Welcome to Old Time Strength.com. The aim of this site is to share with you my knowledge and experiences in my goal to become as strong, powerful and fit as my genetic potential and age will allow (through natural old time methods). I have so far been very satisfied (to say the least) at my results by using the methods of the old time strong men. I have learned these methods from reading the books or reports of the great strong men of the past and from talking to or receiving personal instruction from great strong men of today (who still practice the old ways today), as well as to other athletes, martial artists and people who possess almost beast like strength even in old age, from many countries during my travels around the world.
It is generally accepted that the old time strongmen could on a pound for pounds basis out perform almost any gym goer in the strength department (both in mental strength and physical) and the reasons as to why are hotly debated. In past times before even the advent of modern guys it was accepted that a true strong man, should not only have strong muscles but also strong tendons and ligaments to match. For example gym machines can build muscle but they also support the tendons to such an extent the muscles get stronger while the strength of the tendons is largely unaffected, and gym machines over ride the need for balancing stabilizer muscles to come into play; which often results in injuries to muscles and also more serious career stopping tendon injuries. An old time strong man must not only have powerful muscles and mental powers but crucially must develop very powerful tendons. The above is my general philosophy, but there are always times when machines can help work muscles that have previously received little work due to the compensation of larger muscles thereby helping break through a strength plateau in a safe way. However, I have find that only minimal use of machines when targeting very isolated and hard to work muscle groups is useful for me. Most of my strength has come through free weight work and the other exercise and activities as described on this site. Additionally the old time strong man all possessed the trait known as being "game" in other words the mental and spiritual fortitude to never give up and to believe in the impossible. What may seem as impossible feats to many of today's athletes were to the old timers considered possible. So while the methods and advice on this site maybe useful to some it is never the less all useless if a man (or woman) does not possess that mental fortitude and that never give up attitude known to the old timers as being game or having an unbreakable tenacity to succeed. Genetics help, environment helps, good nutrition through good food helps, clean air helps but the overriding factor is the power of the mind over matter and in the famous words of Winston Churchill "to Never Give Up."
To be a "Strong Man" doesn't require that you are the strongest biggest meanest man or woman on the planet, it just means that you practice ways of developing strength that will let you reach your FULL own full genetic (or God given) potential. It became clear to me later in life that working out in the gym did not equal being strong. The goal of most gym goers is generally to look fitter and/or actually be fitter; however the goal of an Old Time Strong Man (meaning women as well) is to become strong in body, mind and spirit and not only to look strong but BE STRONG in all those aspects. That is in no way an attack on body building as I am a fan of body building and some body builders are in fact very strong; for example Ronny Coleman. The difference is that the goal of body building is to please judges aesthetically rather than functionally. Thus in modern body building aesthetics is the goal not strength; whereas in old time strong man training, strength of mind, body, spirit is the primary goal while REMAINING HEALTHY.
For a person to become truly strong (in the eyes of the old time strong men) every part of the person must be up to the job (with no weak links) this includes a strong will, a powerful central nervous system, strong tendons, strong ligaments, strong bones and yes also strong muscles. It is apparent that many gym goers focus very much on muscle gain and muscle hypertrophy while ignoring strengthening of the tendons and ligaments or the connection between the mind and muscle. For the old time strong man there can be no weak links; for example what good is it to have large hulking muscles, but with weak tendons or what use is it if you cannot fire up the central nervous system to connect different muscles to work in unison to complete a task? To explain this better I like to use the analogy of the industrial crane although no means a totally accurate analogy it pretty much gets the point across. An industrial crane needs an operator (the brain) and engine (the muscle) an arm (the bone) a cable (the tendon) and a hook (the hand). If anyone of those parts are compromised the crane will fail, as it is with the human body. In other words to be truly strong the brain, central nervous system, bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles must all be powerful and working together. This may seem pretty straightforward and obvious, but it is by many very overlooked, as the focus for most gyms goers seems to be developing muscle while almost completely ignoring developing the tendons, bone, CNS and so forth.
One interesting facts pointed out to me by my strength mentor Martin Arjoon is relating to of the old circus strong men. It is well known that the circus strongmen were indeed almost freaks of nature. However it was generally through their jobs of manual labor and diet of wholesome food that allowed them to perform freakish feats of strength in the circus rather than training for the circus with specific exercises outside of their jobs; in other words they got their incredible strength of mind and body through their arduous jobs rather than specifically training for it.
It is also a myth to believe that a true Strongman must be overweight to be strong there are many "Strongmen" who have fantastically fit physiques and some were even very small men.
Above Enzo Donadio from Italy showing an amazing physique at 61 years of age attained through old strength training techniques. Enzo is famed for his use and expertise in the use of the Atlas Stones.
Below a picture of myself (Doug Link) at 48 years of age getting stronger for every year I get older. The results of training both in and out the gym, mountain air, non processed fresh foods, herbs and the combination of old time and modern training methods.
Id like to thank the following
I'd like to specially thank Martin Arjoon (above) for encouraging me to discover more about the great strong men of past and present and being so generous in the sharing of his information on grip spots and isometrics techniques.
And to the legendary Tim Bresnan
for his advice in arm wrestling and arm strength training. I would also recommend those truly interested in gaining strength using the Old Ways to visit the Face Book page run by strong man athlete James Fuller called Strong Man Archeology. I also have my own YouTube channel where I have several videos mainly centered around whole arm strength development. My contacts Page has more information on extra resources.