Michael Pearman — Strongman Hairstylist (1959)

British Weightlifter Michael Pearman appears in this 1959 profile vignette, from the archives of the British Pathé Youtube channel. This somewhat whimsical profile shows how, at the time, Pearman was developing skills in two separate and unrelated fields: as an Olympic weightlifter, and as a ladies’ hairdresser. Yes, strength is for everybody!

After this, Pearman participated in a number of international weightlifting competitions, and he represented Great Britain as part of the weightlifting team at the Olympic Games in 1964, 1968, and 1972. He would go on to become a weightlifting coach, including as chief coach to the British weightlifters at the 2001 world championships in Antalya, Turkey, and as head coach to the English squads at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. He currently coaches the weightlifting club at Brunel University London.

It is unknown whether Pearman has kept up his skills as a ladies’ hairstylist over the years.

This video also highlights changing attitudes toward weight training for athletes. Continue reading

Training on the Olympic Lifts – Doug Hepburn (1962)

As indicated in a previous post featuring the Polish weightlifting team in the 1970s, here is some Olympic weightlifting training advice from the classic years of the iron game. The article below was written by Doug Hepburn for the February-March 1962 issue of “Iron Man.” Hepburn was a champion weightlifter and former wrestler from Canada who moved tremendous weights in the Olympic lifts as well as “odd lifts” that would soon be subsumed into competitive powerlifting once that field was formalized. He was also a prolific writer in the 1950s and 1960s, dispensing useful and practical training advice to lifters everywhere by means of his magazine articles, such as the one featured here.

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A photograph of Hepburn that accompanied the excerpt below. Click to enlarge (opens in new window/tab).

In the article below, Hepburn stressed the importance of setting realistic goals, as well as developing correct technique rather than trying to rely solely on pure strength.

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Polish weightlifting team in training (Late 1970s)

Today we present some outstanding vintage documentary footage of Eastern European strength training, showing the Polish weightlifting team’s exercise regimen. During the Cold War era, Eastern European countries tended to dominate in international strength sports competitions. This video is a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into their training methods. The video reel, posted on the “Goodfoot101” Youtube channel, appears to be from the late 1970s, as it includes footage from the 1977 World Weightlifting Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. While somewhat outside the particular era generally covered here at FOUNDATIONS OF IRON, this is still a great showcase of old-school strength training.

As seen in this vintage footage, training for Olympic-style lifting involves much more than simply practicing the Olympic lifts themselves. Continue reading

Tommy Kono performing winning Olympic lifts (1958)

In this video footage from the 1958 World Weightlifting Championships in Stockholm, Sweden, posted on the “John Phung” Youtube channel, Tommy Kono of Sacramento, CA, USA performed winning Olympic-style lifts including a world-record snatch of 133.5 kg (294.3 lbs), taking home the top prize in the middleweight division.

By this time, Kono had also established himself as a physique champion with one Mr. World and two Mr. Universe titles in addition to his weightlifting awards. Continue reading