Montag, 14. Juli 2014

IRON AGE - John Grimek, the unbeaten hero of iron pumping.

Hey dear readers, here it is the third post of the IRON AGE posting series and with this the third post dedicated totally to Old School Bodybuilding and its heroes and champs up here on your dear "MANSLAUGHTER THUG LIFE" blog up on Blogspot. And so, here it is, the third post of this very posting series. We started  the IRON AGE posting series with a big post about the "History of Bodybuilding" from then to now, from its early and earliest beginnings to more or less our present days and age and that very post, the first IRON AGE one, also included a short and loose running order of the  topics of the posts of this posting series, at least the main posts. with tribute posts and what the hell may ever else added up to this. After this already just a few hours or a day or so later next up came a honour paying tribute post to the almighty Eugen Sandow, the godfather of modern Bodybuilding. And next up and this means now will be and is this very one up here, a honour paying tribute post to honour no one else than the great John Grimek, a if not the legendary Strongman and early modern Bodybuilder that dominated the 1930's and 1940's and that remained unbeaten his career over and became with this a legend and an icon of its very own, the man just known as Grimek!!! Personally one of THE three very BEST ever Bodybuilders of all times for/to me, clearly and without a single doubt, point and fact, and he is in the best community with Bill Pearl and Arnold Schwarzenegger being his solely comrades in this category. So, you see, something BIG and this means ONE of the BIGGEST is now coming finally at you, so pay respect and give honour to the almighty Grimek, and hopefully you'll enjoy the reading of this very post. And now really enough of this small talking introducing words, and now let us get into the roll of things...!!!




John Grimek (his full name was John Carroll Grimek) was born at the 17th of June in 1910, fifteen years before the founding father of modern Bodybuilding Eugen Sandow should die, in Perth Amboy, New Jersey/U.S.A. as a son to the Slovak immigrants George and Maria Grimek, who originally came or were from the village Ústienad Oravou in the western Slovakia, (Eastern) Europe. He was the man who dominated his era, the 1930's and 1940's, in such an impressive dominat way like it afterwards him only did Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lee Haney, Dorian Yates, and Ronnie Coleman. And he was something that even not many if anyhow anyone of the named ones had been: Unbeaten. And so, if you want to say it so, unrivaled in his days. And this was and is something not many can archieve, and it makes the big and great John Grimek even more stick out of the crowd of all the rest outta there (then and now). This alone gives him a place of his very own up here on this very blog and also and especially (maybe even more important) in the history of Bodybuilding as well as Iron Sports in general (and I'm pretty damn sure that this is more important, maybe just a little single bit, but definitely more important anyhow anyway...). And so here it is, the right and more than justified place for him up here, John Grimek, the (unbeaten and unrivaled) King of Muscles, and I will try to give you an insight view in his knowledge, try to display Grimeks wisdom and share it here and now with you, my dear interested readers. I will try to do this post a littlebit different then the usual posts paying tribute to Bodybuilders or other people/persons in general that I have done so far up here all more or less in a strict chronological biographical way to keep it fresh and shake it a little bit up right now. Okay, onward with this very article posting here and now.

John Grimek was sort of a prototype of an allround iron and strength athlete that moved between Bodybuilding, Strongmen, and Powerlifting whose first aim it was to build muscles to gain strength and I mean real strength and power and while doing so John Grimek sculpted his body in a impressive way and transformed through hard work one hell of an tremendous and- again- impressive physique. And that behind this muscular and aestehtic sculpted body a lot of power and impressive strength was hidden- okay, look at the pictures, as if John Grimek was anything hiding from the world, right...- Grimek proofed on many occasions, and this was all done through and through pure natural. (Unneccesary to say that also Eugen Sandow build his body through and through in a pure natural way.) John Grimek definitely gained and earned and worked his ass off to get it of the best developed bodies with the best ever physique in the history of our sport(s), if you need a proof just take a look at the pictures and keep in mind that this are shots from a now a days pretty long gone era, the 1930's and 1940's of the 20th century. (In a few years these pictures will be around one hundred years old.) He was one of a kind, a man of a category not many are able to reach to fit and fill in, he stands in one row with the likes of Eugen Sandow, Bill Pearl as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger. And like these three great ones if not greatest he was also not only a great athlete but also a great person beside the sports with a lot of emptahy, loyalty, love, trust, and altruism for his family, friends, fans, and fellow men in general. A real personality. A man with great muscles, but also by far greater beside his muscles. He was passionated and evoted, dedicated to the sport, but exactly the same way to his family  and friends and also his fans, too. With answering all the fan mail that was send to him personal in a time when stuff like Facebook, E-Mail, What's-App, Twitter, Instagram, and all this stuff weren't even dawning at the horizon shows alone what his fans meant to him. With working hard physical jobs to earn money to make his and his family's living beside heavy work outs and intense training and doing competitions and shows and being then also a loving and considerate father and husband tells even far more about what a great one John Grimek has been. Beside being a great if not the greatest athlete of his time, and this he surely and definitely was: the unrivaled and unbeaten greatest athlete of his time and one of the greatest ones overall, and being a emptahic father, husband, and fellow men in general, he was also a hard working blue collar working class man and also a author in several Bodybuilding and Fitness and Iron & Strength Sports magazines of his time, like for example for "Strength & Health", "Muscular Development", and also the infamous "MuscleMag" for and in which he had and wrote his legendary column "Grimeks wisdom".

Okay, after this general kept words to pay honour to him, the almighty and legendary John Grimek, it's now time to go deeper into his training, work outs, and also his nutrition and competition history. That leads us to something that puts him also equal to the likes of Eugen Sandow and Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as for example also Reg Park (to name another and probably more popular respectively better than John Grimek known Bodybuilding and Iron & Strength sports legend and icon of the great old days), and that was the fact that John Grimek used to train constantly very hard and even more heavier and incredible intense. This he did pretty much right from the start off in his early days as an iron pumping strength athlete. Not at least because the then very famous Bodybuilder and especially Strongman George F. Jowett, really also a true legend of his very own and one of the big old Greats (read here for more informations about him:; as well as here: you will find also more about and to him), gave him in his young aged days the good and friendly advice to work out and train as hard and intense and to lift and press and curl and squat as heavy as only anyhow anyway possible. And so John Grimek tried and succeed, conquered, and heavily convinced by it he stayed with and sticked true to it, and just take a look at the photos respectively pictures of him, John Grimek, and you will know that that was and is (and probably forever will be) the one and only true real deal. Convinced by it. Sticked with it. Today one might say: "Go hard or go home!" And surely also: "No pain, no gain!" So it was back then in the days of John Grimek, and so it remained over all the decades and so it is still today. But that's another story, I guess, and so back to the topic. George F. Jowett opened his incredible full box of work out wisdom and iron culture knowledge to John Grimek, and Grimek took some good healthy portions out of it and so he did for example use massive chains that were hanging from the ceiling of the work out premises and heavy 1.000 pounds weights for lifting work outs, first and foremost to get a good sense of touch for and of such ultra heavy weights, not at least so that later on in his work out and training practises the dumbbells and handles will feel much more easier to and for him, so that over short or long he would be able to lift more and more and heavier and heavier without his centrically nervous system would crush down under the enormous exposure, load, and stress caused by such ultra intense and über heavy work outs like John Grimek cultivated them back in his days. Beside this John Grimek also used to experiment with several different techniques, methods, and assistance stuff and mechanics from which he expected benefits for his work outs and the benefits he wanted to gain with and get out of them. In most cases this experiments ended sooner or later with broken chains and other things he used as instruments to push his work outs and with them himself further and father on ended up broken and destroyed. And even some of his work out techniques and training assistances might seem pretty quixotic and swashbuckling by looking at them from today on pretty much all of them had been very accurate anticipations of things to come, things that we know and use today, they were fetch-aheads of our modern work out techniques like for example the glorious Rack or Powerrack for practises with a retrenched loaded radius of animation movement or excercise. John Grimek really was full of wisdom and damn much ahead of his time, a true pioneer and a truly smart one and a really hard worker, too. And beside this all he was also a incredible empathic and apologetic fellow men with a big heart and a passionate soul and farseeing mind. And beside this also a intelligent analyst with all the consequences that result out of this. And this leads us to the next counterfoil of this tribute post.

John Grimek as the intelligent and thoughtful analyist that he was all of his life concentrated heavily on the analysis of the glorious demonstrations of strength and power that the old warhorses and well-reputated veterans of the iron sports of his days like Louis Cyr, Hermann Gröner, Warren Lincoln Travis, and his good friend Sig Klein (the man who made him known to and with dumbbells) once showed and demonstrated in a dominant way, and to gain wisdom and with this benefits for and an advantage for his work outs and with this his whole body, instead of doing weirds feasts of strength up on the stages of his time just to get the ordinary crowd going nuts and his ego being fondled. But once and only for this one time he started thinking back and forth to go on stage in one of this early Strongmen shows and compete with and against Warren Lincoln Travis (read right on here: - as well as here:; for more informations about him) who challenged him to a competition. But finally John Grimek turned the challenged offered to him down. He surely could beat Warren Lincoln Travis at nearly any part of the competition but the weight lifting with fingers and teeth simply were to weird and too dangerous in his perception, and this for many good and true and justified reasons, for sure. But his experience with hurting his fingers badly when he did finger weight lifting with 135 kilogram what caused a aback of his iron pumping training in general and the destiny of the back then very famous polish born early 20th century Strongman Joseph L. Greenstein a.k.a. "The Mighty Atom" (read here: - and/or also here:; if you want to know more about him) who totally ruined his health and especially his teeth and mouth with doing stuff like lifting weights and bending iron bars and biting nails in two halfs with them and was finally forced to eat nothing else than soup because he wasn't able to chomp anything else anymore in a proper way made him turn down the offer or challenge of Travis. When it came to pumping iron and lifting, squatting, pressing, and curling weights John Grimek was even he was strong like a machine never the cleanest and most precise and most correct and best technical skilled athlete. There were times when he could lift when he was doing repots with one arm nearly the same weight as with two arms, the same is to say about frontpushes or explosive weight liftings up from the ground at which in particular he did used his back in a extremely leaned to the back way. And it is sure and proof or save to say that it had been this missing technical skills and the knowledge of or about them what stood in his way to make himself a name in the department of the Olympic Weight Lifting. But that he made good for with other triumphs. So he became the New Jersey Heavyweight Champion in 1934 when he did frontpushes with 110 kilogram and established with doing this so back then a new american record. Also with doing one armed pushes with 80 kilogram he did so as well, with establishing a new american record back then. Later on with weighing 85 kilogram he improved his record in/of doing frontpushes from 110 kilogram to 115 kilogram and established with doing so a new american record again. In 1936 with weighing 82 kilogram he again improved this record and established a new one with doing frontpushes with 118 kilogram. With doing this in 1936 he gained the first place at the AAU (= "Amateur Athletic Union") qualifications for the Olmypian Games in Berlin in 1936. But unfortunately due to his above already mentioned and described lack of technical skills and the knowledge of and experience with and in it he did not that good in Berlin with the very, very most of his tries ended up as disqualifications due to technical irregularities. But one thing he was anyhow for sure, the by far most muscular man and one of the strongest also up there on stage, point and fact. Like every athlete no matter if an iron athlete or any other ordinary athlete also John Grimek had his favorite exercises in which he was skilled and reputated best, and in the case of John Grimek it was for sure the Deadlift in which he was the king. Without warming up he was able to do deadlifts with 270 kilogram and while doing this he nearly let his legs remained totally  racked and he used the complete radius of the movement of the exercise, he was really that double-jointed. And it was for sure not at least his impressive and enormous flexibility that proofed that you don't automatically become a meatheaded muscleman when you do iron pumping. Around this time he was weighing around 89 kilogram and was able to carry out one handed dumbbell pushes over his head with 65 kilogram dumbbells, with using his two arms and hands he could do the same exercise with 165 kilogram, technically clean the first repetition, with a impulse the second repetition, and with doing it with drive the third repetition. At the 21st of February of the year of 1940 he was challenging Karl Norberg a 48 years old giant and a docker in a inofficial but very well documented competition and John Grimek curled nothing less than a 127 kilogram weighing barbell, holding it with a reverse grasp or grip, and then he also lifted the 127 kilogram weighing barbell over his head, still holding it with this reverse grip. Impressive!!! Pretty often John Grimek used to lift and curl also two dumbbells with one hand via holding them athwart and wedged in one hand. His best capacity in doing this had been a 40 kilogram dumbbell together with a 38 kilogram dumbbell. Also he lifted the legendary "Louis Cyr" dumbbell that weighed 112 kilogram and he could lift this monster one handed and one armed from one side of his body straight over his head. (Louis Cyr was canadian born and one of the most famous and most legendary and strongest Strongman of the late 19th and the early 20th century, and if you want to know more about him then check for example this link here: and also to finally know more about the one man who was crowned to be the strongest man who have ever lived and this by no one else than the legendary Ben Weider.) With a barbell his best accomplishment in or with this exercise were 120 kilogram. He also liked one armed dumbbell swings and managed to carry this exercises out with 90 kilogram. To prove his endurance he carried out squats with doing 40 squat repetitions with 180 kilogram loaded on his back, 101 repetitions in doing frontpushes while standing with 90 kilogram and 65 repetitions of angular bench presses with two 30 kilogram dumbbells - all repetitions carried out one after another. Impressive!!! In 1940 he archieved a record, a world record, when he was doing front pushes with 118,5 kilogram when he was weighing just 82 kilogram. And in New York in the Madison Square Garden he pushed 130 kilogram, he pulled 113 kilogram, and he bumped 147,5 kilogram. For a time he was one of the very few weightlifters worldwide who was able to rival and even to beat in that time the legendary John Davis (read here: for more about him) who conquered six olympic gold medals and two over-all olympic victories, one in 1948 and one in 1952. For his squats John Grimek was also very famous and well-known and highly reputated. In one legged squats he squatted 90 kilogram and in standard two legged squats impressive 317,5 kilogram. When doing jump squats or jumping squats he was able to do eight repetitions with 90 kilogram loaded up on his back.

Since John Grimek died in 1998 being 88 years old here and there some tried to denounce his impressive strength, but without any kind of success because liars and lies in some cases really can't do damage to the truth. John Grimek simply was so incredible far ahead of all his potential rivals of his time and also so far ahead of his time in general that he surely was and still remain unrivaled and unbeaten for all times. With being just 1,75 meter tall he build up with and through hard, dedicated, and passionated work and full-value nutrition tremendous big muscles and they grew on over all the years. For example his arms that grew on to having a ambit or extent of 48 centimeter. (In his time and age 43 centimeter were a giant ambit of arms.) And his triumph in Bodybuilding to what he finally moved on to he gained when he was working hard and being a dedicated father and husband as well, nothing easy to accomplish and that makes him even greater. And he never backed down, knew no defeat and no surrender. He was also totally in control of his msucles and he loved to demonstrate dominating feasts of strength. Beside this he was also very acrobatic and agile and could for example easily do flips and splits, as well as he was able to do and demonstrate the "human flag", to name you just some examples of how agile and acrobatic and in control of his body and msucles he really was. He also worked out once as a adagios dancer and also posed once for the "Tarzan" comic and was also in the short list for the role of Superman in a "Superman" movie. John Grimeks main motivation was especially to train for himself and for the consistent amelioration of his body, and not to train for competitions. Simply because back then it was more or less impossible to gain monetary success out of the iron sports to make a living out of and with it, especially as a family father and especially when you don't wanted to ruin sooner or later your physical health with it like a lot of the early Strongman sportsmen of the late 19th and the early 20th century unfortunately did in one or another. But for sure he also felt the hunger to go and compete and mess with the best of his time in several categories of the iron sports. And so he moved finally also into Bodybuilding and did championships and flexed his impressive muscles up on stage. He did six Bodybuilding competitions and not the smallest ones and he won them all in a unrivaled triumphant victorious way and this clearly even against world top first class opposition like for example the legendary and groundbreaking Steve Reeves who was defeated by John Grimek two times, in 1948 at the NABBA "Mr. Universe" championship and in 1949 at the "Mr. U.S.A." championship. Here are the championships he did and won in a decade beside working a hard day time real life job and being an empathic father and a loving husband:
1939 = "York Perfect Man"
1940 = "AAU Mr. America" (At where he was also crowned the victor in the categories "The best arms" and "The most muscular man".)
1941 = "AAU Mr. America"
1946 = "Most Muscular Man in America"
1948 = "NABBA Mr. Universe"
1949 = "Mr. U.S.A."
The 1948's "NABBA Mr. Universe" took place at the 13th of August of the year of 1948 in London, together with the Olympic Games, and was perhaps the first real through and through multinational Bodybuilding competition on a international/global professional level ever, with the athletes coming from 16 countries and with all in all 43 competitors at all.  After his win of the 1949 "Mr. U.S.A." championship he declared his farewell from the world of the active prize fighting sport. All in all you can easily say that John Grimek was confronted with at least 75 of the very best Bodybuilders of the U.S.A. as well as of the rest of the world (especially in the case of the "NABBA Mr. Universe" championship) including Steve Reeves, Steve Stanko, Clarence Ross, George Eiferman, and Armand Tanny, and you know what,  he defeated them all. Even when in the world of todays Pro Bodybuilding the gaged size of muscles isn't really of interest anymore, what is no wonder with all these monstrous by/with steroids and growth hormons and what the hell else ever fueled and pumped up to the max mutant muscle sizes that we see everywhere today,  however, back then in the days of John Grimek this all was a little bit different, and the gaged size of muscles really meant something back then. And to know this gaged sizes is anyhow pretty beneficial if you want to get a good imagination or impression of the body of a Bodybuilder. And even this gaged size of msucles changes with the body weight of a man or woman, and this was also in the case of John Grimek so what should be no wonder to anyone, we will now have a look at his average gaged muscle size with his average body weight of 88 kilogram. Linked to this John Grimek showed this muscle ambits:
- Chest = over 119,5 centimeter
- Waist = 79 centimeter
- Femoral = 66 centimeter
- Calves = 46 centimeter
- Arms = 44,5 centimeter
- Neck = 43 centimeter
- Forearms = 36,5 centimeter
Very impressive numbers, and all pure and natural, and everyone really into iron sports no matter if Bodybuilding, Powerlifting, Strongmen, or (Olympic) Weightlifting knows this and knows how hard the way to such sizes is, especially the true and natural way, what is still the real deal after all.

Now we will have a look at the nutrition and training or working out the John Grimek style and way. First we will have a look at his nutrition. It based on three short rules:
(1.) Plain!!!
(2.) Easy!!!
(3.) Effective!!!
He was blessed with an enormous appetite and hunger and a whole complete chockerel was for him just a little snack, and eggs had a first-rate place in his nutrition. He loved coffee and avoided alcohol at any occasions. Any proper nutrition supplementation was something John Grimek could just dream of and so the only supplements he knew of and he used had been the homemade protein cakes of his beloved wife. He controlled his body weight simply with reducing or adding calories to his daily meal plan, what means that he reduced his meals or added meals to his daily or weekly nutrition. Plain, easy, effective - and it worked and still works, and today even better and even easier with a great and rich nutrition supplement bargain being on the market.

Now we will have a good luck at John Grimeks training principles and techniques. He used to train and work out when- and whereever he just could, but his favorite gym had been for sure the old York gym, and his work outs had been through and through 100% authentic, all just done because of the honest pleasure of pure strength. He analysed and improved the old feasts of strength of the well-served iron sports warhorses of his time and before his time and after he loved the challenge he usually decided without any real contrived preparation to participate in all the Strongmen, Weight Lifting, and Bodybuilding competitions. He usually did heavy, very heavy, really heavy flotation exercises, maybe less than six and all in just one workout, he used the very well known and also very well established pyramid concept of weights and sets, with the account or number of the sets he did depended on his current level of exhaustion. He concentrated especially for example on deadlifts and squads. After it was back then still a pretty new exercise he did only here and there from time to time some benchpress. And also when this exercise became more and more reputated, known, and carried out he sticked with not doing it that often after all. This because he thought that to build strength in the whole body the exercises had to be done while standing, and that whole body strength was his first aim. Also he thought that the benchpress would lead to "manboobs" when it would be done too often, and so he sticked with doing it only here and there from time to time. That it was not a matter of strength should be clear, not at least because he benchpressed 180 kilogram. But he always did chest presses with dumbbells and coatings with dumbbells and barbells as well, to build up a broad and massive and powerful chest. He usually did them between his squat sets in a way of a early "super set system" for the legs and the chest, and not at least to also use this "time of exhaustion" between his squat sets in a use- and senseful way and to let his lungs work up to the maximum. His exercises usually consisted out of six to seven sets of squats with coatings with just one breath per rep, power convert, and frontpushes. The amount of sets he exalted by instinct. He did also deadlifts in various forms and also obviated rowing, as well as dumbbell training for his biceps, triceps, and shoulders. When he changed his work out schedule he simply made some alternatives to his flotations. On his rest days or better "rest days" he used to practise some more unusual exercises like lateral leaned barbell pushes (the old form of the one armed pushes), one armed wrenching, and dumbbell swings. Exercises for the strength of the grip of his hands he did normally as well, like for example the gripping and lifting of two assembled together weight discs with one hand or the holding of big and heavy weight discs with just one of his fingers. And this program and nutrition and dedication to the iron way of life lead him to become the unrivaled and unbeaten champ that he is and forever will be. So forget about all the trendy up to date stuff, if you want to work out really heavy and really hard and gain real results in strength and muscle size then just try the John Grimek way and style of training and nutrition if you can stand it. And don't forget: keep it plain, keep it easy, keep it effective!!! And also don't forget: What worked out (long) before steroids and such stuff will also work in the times of and if you somehow might think so also with steroids and stuff like this and it will still work after steroids and all the other stuff out there. Ah, and in 1999 John Grimek became a member of the "IFBB Hall of Fame", and this more than ''just'' deserved, point and fact!!!
Nothing left to say, but just:
R.I.P John Grimek, the unbeaten and unrivaled King of the Iron and one of THE greatest of ALL times.

That's it for the third post of the IRON AGE posting series up here on this very blog. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you want to know when the next round will be coming up... can't say it, so don't ask it. Anyhow, just stay tuned for more up here and maybe already in the soon future more will be coming for you up here. So far already thanks for your time and interest, in short: Thanks for reading!!!
Stick to the iron, and keep on pumping!!!
Your dear Manslaughter Andy.

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