in Jan 6, 2006 AWN: Dan Hodge 1955-57 at U of Oklahoma, career record 46 & 0---yes only forty six matches total in a 3 season career.

 

im not doubting the great Dan Hodge ability, theres a lot of ancedotal stories here-- however i conclude the challenge back then was not what it is in more recent times when its common for top wrestlers to enter the NCAA tourn with about 30 matches already, in one season. And they are doing this for 4 years, projecting to over 100 matches in a college career, not counting open tourn.

 

also did White wrestlers in the 40s and 50s and 60s face the great Black wrestlers that we have competing today??? just asking, because i know in football and basketball whites did not face many of them head to head in that era. ...s/BobP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
lets look at the record book-- according to article by wresting historian Jay Hammond in Jan 6, 2006 AWN: Dan Hodge 1955-57 at U of Oklahoma, career record 46 & 0---yes only forty six matches total in a 3 season career.

 

im not doubting the great Dan Hodge ability, theres a lot of ancedotal stories here-- however i conclude the challenge back then was not what it is in more recent times when its common for top wrestlers to enter the NCAA tourn with about 30 matches already, in one season. And they are doing this for 4 years, projecting to over 100 matches in a college career, not counting open tourn.

 

also did White wrestlers in the 40s and 50s and 60s face the great Black wrestlers that we have competing today??? just asking, because i know in football and basketball whites did not face many of them head to head in that era. ...s/BobP

 

I'm not sure what this has to do with Hodge's strength? Anyway, Hodge wasn't just great against college competition, he pinned his way through freestyle and greco nationals in the same year while in college! He made his fist Olympic team at 19 years of age.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...