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Inch timed holds


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In my study of Thomas Inch, it occurs to me that one

of the great feats he claims has never been remotely approached by anyone else.

Inch claimed, you recall, that he carried the 172 around

his garden. On another occasion he held it in the finished one hand deadlift position for several MINUTES while answering

questions! Frankly, I do not believe this, but here is my


Now, 90 years later, we have super-strong men who can

barely deadlift the bell and hold it for more than seconds,

if that long. I would appreciate what feedback you can offer

from your experiences regarding witnessing someone deadlift the Inch bell or replica- how long did the bell stay off the


If Inch's claims were accurate, his hand strength has never

been possessed by another human since. Or, as I suspect,

he switched bells on those occasions when endurance holding

was involved.

Any first-hand stories?

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Joe, we all read in WG's interview of Kinney about him "tossing" the replica from hand to hand. If that could be confirmed it should be up there around what you are talking about. When the strongest of the strong can only pick it up and quickly let it down again and there is a guy tossing it from hand to hand, that is a huge difference. That dumbell is within 10 lbs of his bodyweight, which is phenomenal. To toss a weight from hand to hand you basically have to "own" that weight, just like when you talked about Inch cleaning and pressing the db (which still amazes me to think about). Anything you can toss or clean and press on a daily basis should be well below your max I would think.

That is why I asked in another thread if anyone had seen Joe K doing that on video or in person. There are a few board members closing in on their respective #4 grippers but I don't think anyone is near tossing a full Inch replica from hand to hand. That could be another goal for a thick handle specialist.

Joe R, I am sorry if this isn't pertinent to your original topic. If not, please disregard.

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Just to be clear, Kinney explained to me when I asked him

about 'tossing' the Inch replica from hand to hand, that

what he was doing was, as I understood him, placing

his empty hand beneath the hand holding the bell, then

allowing the bell to drop into the empty hand- an INCREDIBLE

feat, but not on the same level as literally tossing the bell.

But your point is well taken- anyone who could control

the bell long enough to go back and forth in this manner

is certainly 'in control' of it. and the fact that several 'reps' were involved shows that he had not reached exhaustion.

Thanks for the input!

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Do you find that sometimes there is NOT one or two sides to a story, but many more than that!  This makes it confusing.  One person saw this, another person witnessed that, still another person claims something else - when all along the strongman performed the feat much differently than what was actually seen.  And from a distance on the stage, one dumbbell looks surprisingly similiar to another, when it fact there might be a difference of 50 pounds or more between one dumbbell versus another!  Tall tales and long legends indeed!!

Vast greatness between lifting an object YOU KNOW is x amount of pounds and lifting something and claiming it is something that it isn't.  Hence the confusion.

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I suspect you are correct, but it will interesting to

see the theoretical translated into the actual. I

also suspect there are men who can farmers walk with

two of the replicas, but until someone does it, we are

stuck in guessing.

It appears to me that the 172 lb Inch dumbell was

manufactured circa 1906, and here we are nearly a

century later, and only one man (Inch) has claimed

to have cleaned and put overhead that bell. Kaz's

effort appears to have been a Continental. I suspect

there are a few men who could clean and jerk the

Inch or the replica, but until they actually do...

Perhaps this will be the year.

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Guest 115-1005574997


Chris James of Wales cleaned and pressed the inch dumbbell at last years OHF dinner.

I believe he got it to his shoulder 2 handed then pressed.

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Thanks, I should have been clearer. What I meant was

one hand all the way, which is what Inch claims to have

done 'hundreds of times'.

From what I have heard, Chris James may well be the

first man in modern times to lift the Inch or its replica

one hand all the way in a clean, not Continental, manner.

Hopefully Chris will be at the Heindenstam gathering this


Will an Inch replica be on hand, or must the jump to that

monster Millennium bell be made?

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Guest Harlan Jacobs

I was told that Schoonie did an training sesion on Boston a few weeks ago. I heard at that time he lifted the inch many times. He tried to cling it , But just missed as I was told.

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Pfister's & Schoonveld's hands are probably too big for the Inch dumbell, the handle is too short. That's why Arthur Saxon couldn't lift it even though he probably had stronger hands than Inch's.

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Pfister's & Schoonveld's hands are probably too big for the Inch dumbell, the handle is too short. That's why Arthur Saxon couldn't lift it even though he probably had stronger hands than Inch's. Also Inch always said it had to be lifted overhead with one hand only for it to count.

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You joined the board recently, so perhaps you have not read

the extended discussions regarding Inch and his four bells

that have appeared in earlier postings. Among those

discussions is one by me explaining my view that Saxon

never attempted to lift the Inch bell. And there are posts

explaining how the width of the Inch handle is not the

preventive factor for large hands that many once considered

it to be.

I dare say there is more accurate information regarding

Inch and his bells here on the grip board than can be

found anywhere else. Anywhere else.

But legends die hard.

If you care to, use the search button and type in 'saxon'

and you will be referred to many refs, but Nov 26, 2001

may shed some light. Best regards.

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There is a picture on Richard Sorin's webpage here of Andy Bloom (shot putter I think) push jerking the Inch replica. One can only assume that it was cleaned to shoulder with 2 hands. Also note Steve Jeck (background, blue sweatshirt) looking on. Impressive to me no matter how it got to the shoulder. I have not heard anyone else mention it, but I still feel it in my wrist and forearm trying to press a heavy thick handled dumbell. It is a lot harder for me to stabilize the thick handle overhead than a standard 1" db handle.

There are a lot of pictures at http://www.sorinex.com/LivingStrong.asp that would interest grip enthusiasts, check them out.

Joe, sorry that has nothing to do with your original topic. It was just thrown out in response to cleaning & pressing the replica, which is a lofty goal. If I had the strength to press / jerk it like that guy, I would not rest until I could clean it one handed. He already has the harder part (IMHO) down.

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Those were interesting photos- especially the Inch

replica attempts!

I truly believe that someone this year will go one

hand all the way with the Inch. If a sponsor could

be found to offer a few thousand dollars, then the

men who have a real shot at success with the replica

might take an interest in training for it.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Mark Henry do an upright row with the Inch bell, and say that he'd snatch it for a thousand dollars?

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About the mystery of the Inch.... compared to strongmen of yesteryear, and those of today.  No contest - the guys back a century or so ago were much, MUCH stronger than the guys of today (IMHO).  And Tom Inch trained HEAVY.

You also realise that those guys trained earlier in life, and trained with weights MUCH HEAVIER than the guys do today.  Most of the early strongmen were turning pro before 18.  It was a different time, a different perspective (men trained for raw animal STRENGTH, and NOT for showy muscles).  For example, give me four of the strongest men in their prime (I'll pick Cyr, Saxon, Goerner and Aston), and put them up against the four strongest guys you could find today in a pure weightlifting contest.... and what would happen?  Uh, I don't need to tell you.  Like I said, no contest.

Inch trained like that.  If you were to ask me if Inch was able to lift his infamous dumbbell, I would say yes.

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Ah, Sir Snott,

It is true they trained heavier on one arm lifts

in the old days. Not on two armed lifts. Nor is it true

they trained lower body heavier- with a few exceptions

such as Milo Steinborn.

But who is stronger depends on which lifts are chosen,

and now that you have Anvils, Horseshoes, and Cannons

by Gaudreau (how do you like them so far?) you will

agree, I hope, that the major stumbling block in setting

up a contest in those olds days was which lifts to select

because each competitor had his favorites of course.

Take for example the lifting of a heavy ball while

straddling a bench with the large ball lodged in the crotch

area (I'm serious). An obese man, such as Cyr, would have to

lift the ball forward before he could lift it upward, thus

being at a distinct disadvantage to a small waisted man.

Regarding Inch. Not only was he like the others in lift selection, he was unlike them in apparatus switching.

I hope you will tune in to Iron History on cyberpump starting next week Feb 8 when INCH 101 begins. If after several

weekly installments of INCH 101 you are not convinced,

I will be more baffled than can be explained.

Remember, the affirmative has the burden of proof.

Based on what do you think Inch could overhead the

172 one hand all the way? I will show how at certain

periods in his life (even in his prime) he was NOT able to

by his own admission.

I am, of course, assuming you refer to the 172 when you say

his infamous dumbell? And you offer as proof, what?

I'm glad you're back in the fray, friend!

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I fear you may never know the whole truth with regards to Inch.  I applaud your information gathering, you certainly have done your homework.  If I could be so bold as to ask, why are you so transfixed on this feat?  There are so many other old time feats that are extremely difficult to believe and prove yet they seem to be more universally accepted.  

I also notice that some modern feats are more readily believed with no real proof.  In my opinion, any grip related "records" involving weights should be performed using only IWF calibrated plates or equivalent, under the auspices of an UNBIASED sanctioning organization.    Gripper calibration numbers have proven to be sporadic at best in predicting closure difficulty (I don't want to start that debate again).  As such, any competition or rating should be performed using a specific set of grippers.  Comparing one person's numbers to anothers is invalid.

As for the #4 range of grippers, that has proven to be imposible for all but one man to legitimately close.  Until someone else closes a #4 (ANY #4) it remains the outer limit  of crushing strength.  I will not accept anyone's claim to close a gripper of "#4 strength".  Go close a #4 if you want credit for it.

Just my 2 or three cents.  I seem to have have a large amount of spare change to go around. :D

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There are some other feats of bygone years that are

difficult to prove. But usually these other men's feats

did not constitute an entire century of no one else

accomplishing the same feat(there are exceptions).

With Inch, the assertion was that in about 100 years

since the bell was manufactured, in spite of men with

much larger hands (which makes a HUGE difference),

better nutrition, more scientific training, better training

implements etc, no one has come hopping down the trail to match what was for Inch (he claimed) an almost casual lift.


The reason I want the truth (as I see it) known is that

his decades long claim has prevented other men from

their rightful places. In spite of the fact that I began

the Liar's Club here on the board everybody knows it is

for fun and fiction. Inch, in my view, has thwarted the

accuracy of history by his claims without acknowledging

those claims were false.

There is proof that he did not lift the 172 as he claimed,

and that proof should be made public. Is there any reasonable

person who actually thinks that Inch was stronger of hand

than Saxon, Apollon, Pedley and others? I dare say no one

who has compared their lifts. Inch was a master at avoiding

the men who truly had a chance at lifting his 172.

Anyway on cyberpump in the next few months I will be

presenting my case, and I most certainly welcome comments

and criticism and corrections. If it is shown my conclusions

are wrong, I will offer thanks and gratitude. My agenda is

not my view, but the truth.

Best regards.

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Cool, now I understand your motivation.  I agree that people should only receive credit for what they legitimately perform.

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WE sent Mark Henry an Inch bell to let him practice with. I think if anyone cleans it will be him. As I have agreed with the owner of the Original Inch bell long fingers REALLY help along with strength...Mark has both!The owner did tell me one of his players nearly curled it and during the process was talking!

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Ya have any spare Inch replicas lying around?  Maybe you can send me one!   :D  :D  :p

Seriously.... I agree with you.  I met Mark in person, and he is one big STRONG dude!  He picked up a 230 pound DB like it was nothing (it was a DB that Mike Roy had brought for his show).  I could pick it up too.... ah, but nobody cared if I did it!  (Oh well, that's life).   :p  :p  :p

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