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Paul Anderson


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Please check cyberpump.com for the presentation

of the nearly 500-line letter Paul Anderson wrote

to me in 1990.

Sorry for being off topic- though he did have two

'replicas' of the Cyr bell made.

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Great read.  So how was Anderson's grip strength?  I keep reading disparaging things about it ("vegetable broth" as opposed to "beefy").  Then again it sounds as though his one-hand over head press was pretty monstrous, yet all I ever hear about is his squating and backlifting.  After reading that letter, Anderson sounds as if he was much stronger than even Mark Henry, and this was without steroids !  Where would you place Anderson on the all time strongman list ?

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Anderson was not known for, nor should he have

been known for, his grip strength. So far as I

know he never made any grip strength claims.

June 12 coming up will be the 45th anniversary

of his backlift, and we'll look at the known facts

in Iron History in the June 7th edition.

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Thanks Woody,

                     That is an  amazing feat !  I suspect Paul could have easily cleaned and pressed the Inch dumbell, perhaps even doing one  in each hand.  From the looks of his forearms in the video, I would guess that he had considerable  potential for grip strength.  Very inspirational.


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I suspect Paul could not have even deadlifted an Inch

bell. He was not good at curling weights with a thick

bar according to Doug Hepburn.

Paul was a monster in hip and thigh strength, but that

did not extrapolate into hand or biceps strength.

But again, in fairness to Paul, he never claimed to

have great hand strength.

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Joe, without wishing to go too far off topic regarding the rest of the letter, what are your views on Anderson's comments on Goerner's "600lb" deadlift (I assume he means the 793lb that was claimed for Goerner?)? With due regard to my ignorance, I have never even heard of there being in existence a photo of this lift. Do you have any details?

I apologize if this treads on your toes regarding any comments you might make over at your Iron History page.

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I have never seen the photo to which Paul refers,

and Paul had never seen the photo- judging by what

he wrote.

Nor have I ever seen a photo of Goerner's highest

deadlifts (does a photo exist?).

Who the people were who had seen the photo and

explained it to him, I do not know.

That whole passage of the letter is ambiguous, and I

never followed up on it with him because I was interested

in his unofficial strength lifts.

I do know Goerner did not use metal hooks in his

deadlifts, as Paul sometimes did.

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I have just re-read the letter and you are correct - Anderson did not claim to have seen the photgraph personally. It seems that he was as happy to believe what he was told as he expected everyone else to be.

Many thanks for releasing this extraordinary letter.

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Whatever grip strength Paul Anderson may have possessed, it was difficult for him to apply it because his hands were not very long but very thick.  I shook hands with him a couple of times and it is hard to imagine that he could have gotten a worthwhile grip on the Inch dumbbell.

I believe the heaviest deadlift claimed for Anderson was 820, which was undoubtably limited by his hand strength.  One of his contemporaries, WL champion Tommy Kono, insists that he saw Anderson DL 1000, using hooks.

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The next, serious, question, then: How long were

the hooks? In other words, how much bending was


Just as a bar only 9" off the floor is more difficult to

deadlift than one at 12", so the length of the hooks


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Well, that's a good question.  Anderson never claimed this lift himself, but I always assumed that the hooks were similar to wrist straps in that you still have your hands on the bar.  Since he cleaned weights with a wide stance and his arms inside his thighs, any lifting off the floor was pretty much a squat for him.

I have read that Anderson was very careful not to claim lifts using hand-off apparatus or other aids because he felt it might cast a shadow on legitimate accomplishments.  One other thing: as he said in his letter, a lot of legend can grow up around a man like him.  Anyone who had seen him in person, actually toying with huge weights, had little trouble believing what he claimed for himself.  Unlike many old-timers with their personal equipment, Anderson often lifted in exhibition following a contest, using the weights that were on the platform, so everybody knew what they were seeing.

Anyway, I was only suggesting that his hand strength was not on the same order as the rest of him, because his hands were as beefy as the rest of  him.  Who knows what he could actually have lifted if he had been allowed to compete longer.

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