Isometric Exercises -
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Isometric Exercises - The History

Alexander Zass -The Amazing Samson

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Alexander Zass was born in Vilna, Poland in 1888, but lived most of his early years in Russia and after 1924 in Britain.

He lifted a 500 pound girder with his teeth, carried a small horse, caught a woman fired from a cannon and allowed professional boxers to hit him in the stomach.

His greatest talents were in bending steel bars and breaking chains which were the center piece of his music hall exhibitions.

Tree Climbing

At first Alexander Zass developed himself by climbing trees, running and with home made dumbbells and barbells.

Later he trained under some of the great Russian professional strongmen including Krelov, Anokhin, and Demetrioff who taught their systems in person and through correspondence.

Anokhin taught his system to George Lurich who eventually became famous as a world champion strongman and wrestler.

Alexander Zass was very innovative and started bending green branches and twigs to develop his grip strength.

Perhaps this was the start of his great belief in the application of isometrics exercise and "maximum tension" (a concept that is present in Russian training methods to this day) for the development of strength.

He believed such an approach superior to the use of weights in developing strength.

Isometrics Exercise

Iso exercise was later validated in the 1920's by scientist studying the effects of inactivity on the muscles.

In one experiment, using a frog, with its legs tightly bound together to prevent any movement and kept that way for a long time, scientist discovered that the frogs legs were significantly larger and more muscular than the control group of frogs who’s legs were not bound.

Frog Leg's Prove Isometrics Works

The frogs that had their legs bound had strained against the bindings struggling to get free.

This contracting and tensing against their bindings had resulted in this incredible muscular growth.

But this was all before Alexander Zass had figured out the very same thing while in prison.

In fact... while a prisoner of war he continued to develop his strength with the use of isometric exercises by pulling on the bars and chains.

This episode and the knowledge that he obtained from it later became the basis of his mail order course which featured isometric exercises in the form of pulling on chains of various lengths.

Alexander Zass lived a very full and exciting life on many fronts. In addition to being a strongman he was also an accomplished animal trainer. At one time he worked for military intelligence in Russia and later as cover for his manager, Captain Howard, who was a British secret agent.

Zass lived to the age of 74, but what's strange is that his death at this old age did not come from natural causes. Instead he was found murdered in 1962

An unfitting end to the father of Isometric Exercises 1888 - 1962

Stay tuned for more articles in this build muscle guide on isometrics training, isometrics exercise and their effectiveness.


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