Jump to content

Is this possible?


Recommended Posts


In John McCallum's book, "Keys to Progress", the section titled "Grip and Forearm Development" contains an interview with an arm wrestler named Mac Batchelor. In this section several feats of hand strength are described. The one that I am wondering about is gripping a wine cork tightly with only the index finger of one hand and then breaking it in half by pushing the top of the cork with the thumb of the same gripping hand. Can anyone do this? Has anyone seen it done? Give it a try and please let me know how you do.

-Mike M.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've tried this several times after first reading about it in KTP.  I've never even been able to start "tear" in the cork.  Anyone who could  break the cork would impress me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Did it specify the cork? With an old and brittle cork cork, I think most people could do it. With a new plastic imitation cork, I think we need to tip John Brookfield to list it among the myths in his book.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the March 1998 (Volume 5 - Number 4) issue of Milo is an article by John McCullum titled: "Grip and Forearm Development-Part I" that has a pic of Mac Batchelor pinch gripping an unopened bottle of beer (held horizontally) at the neck using just his index finger and thumb.

I think if the corks were old and brittle, then John McCullum wouldn't have felt compelled to mention this feat of strength in his book.

Train smart!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest woody36

In an article by Dave Webster he talks of him lifting

two 80 pound plates,one in each hand and walking

a distance of 30 feet.He could bend all manner of

spikes up to 120 gauge,he once bent 500 bottle caps

one after the other between his thumb and forefinger

held straight.In 1948 he carried for a distance of 300

feet a telegraph pole,40ft in length and calculated to

weigh between 700-800 pounds.He also carried a horse

estimated to weigh 650 pounds, 16ft up a ladder.

Link to post
Share on other sites


On the occasion when Mac bent 500 bottle caps

in 25 minutes (one every three seconds), I do not

think he used the straight fingers technique,

though he was able to do some caps in that manner,

for this test he used bent fingers.

On a human interest note about Mac: After he died

I called his daughter and chatted; she shared the


Mac spent his last days at the West Torrance

California Covalescent Hospital. His bodyweight,

once 240, went down to 175. He was blind, but enjoyed

sitting outside and feeding the birds, a practice that

was halted when so many pigeons gathered that the

staff felt the situation was becoming unsanitary.

He continued to do pushups off the handrails, and

continued sitting in the sun, and enjoyed frequent visits from his daughter, Jan.

Mac  wrote some interesting pieces for the Weider

magazines, by the way, in the late 1940s early 1950s.

Regarding the cork: there are many grades of cork,

so without knowing the grade, age, etc., this would

be difficult to access.

Best regards,


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest woody36


     Willoughby, gives it has a straight fingered

technique,and a half closed hand technique when

he was bending three caps between four fingers.

He could then bend one or all with just lateral pressure,

it also says Mac thought his best feat of grip strength

was hanging from a gym rope one handed at 300

pounds body weight.

best regards.

Link to post
Share on other sites


If you refer to page 214 in Super Athletes, where

Willoughby gives 20 minutes as the time for 500

bottle caps, he says: "In fact, between his thumb

and clenched fist, he once bent 500 beer-bottle caps

in succession during a period of 20 minutes." I

interpret this 'clenched fist' to mean non-straight


If you are referring to another passage, let me know.

Muscular Development mag Jan 1973 p 57 says

25 minutes.

Frankly, bending 500 bottle caps in 20 or 25 minutes

with straight fingers seems beyond belief. Willoughby

then says p 214 "Again, he was able to bend simultan-

eously a cap  in each hand, using the thumb and index

finger only and keeping the  finger straight." So does

this mean the thumb was not straight, just the finger?

I think Willoughby changed thoughts here, so he

should have changed paragraphs, but did not.

It was rare for Willoughby to be vague in his writing;

perhaps this was such an occasion.


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest woody36


    i think the referance comes from Ironman 36:5 july77

    "Feats of finger strength"

In a pic i've seen of him bending a cap he's crushing it

in a straight fingered pincer movement between thumb

and forefinger,or so the pic would have it appear?

Joe as i'm only quoting what i've read,i'd have to bow

to your superior knowledge.

All the best


Link to post
Share on other sites


No bowing, just comparing notes.

Keep in mind there is no photo of Anderson

doing his claimed record backlift; that a photo

of Inch in S&H identifying the Inch bell was NOT

the Inch bell, etc etc. So sometimes we are

guided on the wrong road, but by working

together, we will solve these matters. One recent

publication refers to Anderson as being very strong in the bent press. Anderson never did a bent press in his life.

I care when I'm wrong, but I do not care enough

to deny being wrong, because that stops progress.


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.

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.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy policies.