Stronger Athletes

Isometrics and Alexander Zass

February 13 " There are some things that can beat smartness and foresight; awkwardness and stupidity can. The best swordsman in the world doesn't need to fear the second best swordsman in the world; no. The person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn't do the thing he ought to do, and so the expert isn't prepared for him." - Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court)

Meet Alexander Zass

Last post I told you about Isometrics. This time around I will tell you about one of the famous practicioners of isometrics, Alexander Zass of Poland.

There are many stories I could tell that would demonstrate the amazing results possible when the isometric contraction is properly applied. However, I feel the best story concerns one Alexander Zass. A world famous strongman at the beginning of the last century, he was known by his stage name “The Mighty Samson”. He is also considered by many to be the father of isometric exercises. This is his story.

Young Alexander was born in Poland but raised in Russia. When he was a boy his grandfather took him to the circus. Of all the sights he saw there, it was the circus strongmen that impressed him the most. He vowed to become as strong as they were and join the circus himself one day. He started training immediately, doing such activities as climbing trees and lifting barbells and dumbbells. It wasn't long before he was strong enough to join a circus. Once there he learned even more from the strongmen he worked with. He built his physique up and he was widely known for his great strength.

During World War I, however, Alexander Zass was captured and imprisoned by the Austrians. Confined to a cell and bound by shackles, Zass became despondent. How could he train when he could barely move? He feared that without exercise he would rapidly lose the incredible strength that he had worked so hard to acquire. Out of sheer frustration he began straining against the shackles that bound him and the prison bars that confined him. Without knowing it he began exercising using isometric principles. Much to his surprise he found that this method of training allowed him to become stronger than ever before!

How strong did he get? So strong that when the opportunity presented itself he was able to bend and break the shackles that bound him BY HAND. Next he ripped out the prison bars, bent one of them into a J hook for scaling the wall, and was able to make his escape!

After the War Alexander Zass toured Europe performing amazing feats of strength as the “Mighty Samson”. He was known for bending bars, breaking chains with his chest, lifting 500 pound girders with his teeth and carrying small horses. The only training method he used was isometrics - he never lifted weights. Later he published a training book of isometric exercises that sold well throughout Europe. From reading the above is there any doubt in your mind what can be achieved with isometrics? Whether you want to get stronger, build an impressive physique, or both, following this program can get you there.

***No Liability is assumed for any information written on the website. No medical advice is given on exercise. This advice should be obtained from a licensed health-care practitioner. Before anyone begins any exercise program, always consult your doctor. The articles are written by coaches that are giving advice on a safe, productive, and efficient method of strength training.***

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