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Joe Roark

60th Anniversary of Paul Anderson's Back Lift

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Joe Roark

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June 12, 1957 was the claimed day for the back lift by Paul Anderson of 6, 270 lbs.

Here are my thoughts and questions on the lift.

Unjustly Curious.doc

Anderson_safe_6.jpg

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Liam Tweed

This is a good piece of work Joe

I have not been following all the detail in the forum discussions on this topic and after reading your report I now have a clear understanding of the issues  .

the fundamental issue here that your detractors are missing is that we are dealing with a claim that stands amoung all of those that define the absolutes of human performance and as such have to be accurate by their very nature.

while the back lift is obscure and seldom practiced it appears to reoresent the lift that enables a man to elevate the most poundage refer the Guinness book of records claim for the most weight ever lifted

when a claim of a world record is made it stands as a barrier that others need to surpass but what if this claim is false?

a false claim is disrespectful not only to those that came before and their hard work and achievements but  to those that come after who have to now exceed what was in essence a fictitious mark.

I have a feeling that this may have been one of those cases where mistakes were made in setting up the event ( assuming weights of safe and platform) and after the event the things just ran away with themselves until falsehoods became reality.

In reslity nobody will ever beat this claimed lift because as it stands it may well be beyond human abilities.

Liam

 

 

 

 

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Joe Roark

Here is a shot of a larger cannonball safe- this was much larger than Paul used in his back lift. This is the very one that some thieves tried to steal from where it is shown here- and they blew all the shocks in their truck.

largecannonball.jpg

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Bob Wildes

I had a similar looking safe in an office that I rented from 2002-2005. The office had been an independent bank

in a then, sleepy burg, 

The safe was inside a vault. I made sure never to shut the door to that vault or the door to that safe. I seriously doubt

there was a tradesman in that town that could have opened either and if there was it would cost an "arm and a leg".

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Dale Credico

Awesome, Joe . . . the day is here finally.
I am so looking forward to giving this a close read tonight!

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Debbie Jacobs

I enjoyed reading your article on the 60th anniversary of the 1957 Anderson back lift! I found it to be well researched, objective, and fair.

I think this claim gained credibility once it was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records, thus making it ‘official’. (Although I’m not sure if the people at Guinness ever attempted to explain why the back lift weight varied over the years, going from 6,000 lbs to 6,200 lbs before settling on 6,270 lbs. This variation leads to more questions – who reported any of this to Guinness and why did the numbers change?). Readers of GBWR probably assumed that certain criteria were met – that the feat was witnessed and verified, and that the separate components of the back lift were weighed in order to accurately reach the 6,270 lb total.  I understand that Guinness has since removed the entry, but the claim still stood for many years.

The fact that you began this endeavor to prove the back lift as a way to honor Anderson’s accomplishments, only to come to the realization that not only could you not prove the back lift, you found the whole thing to be mostly likely false, must have been very disheartening.  However, facts are facts, and the details surrounding this claim are simply too sketchy to verify anything.  I have read enough on your forum on this subject to know that you welcome credible information that would support an opposing point of view - one that could prove that Anderson's back lift took place as claimed.

Thank you for the interesting read. The only way to preserve any history is to require facts to support claims – and that is what you have done here.

 

 

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Joe Roark
22 minutes ago, Debbie Jacobs said:

I enjoyed reading your article on the 60th anniversary of the 1957 Anderson back lift! I found it to be well researched, objective, and fair.

I think this claim gained credibility once it was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records, thus making it ‘official’. (Although I’m not sure if the people at Guinness ever attempted to explain why the back lift weight varied over the years, going from 6,000 lbs to 6,200 lbs before settling on 6,270 lbs. This variation leads to more questions – who reported any of this to Guinness and why did the numbers change?). Readers of GBWR probably assumed that certain criteria were met – that the feat was witnessed and verified, and that the separate components of the back lift were weighed in order to accurately reach the 6,270 lb total.  I understand that Guinness has since removed the entry, but the claim still stood for many years.

The fact that you began this endeavor to prove the back lift as a way to honor Anderson’s accomplishments, only to come to the realization that not only could you not prove the back lift, you found the whole thing to be mostly likely false, must have been very disheartening.  However, facts are facts, and the details surrounding this claim are simply too sketchy to verify anything.  I have read enough on your forum on this subject to know that you welcome credible information that would support an opposing point of view - one that could prove that Anderson's back lift took place as claimed.

Thank you for the interesting read. The only way to preserve any history is to require facts to support claims – and that is what you have done here.

 

 

Thank you. This article was announced one year ago to give members ( or during the several months we opened the forum, nonmembers) time to present views, pro or con on the back lift.

As you mention, and as virtually all of Paul's obituaries did, the listing in Guinness was included as the verification for the lift. Remove that listing, as in fact Guinness did and the details supporting the feat fade fast.

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Dale Credico

A great job of essay/article writing, Joe! Just a fine piece of work, easy to read, entertaining in parts BUT always centering on and directing attention to the FACTS (and fallacies) while driving home the conclusion. Also, I truly enjoyed your wordplay and the recurring 'dust' and 'shadow' metaphors, along with several other truly creative touches.

Perfect!!! And thanks for all the work you put in to get this done.

Edited by Dale Credico
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Joe Roark
6 hours ago, Dale Credico said:

A great job of essay/article writing, Joe! Just a fine piece of work, easy to read, entertaining in parts BUT always centering on and directing attention to the FACTS (and fallacies) while driving home the conclusion. Also, I truly enjoyed your wordplay and the recurring 'dust' and 'shadow' metaphors, along with several other truly creative touches.

Perfect!!! And thanks for all the work you put in to get this done.

Thank you, Dale. Coming from you I have a smile on my face. (where else would I have a smile?)

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Jim Duggan

This has been very educational for me. I remember reading the Guinness Book of World Records as a kid, and seeing Paul Anderson and his "world record" back lift, even though I had no idea as to what the heck a back lift even was. I do remember that the issue that I had, showed him lifting a barbell off the floor. At the time, I just assumed that he was performing his record back lift. 

As has been mentioned, facts are facts. And you can't hide from the truth. People may try to suppress it, but the truth always comes out. I really appreciate being able to learn so much about this topic. It has been a real "eye-opener" for me.

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Joe Roark
5 minutes ago, Jim Duggan said:

This has been very educational for me. I remember reading the Guinness Book of World Records as a kid, and seeing Paul Anderson and his "world record" back lift, even though I had no idea as to what the heck a back lift even was. I do remember that the issue that I had, showed him lifting a barbell off the floor. At the time, I just assumed that he was performing his record back lift. 

As has been mentioned, facts are facts. And you can't hide from the truth. People may try to suppress it, but the truth always comes out. I really appreciate being able to learn so much about this topic. It has been a real "eye-opener" for me.

Thank you, Jim. I am braced for the usual bullets of how it is disrespectful and so on to examine past lifts, but I cannot help those who close their eyes when they read. Plus rebuttals are always welcomed- they would be more beneficial to the game than simply becoming upset.

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Daniel Ducartier
4 hours ago, Jim Duggan said:

This has been very educational for me

This whole site is very educational for me. I learn something new every two hours. Amazing.

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Liam Tweed
On 6/12/2017 at 4:48 AM, Joe Roark said:

Members may reply, non-members may only read.

June 12, 1957 was the claimed day for the back lift by Paul Anderson of 6, 270 lbs.

Here are my thoughts and questions on the lift.

Unjustly Curious.doc

Anderson_safe_6.jpg

I see as part of the celebration of this feat some. Sources are also mentioning Paul's official 1200 lbs squat and 627 bench press . I was not aware that these were done under official conditions am I wrong?

also mentioned is an unofficial 560 lb push press ? Does this claim have any credibility seems beyond even Paul's abilities given his jerk was never very far off his best press 

Liam

 

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Joe Roark
2 hours ago, Liam Tweed said:

I see as part of the celebration of this feat some. Sources are also mentioning Paul's official 1200 lbs squat and 627 bench press . I was not aware that these were done under official conditions am I wrong?

also mentioned is an unofficial 560 lb push press ? Does this claim have any credibility seems beyond even Paul's abilities given his jerk was never very far off his best press 

Liam

 

When I return home later today I will reply more fully but for now, has anyone seen any photos of these lifts or have dates for them, or witnesses or locations?

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Liam Tweed
25 minutes ago, Joe Roark said:

When I return home later today I will reply more fully but for now, has anyone seen any photos of these lifts or have dates for them, or witnesses or locations?

I seem to recall some mention that Bob Hasse may have witnessed the push press and that this was at muscle beach but this was not mentioned in the mail I received this morning that contained these numbers.

i have heard the 1200 and 627 claims before but to my understanding the squat number was a reference to the claimed weight of the apparatus used in his stage act not an actual lift conducted under official conditions. 

Liam

 

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Joe Roark
5 minutes ago, Liam Tweed said:

I seem to recall some mention that Bob Hasse may have witnessed the push press and that this was at muscle beach but this was not mentioned in the mail I received this morning that contained these numbers.

i have heard the 1200 and 627 claims before but to my understanding the squat number was a reference to the claimed weight of the apparatus used in his stage act not an actual lift conducted under official conditions. 

Liam

 

Somehow the Silver Doller Squat in Reno at the Mapes Hotel went from 600 to 900 to 1100 to 1200 lbs it seems even though the weights stayed unchanged.

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Liam Tweed

I have coped an extract of the mail , an ensured there is no reference to the sender , which would be unfair and anyway i like and respect the man.

But ,maybe we can clinically assess these claims as representative of the facts and mythology that surround Paul Anderson

I think this will be a useful exercise for all of us and shoud'nt diminish the respoect we have for the man

Liam

 

here is the extract which is fact which is possible and which is pure fiction ?

 

On June 12th 1957, in his home town of Toccoa, Georgia, Paul Anderson raised 6270 pounds slightly off trestles for an unofficial world record in the backlift.

 This lift is included in the “Guinness Book of World Records” as the greatest weight ever lifted by a human being.

 The following powerlifts are also listed by Guinness:

 Squat: 1,200 lb (raw)

Bench press: 627 lb (raw)

Deadlift: 820 lb (raw)

 Here are Paul Anderson’s best unofficial Olympic lifts in his gym:

 Clean and press: 485 lb

Snatch: 375 lb

Clean and jerk: 485 lb

 This is a listing of other lifts done in exhibitions or training:

 Full squat: 1,206 lb

Half squat: 1,200 lb

Quarter squat: 1,800 lb for two reps

Assisted deadlift: 1,000 lb (using metal hooks attached to his wrists)

Push press: 560 lb (off the rack)

Military press: 435 lb

One-arm side press: 380 lb

 

 

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Joe Roark

There is also a claim for a 720 lb jerk from the rack.

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Bob Fett
43 minutes ago, Joe Roark said:

There is also a claim for a 720 lb jerk from the rack.

Am I mistaken or was there something about the parting of the Red Sea?

;)

These claims are in the realm of science fiction.

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Joe Roark
11 minutes ago, Bob Fett said:

Am I mistaken or was there something about the parting of the Red Sea?

;)

These claims are in the realm of science fiction.

Yet, at the time, not a contrary word was written.

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Ed Mines

my recollection is he like Doug Hepburn did some exhibitions after lifting contests using the same barbells. how about a list of those lifts?

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Liam Tweed

 

Just now, Ed Mines said:

my recollection is he like Doug Hepburn did some exhibitions after lifting contests using the same barbells. how about a list of those lifts?

agreed

that was my thinking exactly

Liam

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Joe Roark
1 hour ago, Ed Mines said:

my recollection is he like Doug Hepburn did some exhibitions after lifting contests using the same barbells. how about a list of those lifts?

Exhibitions, plural? When were those?

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Liam Tweed
12 hours ago, Joe Roark said:

Exhibitions, plural? When were those?

There have been several references in Lifting News and iron man magazine to demonstrations by Paul Anderson given as part of powerlifting contests. Whether or not these were frequent I am not sure.

not a problem to source these one just sits with ones pile of lifting news mags and pulls out the details of dates an performances along with comments of depth of squat etc

I agree with Ed that the weights lifted at these shows should be what we use to estimate PA actual peak strength, although I seem to recall that Paul would bring some plates (100 lb plates?) to use in his squats? 

I seem to recall a 900 lb x2 squat with good depth , obviously no support gear. this is of course an exceptional lift even for today.

However it is a big stretch to 1200 lb, to use this a standard based on a Vagas act , which is nothing more than a circus side show ...also the apparatus is non standard , even if it did weigh 1200lbs , what of it? The construct of the apparatus was so far off a standard barbell , who knows how that would compare with 1200 setup on a barbell.

So maybe Paul was able to do an unassisted 1000lb squat , that would still place him at the Top of the all time squatters, how many of todays top supers can squat 1000 RAW?

but 1000 is not 1200 .This claim assumes PA was as strong unassisted as the current best assisted super heavies . That is too much of a stretch even for a die hard PA fan like myself.

Liam

 

 

 

Edited by Liam Tweed

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Liam Tweed

The 627 lb bench press is somewhat more difficult to assess. I am not sure if PA did that much benching in his demonstrations it seems to be more squatting than any other lift.

So one will have to dig around to mags to look for references to a witnessed bench press attempt. I think this lift could have been within his capabilities as the top benchers of last few decades see to have been capable of approx. 700 lbs raw. 

Certainly he practiced this lift as part of his training for the Olympic press which was in the 400 + range and done in fairly strict style. 

Now that I think about it Paul's demonstrations were likely to include an Olympic press rather than a bench press as I guess this was the pressing feat that would have made the most impact at that time .

I have personally witnessed 600lb bench presses in competition even here in SA , always performed by very big men , of obvious athletic talent usually in the body weight range of 275 - 330lbs so I believe the 627 claim would have been within PA's abilities

 

Liam

 

 

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