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  • Who influenced YOU?

    As a teenager, I was not involved in sports, and often did little physical activity at all. My biggest sources of physical activity came from my attempts at skate boarding (I was not very good) and hacky sack (I was really good). I saw some of the other boys, especially the ones involved in sports, start to really fill out with muscle. I eventually began the Iron Journey, and of course bodybuilding was where I went because that's what was "available" to me; bodybuilding was the only aspect I was exposed to via magazines. I just assumed that's "how to lift weights", with no understanding of training in vastly different ways depending on what one's goals or sport might be. Thus, my early influences in this Iron Game read like the line up from the 98' Olympia - Ronnie Coleman, Markus Ruhl, Lee Priest, Nasser El Sonbaty, etc. Heck at the time I didn't even know that every one of those guys was on massive amounts of drugs!

    Around that time (98'ish) I saw The World's Strongest Man contest on TV. This was the first step in changing my focus from just "being big and muscley" to actually wanting to be strong as a gorilla. I saw these huge guys, and some really not so huge, dragging giant chains, pressing what looked like telephone poles over their heads, and flipping tires that were bigger than they were. Every event I saw looked more fun than the last, and the competitors were like modern day medieval warriors which really touched a special place in my soul (I often lament that I was not born 1200 years ago haha).

    A few of the big men stood out to me. Jouko Ahoula was simply amazing to watch. The guy's traps bulged like biceps on his shoulders, and despite being some 50lbs lighter than many of his adversaries, he kept winning event after event. He was quietly intense, and was able to beat the giants that opposed him routinely. I decided that this guy was awesome.

    Moreso even than Ahoula, I followed Magnus Samuellsson. I have a very similar build to Magnus in that we both have relatively slim waists, long limbs, and broad shoulders. The common thought in my neck of the woods was always that for a man to be "strong" he needed a "football physique" with stocky, thick limbs and a high setting round belly that created a barrel chest effect. Of course a man could never be strong with small calves either LOL! I find it hilarious how the uninitiated think about how a strongman should look nowadays. Anyway, I also liked Magnus' personality. He was always very intelligent and articulate in interviews, and rarely if ever complained. Additionally the fact that he came from armwrestling and farming, and was able to come dominate a sport that required so much strength in the hips and legs was impressive. He was another guy with a well muscled physique, but one that you could just tell was not built for show. He looked like the ultimate farm boy, one that could hurl hay bales by the dozen into the loft and then go pull a pickup out of the mud by himself.

    Eventually, as I later discovered powerlifting as well (I didn't even know that powerlifting was a "thing" for some time), I became more and more interested in the strength side of the Iron Game, and less and less interested in muscle-for-the-sake-of-muscle. I was getting away from vanity and getting into functionality and objective challenges. Today, I run strongman shows (quite a few of them!) and 1 or 2 powerlifting contests a year, and still train for strength. I owe part of my journey to Magnus and Ahoula, two of my earliest influences.

    Who influenced YOU?
    Last edited by Paul D Mouser; 07-30-2015, 11:51 AM. Reason: Lots of typos

  • #2
    Paul,
    I like this question because I'm always curious about what drives people to do the things they do and why. For me, I started lifting on June 9, 1980. I had just finished the 8th grade and was starting my summer vacation before high school. But, I got hooked on my older brother's bodybuilding mags in the summer of '75, between the 3rd and 4th grade (Muscle Builder, June 1975 issue with Bill Grant double bicep shot on the cover started the addiction). So for me, my biggest influences were all the "Golden Era" guys but mostly Arnold, Franco and in the late '70s Mike Mentzer. There were a lot of really good guys in the '80s too but I'd say my favorites were probably Lee Labrada, Shawn Ray and Bob Paris. I continued following bodybuilding in the '90s but was losing interest. That just happened to be the most readily available reading material.

    As for powerlifting, in the 70s Muscle Builder would sometime report on PL meets so the ones that really impressed me then were Larry Pacifico, Vince Anello, Doug Young and Precious McKenzie (also a great OL). In 1980, when Muscle Builder became Muscle & Fitness, they didn't cover powerlifting as much but I was still aware of the excellence of Ed Coan. In the late '80s I subscribed to Powerlifting USA and really liked Hideaki Inaba from Japan and Mike Bridges.

    On to Strongman. I started watching WSM from the beginning in 1977 but I rooted for the bodybuilders back then. When Kaz first showed up in '79 (won '80-'82) he was my favorite from the start. There were a lot of guys I liked in the '90s but I'd say MagnusVer and Ahola were my favorites. By the way, I met Ahola at the Strongest Man Alive contest and his traps were even more impressive in person.

    Overall, out of everyone, I'd say Arnold, Franco and Mentzer were the most influential probably because they were the earliest influences and started it all for me. One other guy who didn't compete in any of those sports but was very much into training and influenced my life more than anyone else was Bruce Lee. He was definitely 'Da Man'!!!
    http://www.strengthoftheword.com

    Comment


    • #3
      I predict that many of the posters on this forum will come to reveal that they were influenced by bodybuilders much like Craig and myself. As Craig stated, bodybuilding is what many of us were exposed to because it's what was "available". This seems funny to the younger generations (myself being only 32 but growing up in WV which is a decade or more behind the times of more urban areas), because with the commonality of internet usage now, information is readily available at lightning speeds. When I was a kid, you basically had to "luck" into finding things. I "lucked" into seeing a muscle mag at the store once and started buying them. I "lucked" into catching WSM on tv once, and started following it. Inside the muscle mags I noticed ads for other things. I honestly don't remember how I came about discovering Ironmind (and thus Super Squats, Dino Training, Mastery of Hand Strength, The Strongest Shall Survive, PL Texas Style, Justa's works, The Mightiest Minister, etc.).

      If it wasn't for some magazine with juiced up bodybuilders flexing biceps on the cover, who knows what the path may have looked like. Those ridiculous 50 set routines did a lot of damage to my joints, but I learned to work excruciatingly hard by doing them. Probably a fair trade off.

      Back to point, I'll name another big influence in my Iron Journey. At the risk of sounding like a brown noser, how about good ol' Doc Strossen himself? That giant list of books I mentioned earlier completely changed how I trained and were responsible for getting me away from the madness of doing 4 consecutive exercises for biceps in the same session. Wouldn't you know it, once I dropped to 3days a week, cut out about 15 exercises, stopped training every set to absolute failure, and focused on pushing the weight up on my big lifts, my results improved and my joints started feeling better. Without Dr. Strossen promoting these things via Ironmind and making them available, how long would I have continued to kill myself on 5-6day a week marathon workouts that had my joints begging for mercy like I was arthritic senior citizen at the age of 17? Would I have ever discovered the wonders of squat specialization? Would I have ever learned how important grip strength is to total body power? So, that being said, thanks Doc!

      Comment


      • #4
        Guys like Dr. Strossen, Robert Kennedy, Mike Lambert and Joe Weider (I've got issues with him but his magazines did greatly influence my life) are the forgotten influences because they're not the ones flexing on the covers. But, without them there wouldn't be as much interest in the Arnolds and Ed Coans of the world.

        Also, the writers of these publications shouldn't go unsung either. I used to love reading articles by Rick Wayne and Jeff Everson and, of course, everyone likes Dr. Ken. How these guys present the material is what makes it come alive.
        http://www.strengthoftheword.com

        Comment


        • #5
          I find it a tad depressing that only one other person has commented on this thread that is designed to be constructive, positive, and a chance for us to gain insight into other people's journey in this iron game. If I were to start a thread about how somebody said Joe Kinney was a fraud or about how steroids are just hunky dory there may be 5 pages worth of comments within a couple days, full of inflammatory remarks, name calling, anger, and derision.

          Anybody want to talk about the people that influenced them in the world of strength? Joe? Randall? Bill? Kim? Ben? Anyone out there?

          Comment


          • #6
            As a teen growing up in rural KY I saw my first muscle mag (Muscular Development)in the mid-'60's. The ad for a York E-Z curl bar featured John C. Grimek in a white V-neck t-shirt. He was in his mid-'50's at the time the pic was taken and I figured if he got those arms with that bar I would need one too. The same issue had a powerlifter by the name of Gene Robertson doing a high bar squat with 655# in shorts, t-shirt and belt. I was hooked.

            Comment


            • #7
              I've taken everything to use to my advantage. Early on in childhood my dad use to weight train. I picked up off that I think. As years have gone by I've fed off of other people's negativity. Thought high school, being the tall skinny kid and the comments associated with that was fuel to my fire to get better. I've only used other bodybuilders as tools not so much inspiration or motivation.

              I spent a long time not doing anything after having kids. Being in my early 30's and experiencing old person pains as I like to call them kicked my butt into gear to train again. I came into grip training from an interest in climbing and researching armwrestling and John Brzenk I found out about captains of crush grippers. This quickly led to finding out about Joe Kinney.
              Today I still use the negativity from the past, today's positivity, and communities of strength training people that I've become a part of to continue my progress going forward.

              Comment


              • #8
                Interesting thread, Paul. Sorry it took me so long to get involved. I've been having trouble getting online. [email protected]%# it; huh?

                For me, training to get stronger didn't begin until well into adulthood. Before that, there were a few tests I conducted, at High School, just to see how strong I was. The dead-lift was really fun, because it was something I did well with. The bench press was a different story – pathetic.

                I met some really strong folks working in the woods, but still wasn't influenced to train to get stronger. There was an older guy who would load 55 gallon barrels of diesel fuel into the back of a pick-up by knocking them over, then lifting them by grabbing the lip at each end of the barrels. These lips don't extend too far out from the ends of the barrel, and it looked pretty tough to do. This guy could bend some horse shoes, and absolutely demolish mule shoes. He'd squeeze 'em shut and link 'em together like a chain. Still, I wasn't interested in training to get stronger. There were incidental strength gains along the way, but nothing intentional until …

                Back in nineteen-ninety something, I came across a (maybe old?) magazine with a small 1 to 1-1/2 column inch ad by IronMind about this gripper that had only been closed by three people. WTH??? I'm not taking this!!! I'll be closing that thing. You can can count on it.

                Seems as though the challenge put forth by Dr. Strossen had a lot of influence on me. I didn't read his ad as a news report about other people. I read it as a challenge, and it didn't set well with me. I could have thrown the magazine in the stove – Dr, Strossen wasn't watching me, but the ad presented a challenge that I couldn't ignore. Who are these three guys? What the heck is a #3 gripper? I was determined that I would be among those guys. Turns out, the three guys, at that stage of IronMind certifications, were Richard Sorin, John Brookfield, and Tyce Saylor. My plan was to make it “four guys”, for sure. I had no idea there were others certifying in the meantime. My goal became closing this thing (a #3) and putting myself on par with these 'three guys'.

                So the challenge really involved four different individuals. We have TEDS (The Evil Dr. Strossen) and his infamous “... … three men.” who were really making me want to crush the life out of something (it didn't matter what) with this irritating challenge. So, I figured it was time to get a hold of one of these grippers. Could it be said that I had been 'influenced' at this point? Well, that's a nice of of putting it. I was very anxious to get my hands on a #3 gripper.

                There was another person who used a lot of what I call “constructive criticism / ridicule” on me along the way (all the way through slamming #4s). This stuff worked wonders on me. Guess it's very dependent upon who the source is.

                It should be pointed out that I never wanted to defeat these three guys. I only wanted to be one of them. It should also be noted that Dr. Strossen's ad, however benign he might have though it was, challenged me like a slap in the face.

                So there you have it; a small black and white ad in a goofy publication, by TEDS and those infamous “... … three men.” They're the ones … They did it. Let's not forget the cheerleader – the one with the “constructive ridicule”. This person knew full well that telling me I didn't have a chance only made me worse – much, much worse.
                Last edited by Joe Kinney; 07-29-2019, 01:39 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have personally been influenced by people who have done things that i cant imagine anyone could do. For example, if i deadlift 200kg i can imagine someone bigger or more experienced guy lift 300kg but it really hard to imagine what it takes to lift 400kg. Joe kinney is good example of such a person. He did something that is beyond comprehensible to me and that is so cool to think about.

                  People like Joseph Greenstein have also made impression on me. Although most of his feats were uncontroversial, like pulling vehicles with hair. It is fascinating to think that man of his stature could be so incredibly strong.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Paul,

                    My first influence was my great uncle. He was called Junior and was 5'5" tall and just as wide. He was a WWII vet who had a back injury from schrapnel and he regained strength with weights. He was eventually a competitive lifter and had competed in meets with a young Paul Anderson. Paul did the first official 400 lb press at the High Point YMCA at a meet in High Point, NC. My uncle loaded the bar. Uncle Junior trained me in his garage with a York weight set doing snatches, clean and press, and squats on a make shift squat rack. Those were the only exercises I did for the first year of training.
                    Uncle Junior took me to see Paul Anderson at a Youth Rally to raise money for the Youth Home in Geogia. Paul was wearing a short sleeved shirt in the brisk November air and he rolled out a very large dumbbell and proceeded to do reps with the dumbbell with one hand. It probably weighed about 250 lbs. That was what got me really hooked on being strong.
                    Next, Uncle Junior directed me to Jack King in Winston Salem, NC to train with Jack. Jack was a great competitive lifter and Jack coached me for almost 10 years. Jack really taught me discipline and focus. Jack taught me how to use my athletic focus to achieve any goal. I am a physician now.
                    Dana Florence and Erik Sauve eventually taught me how to throw in Highland Games and we share the love of stonelifting. So even as an adult, I have very influential men in my development as a strength athlete.
                    My dream is that someday my son, Billy, will also think of me in the same way I think of Junior, Jack and Paul.

                    I am sure many others have similar stories, Bill

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Very glad to see more Iron Minders jumping in here, and there are some very interesting points of view here.

                      Dan - I think the visual impact of seeing a guy like Grimek is often the first step for many of us. When we are unitiated, the numbers don't mean much ie. we don't know if a 500lb bench press is really all that great or not, or if a 200lb clean and jerk is a world record or a warm up for an advanced man. But one thing we can all relate to at any stage is the visual side; a massively muscled physique is automatically recognized by even those that know nothing of weight training.

                      Chuck - Interesting that you mention John Brzenk. He has the unfortunate position of being the Michael Jordan of a fringe sport, so despite his greatness, few know who he is. I'm glad you found him and were able to draw inspiration!

                      Joe- I love the attitude! Seeing that ad as a challenge and having that burning desire to conquer it shows an impressive level of drive and will.

                      Fenne - The Mighty Atom was impressive indeed. I cannot fathom attempting some of his more obscure feats like biting coins in half.

                      Bill - As much inspiration as you give to MILO readers like myself, I'm 100% positive that you are providing tremendous inspiration to your son'

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Mine is pretty easy. That would be my brother. He started buying Strength and Health in 1965, and rapidly expanded to the other major magazines as well. As a pre-teen and young teen there were many guys in the magazines that I admired. I suppose John Grimek was a type of sincere straight shooter father figure, and the cool guys for me were Larry Scott with his perfect arms and Sergio with his overall outrageous physique. I took up long distance running a few years later, but continued to follow the Iron Game to the extent that my brother shared it with me. And, lifted weights to try to keep a few pounds on me. I weighed 160, and otherwise would have weighed about 145 (at 6 foot one) if I had not trained with weights.
                        My brother gave me a Captain of Crush Trainer for Christmas 1998, and that started a whole new interest for me. Going to AOBS the first time (2005) was almost surreal for me, as there were many who I recognized from my childhood. So, yes, my brother, no one even close.

                        But my "middle age and on influences"? Boy, too many to list. About 20 different people quite frankly, some I met at AOBS, some at competitions, and some, believe it or not, on the Internet. I'll just throw Joe Kinney's name out, and Stanless Steel, and Slim Farman...all because of the tremendous faith that they have in themselves to do the near impossible. And, I remember some young faceless competitors and their friends at the first grip contest in which I was a participant, March 2004. I was underwhelmed by some of them, but at an advanced age, I figured "if these guys can close Number 3's, I certainly ought to be able to do it too".

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Fenne Muhonen wrote:
                          “… … Joe kinney is good example of such a person. He did something that is beyond comprehensible to me and that is so cool to think about. … …”,

                          Paul Mouser wrote:
                          “... … Joe- I love the attitude! Seeing that ad as a challenge and having that burning desire to conquer it shows an impressive level of drive and will. … ...”,

                          and Mike Corlett wrote:
                          “... … I'll just throw Joe Kinney's name out, and Stanless Steel, and Slim Farman...all because of the tremendous faith that they have in themselves to do the near impossible. … ...”


                          Thank you for the kind words, guys. That was a long time ago.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            After reading some of these other posts, I realized I didn't acknowledge my brother for the influence he had on my lifting. He is 5 1/2 years older than me and it was his Muscle Builder magazines that got me hooked to begin with. He was the one that paid for my first gym membership (George Turner's Gym). He's the one that got me interested in lifting and Muay Thai (and martial arts in general). Back in 1977, at the age of 17, he was training in Muay Thai, long before most of the rest of the world ever heard of it. Around that same age, after I'd gone to bed, he'd come home late at night and start working out (the weights were in our bedroom in the basement) and he would wake me up (12 years old at the time) just so I could spot him while he bench pressed. He still lifts, still trains Muay Thai and reads MILO. He was definitely a huge influence on me.
                            http://www.strengthoftheword.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Craig T. Covington View Post
                              After reading some of these other posts, I realized I didn't acknowledge my brother for the influence he had on my lifting. He is 5 1/2 years older than me and it was his Muscle Builder magazines that got me hooked to begin with. He was the one that paid for my first gym membership (George Turner's Gym). He's the one that got me interested in lifting and Muay Thai (and martial arts in general). Back in 1977, at the age of 17, he was training in Muay Thai, long before most of the rest of the world ever heard of it. Around that same age, after I'd gone to bed, he'd come home late at night and start working out (the weights were in our bedroom in the basement) and he would wake me up (12 years old at the time) just so I could spot him while he bench pressed. He still lifts, still trains Muay Thai and reads MILO. He was definitely a huge influence on me.
                              Now that is some dedication to the iron and sport right there! 1777-current. Wow

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                After some further reflection, I realized that I had failed to mention someone who influenced me during the time I was training. That person is none other than the great David Horne. Not only did we communicate by letter(s) on several occasions, David sent me his newsletters on a regular basis (along with many back-issues). These are really classic grip strength write-ups. They were very motivational, too.

                                There were articles about guys who were doing incredible grip stuff. The fact that many of these grip superstars were regular size people struck a chord with me as well. It was in one of these newsletters that I saw a picture of David Horne performing a super-heavy wrist curl with his forearms on a table. This is something that I tried, having no idea how stressful a predicament this can become. One try was plenty for me.

                                So, anyway; despite the fact that I didn't have access to computers, and despite that fact that there were no groups or forums at that time, David Horne saw to it that I got a steady dose of motivation from across the world.
                                Fine feller, that David is.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Joe Kinney View Post
                                  After some further reflection, I realized that I had failed to mention someone who influenced me during the time I was training. That person is none other than the great David Horne. Not only did we communicate by letter(s) on several occasions, David sent me his newsletters on a regular basis (along with many back-issues). These are really classic grip strength write-ups. They were very motivational, too.

                                  There were articles about guys who were doing incredible grip stuff. The fact that many of these grip superstars were regular size people struck a chord with me as well. It was in one of these newsletters that I saw a picture of David Horne performing a super-heavy wrist curl with his forearms on a table. This is something that I tried, having no idea how stressful a predicament this can become. One try was plenty for me.

                                  So, anyway; despite the fact that I didn't have access to computers, and despite that fact that there were no groups or forums at that time, David Horne saw to it that I got a steady dose of motivation from across the world.
                                  Fine feller, that David is.
                                  Joe, I am curious. Did David write to you? Is that how first contact was made? I first heard of David, not from the Internet, but from MILO Magazine. I sent away for a subscription for his "Iron Grip" magazine/publication based on an ad in MILO.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Mike Corlett View Post
                                    Joe, I am curious. Did David write to you? Is that how first contact was made? I first heard of David, not from the Internet, but from MILO Magazine. I sent away for a subscription for his "Iron Grip" magazine/publication based on an ad in MILO.
                                    Mike,

                                    I'm sure that's what happened. He wrote first, introduced himself, etc.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I think you guys were both running ads at the same time in MILO. Your "Get A Grip" video, and his "Iron Grip" magazine. Heck, that's how I ended up buying both!
                                      Mike

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I'll go another direction with someone that influenced my training...

                                        A friend of mine that I got into lifting with as a young buck liked to train in interesting ways. By "interesting", I mean nonsensical. This guy would randomly decide what movements he was going to do, and would generally go so heavy on most movements that they ceased to be the exercise that they were intended to be. This friend, who shall remain nameless, "trained" this way for years. Consequently, despite a smaller bone structure and significantly lower body weight, I was stronger than him in many movements. The experience of seeing my buddy refuse to follow a plan and thus fail to gain strength and muscle reinforced the idea that one needed an outline to follow based on achieving goals. Strength wasn't built by randomly deciding that a particular lift sounded fun on a given day and then training that lift, usually to the point that it was a bastardized slop-fest.

                                        Consequently, once my buddy got out of these habits, and started having more structure to his training, he became very strong. In fact, he is now in the ball park of a 700lb deadlift and hopes to hit it in the next few months.

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