One of my all time favourite lifters of any era is the amazing Marvin Eder. For those of you who don't know about Marvin here's a brief bio from the great physical culture writer David Gentle.
"For decades recognized as one of the most powerful bodybuilders of all time MARVIN EDER a star of the 1950's and pre steroid era, used poundages in basic exercises and trained with an intensity that few even of today's over supplemented or drug assisted bodybuilders, complete with well padded lifting suits can approach, let alone excel. Examples will follow, but consider for now the power of being able to side press single-handed more than your own bodyweight (220lbs at 200lbs b/w) or complete 8 wide grip chins with an extra 200lbs attached ….a real 'lat' stretcher.
Although I was well accustomed to seeing and reading of the ‘Biceps from the Bronx' Marvin Eder in my early training days, it was to be 45 years or later before I actually met him in person in London, at an earlier OHF awards, yet he still radiated keenness and sustained a high interest in bodybuilding and lifting although he was unhappy with the abuse and misuse of steroids. 'Marvin always trained 'naturally' and of course it is a lot tougher than using chemical aids to energize and assist rapid recovery. Natural recuperation takes longer, when your own individual body physiology is ready, but it also builds life long vitality, rather than short term stimulation. Delighted to meet him after such a long time of admiring him from afar, the very first question I asked Marvin, aware of his awesome prowess and power, was "Where the hell did you get your energy from?", and he replied casually, "Just natural I guess. I was full of energy, often trained several times daily' (note we do not recommend other bodybuilders, especially newcomers, attempt to follow his example, Eder was unique).
Although being pictured in many muscle journals of his era, Marvin Eder featured most often and prominently in Joe Weider's 'YOUR PHYSIQUE' and 'MUSCLE POWER' magazines of the late 1940's and early 50's displaying phenomenal power, being one of the first to bench press close to 500lbs at under 200lbs bodyweight. A terrifically strong Olympic presser, i.e. the two hands MILITARY press, his supposedly 'professional' status denied him the opportunity to compete in the USA OLYMPIC team or the AAU Mr. America, both being the losers, as Eder would undoubtedly have won many other top titles in bodybuilding and the Olympic games for America if given the chance.
Earle Liederman, famed 'Muscle By Mail' merchant and author of note said of Marvin on seeing him for first time: 'Under the lights, I particularly observed Marvin's arms which performed a most unusual biceps contraction. His biceps would become fully flexed and remain in that state for a moment, and then with a faint forearm movement, the same biceps took on another contraction so that the belly of the muscle seemed to roll, or creep, towards his deltoid. He did this with either arm. This cannot be fully explained, nor appreciated with words, and must be seen for better wonderment. Anyway you can imagine seeing an 18-inch arm, such as he owns, become bent and then firmly flexed so that the huge baseball size biceps knots up into exceptional height. Right there you become satisfied and your hands applaud, yet right before your eyes, and when you feel that no greater contraction could be made with such a biceps, this same biceps begins to move, starting from the highest point, which apparently separates itself from the mass, to creep inwardly toward the shoulder, thereby causing the biceps to become even larger, though not any higher.”
That should have wet your appetite whether you know about Marvin or not. To read more click HERE
Even today there are few men of any weight that could live with Marvin's lifts. Here's a run down from the Osmo Kiiha's excellent 'The Iron Master' (December 1993).
Clean and Press - 355lbs
Snatch - 285lbs
Clean and Jerk - 345lbs
Clean - 365lbs
Squat - 665lbs (not a max effort)
Bench Press - 515lbs
Floor Press - 530lbs
Dips - 434lbs (with two men hanging from his legs, see picture below)
Dips - 400x7
Chins - 250lbsx1
Strict Curl - 210lbs
DB C and Press - 120lbs for reps
Crucifix - 100lbs Db's
Pullover SA - 210lbs
Remember Marvin always weighed around 200lbs and this was back in the 1950's! I would be overjoyed with those lifts wouldn't you?
Marvin was never able to fulfill his true competitive talents due to being declared a professional (You'll need to read the full article for that story) but I wanted to show you what can be done by the genetically gifted with the right attitude.
In shape or what?
Marvin, with his never beaten by anyone, 434lb dip!