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Strongman Paul Anderson Push Pressing 625 Pounds (1955)

By John Grimek

Edited by: Strength Oldschool

This article refers to Paul Anderson Push Pressing 625 lbs from shoulder to chin level – incredibly strong!

Strongman Paul Anderson Overhead Pressing

Before the USA team left for Munich they worked here in York. Clyde Emrich and Jim George, however, arrived almost a week before and have been training regularly with Chuck Vinci, the bantam. Jim George is the younger brother of Pete, who lifts almost identically in the same style as Pete. Many of you will remember that Pete was a poor presser as compared to his other lifts, but by persistent practice and conscientious effort he succeeded in reaching the point where he can press 260 to 270 lbs in excellent form.

His brother Jim is about the same; good on the quick lifts but still lagging in the press, which he is working on to improve. Being only twenty years of age and a good competitor, he should improve considerably. No one expects him to win but outside of the Russians we doubt if anyone will beat him, so he should win a place in the championships.

In training here last Friday, the lifter who continues to amaze everyone is the massive Anderson, and massive he is! He looks as if he gained another 100 lbs in the past year. Most of us agree that he might tip the scales at 400 lbs before too long, although he weighs around 345 lbs (24 stone 9 lb !) now.

Massive Strongman Paul Anderson

Strongman Paul Anderson Taking up two Seats on a Plane

While the fellows continued to warm up and make lifts, Anderson calmly sat on one of the benches sipping honey and gulping some milk, and then decided to warm up himself. He began loading the barbell until the chap who was helping him asked, "How much weight do you want? " "235 lbs " was the casual answer!

It's been a long time since we saw that much weight used for warming up. He brought the weight to his chest easily and then, much easier than we anticipated, he pressed it several repetitions, just as any lifter who could press 300 takes 200 and makes a few warm up Presses.

Back again he sat on his bench. Another sip of honey, another gulp or two of milk. After five or ten minutes they loaded the bar to 395 lbs. This was his second attempt with a weight that was near his world record. We heard some rumours that he was pressing around 440 lbs, but when we asked him this question, he said it was just rumours. He brought the 395 lbs to his chest by employing a fairly low clean squat, but came up as if he were doing a squat without any weight at all, so easily it appeared. He then pressed it overhead easier than I've seen other heavyweights press 300, not once but three times!

Strongman Paul Anderson Pressing

He might reach 450 lbs !

Everyone who witnessed this lifting had to yell with laughter at the ease which Anderson pressed this weight. More resting, more honey and milk and then he was back again asking for 415 lbs. This poundage represented more weight than his accepted world's record, but no one will deny that he did not press this weight overhead with ease. Everyone agreed this was more weight than any, who were present, ever saw pressed, and it seemed evident that Anderson would press at least 425 lbs at the world championships and possibly the 440 lbs he was rumoured to have pressed previously. He did say, however, that if his clean was easy he could press easier. We're looking forward to him making 450 lbs before long, possibly at the next Olympics, if all goes well with him.

As the lifters warmed up for the Snatch, Anderson sat by watching, still taking a sip of honey and drinking his milk. When the lifters had progressed to a heavier weight, Anderson took 270 lbs for his warm up, making it easily. Back to his resting place... by this time, he was working on his second quart of milk and called for 305 lbs for his second attempt. The weight flew up nicely and this concluded his lifting workout.

When asked why he didn't practice more snatching and cleaning, he replied that he doesn't train too much on actual lifting but practices more of the power exercises, and his favourite is the one I have always recommended to those who wanted to improve their Presses and Jerks - by supporting a heavy weight on the chest in such a way as if you're going to press it.

No one but Anderson!

Strongman Paul Anderson - Muscle Beach Shoulder Pressing

Anderson amazed everyone by loading the bar to 625 lbs and sent the weight almost to the top of his head several times! I've held that much weight on my chest years ago, but I have never been able to move it, much less get it that high! And I doubt if anyone ever did outside of Anderson. Later he performed several squats with this weight... just to keep his thighs limber, or so he says!

Strongman Paul Anderson Squatting

Everyone seemed to enjoy their last workout before they left the next day. Bradford, however, didn't show up till later and took his workout that evening. Pete George was flown over earlier by the army. His brother Jim informed us he was in the armed service. Members of the team included Chuck Vinci, Tommy Kono, Jim George, Clyde Emmrich, Jim Bradford and Anderson. Hoffman was coach, Terpak trainer and Johnson manager. Alan Hool our Mexican representative, went along on the trip as a spectator.

Olympic Weightlifting Legend Norbert Schemansky

Norbert Schemansky (photo above) and Sheppard didn't make the trip because each was confined to his job and unable to get off. I hinted at Sheppard giving up lifting last month, but then I wasn't positive and felt sure that he might get back into training. However, he doesn't seem to be interested at the moment and may never be again, but there is still some chance that the lure of the coming Olympics may stir within his chest and find him getting into shape for this event. But only time can bear out this statement. Schemansky is so busy learning the finer points of police work that he is attending a special school for the police, so could not get the time off to compete in the world championships. He planned entering the midheavyweight class. With he and Sheppard holding that position, it's doubtful if the Russians could score against them, but the sad part of this is that both these men, who were potential winners, didn't even make the trip.

The American team has little chance of winning. They have some hope of getting three, possibly four championships, but actually, the only sure title which can be preconcluded is in the heavyweight class. The others who have some chance and might come through are: Chuck Vinci, Pete George and Tommy Kono (photo below).

Olympic Weightlifting Legend Tommy Kono

Strongman Paul Anderson and Tommy Kono

The Saturday Evening Post - Aug 23 - 1919

* The Saturday Evening Post - Aug 23 - 1919.

The Saturday Evening Post (photo above is not the actual issue), the October 8 issue, features a rather lengthy article on Paul Anderson, pointing out reasons why he is the world's strongest man. The article is interesting and should bring about many additional converts to the lifting game.

Ever since the Americans visited Russia, lifting has had an added boost, and placed Anderson in the limelight. The governor of Georgia already proclaimed a "Paul Anderson Day" but now the Jr Chamber of Commerce in Toccoa, Georgia, have plans to erect a statue of Anderson at the cross-roads! Goodness only knows what other proclamations will come to pass before the fame of Anderson dies down!

Strongman Paul Anderson Statue

* A recent photo of the Paul Anderson Statue.

One thing I will lay my money on, is that Paul Anderson, providing he wins and makes a record or two, will receive even more outstanding publicity than he did up to now. I predict that after these championships, every man, woman and child will hear or know about Anderson.

Strongman Paul Anderon - 1956 Olympic Weightlifting Champion

* Strongman Paul Anderson did actually go on to win the 1956 Olympic Weightlifting Championships.

John Grimek

NOTE by Strength Oldschool: The above article comes from the attached photos below...

Article 1 - Paul Anderson Push Pressing 625 Pounds

Article 2 - Paul Anderson Push Pressing 625 Pounds


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The following information was provided by Author and Journalist Magnus

"No doubt in my mind at all that Paul could do this. Have you heard of Bob Simpson? He trained mainly with heavy partial lifts and isometrics and, although smaller than Paul (Bob was around 5 feet 7 inches tall, heaviest bodyweight 234 lbs as compared to Paul at 5 feet 9 inches and 375 lbs at his peak) Bob made some mind-boggling lifts in training. These lifts were witnessed by others and included barbell Hack squat with 705 lbs, Bent over barbell rows up to 540 lbs in loose style and believe it or not an olympic style overhead press with 534 lbs! Where Bob really excelled though was in partial lifts – get this a quarter front squat with more than 1,300 lbs! And his favourite exercise was the partial overhead press where he would take a weight above his limit and drive it from his shoulders as high as he could get it. He became so strong at this that on one occasion he pressed a bar higher than his head nearly 3/4 of the way to lockout that weighed 690 lbs! So if Bob could do that it shows that Paul’s lifts were not impossible as he was not the only one who could do them (back in the 1950s he was the only one, Bob Simpson did his best pressing in the 1970s)". ~ Magnus

Strength Legend Bob Simpson

Strength Legend Bob Simpson Heavy Rack Partial Rep Training - 1970s

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