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The Text Book of Weightlifting

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"The feat of holding up a genuine 300 lb. barbell with two heavy men seated thereon and at the same time supporting upon the feet a long heavy plank with about a dozen men clutching each other for safety upon that insecure seat was most impressive, and everything was done with such ease and lack of effort I felt astounded. I made up my mind to make this superman's acquaintance.

This I was shortly after enabled to do through the editor of a physical culture magazine commissioning me to visit the Brand Music Hall, Clapham, and take with me a scale with which to test Saxon's claim that he was raising 300 lbs. overhead single handed twice nightly.

The Saxons had no inkling of my intended visit but I was pleased to find that they placed no obstacles whatever in my way; they seemed only too glad to believe that at last something was being done to establish their claims. ...This was because at the time it was quite customary for so-called strongmen to outrageously exaggerate their lifts, one 10 stone (140 lb) lifter calmly claiming a Bent Press of 336 lbs. whilst the bell probably weighed only 140 lbs. or so. ...

Once, indeed, at Battersea, the card read 286 lbs., but the bell, of course, was a good 300 as usual. Asked what this meant, Arthur, to my surprise, said, "We have lost the 300 lbs. card and they cost money, but we have a nice 286 lbs. card." Such behavior had never been known in the lifting world before. ... Thus the Saxons had what others at that time lacked - the method of daily hard work which has got the champions of today where they are. But in this system they stood alone, others did as little as possible and the general standard of lifting was low at the time.

I am often asked about Saxon's measurements and his best lifts. They were as follows:

Height, 5ft. 10ins.; Weight, 200 lbs.; Neck, 17; Biceps, 17; Forearm, 14½; Chest 44; Thigh, 24; Calf, 16; Wrist, 8 ½.

His best lift was, of course, the Bent Press, or a Two Hands Anyhow with Barbell and Ringweight, the barbell to be pressed single handed and not jerked and changed to one hand (the style which I introduced for the first time in my match with Aston). Arthur Saxon's British record was 336 lbs. Bent Press and 411 lbs. Barbell and Ringweight. These were performed in strict conditions. He always seemed capable to me of doing substantially more but was never lucky when the attempts were made." - Thomas Inch

The Text Book of Weightlifting

Authored by Arthur Saxon

"To my mind, every man should devote at least some small attention to Weight-lifting. I don't think that I have come to this conclusion simply because I myself have gained some distinction as a weight- lifter, but rather for the reasons set forth below. First of all, why does a man learn to box ? Well, because it is asserted that every man should learn how to defend himself in case of necessity. A good and sufficient reason, you will say. The same may also be put forward as an excuse for learning wrestling and ju-jutsu no doubt, but I am inclined to fancy that the noble art would possibly be more useful than either. As to fencing, club-swinging, etc., I know no reason for their practice except it be that of pleasure or a desire for physical exercise, which said reasons may be equally advanced for Weight-lifting, which it will, I think, be further readily admitted is the most sure and certain means of developing strength -a quality which would be most undeniably useful in any means of self-defence. Now, beside all this, every man in every walk of life is certain, sooner or later, to be confronted with a heavy object, bulky or otherwise, which he strongly desires to lift". - Arthur Saxon

This is an original version, restored and re-formatted edition of Saxon's 1910 classic. Visit our website and see our many books at

Publication Date:
1466466251 / 9781466466258
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
5.5" x 8.5"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Health & Fitness / Exercise

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