Werner Günthör

The other day I used a sweet picture of Werner Günthör. In an effort to teach all the newer readers, here’s a post I wrote in 2010 about him (with minor edits). 

Meet Werner Günthör, a powerful athlete from Switzerland. Günthör was an athletic shot putter who stood 6’6″ and weighed close to 300 pounds of pure 70’s Bigness (this website lists him at 130kg). His best put was 22.75 meters in 1988 in Bern — that’s about 74.5 feet. Günthör won a bronze medal in the 1988 Olympics as well as three world championships in the late 80s and early 90s. He also won an indoor world championship and European championship. You can find videos of Günthör training on YouTube. His training was awesome, and here’s my favorite video (the last sequence is the best):

How awesome was that? It’s not a bad idea to model conditioning work after Günthör’s plyometric training, particularly jumping and bounding. Ease into these movements, especially if you haven’t done them since high school athletics; plyometrics will initially be stressful on the joints and soft tissue.

Here is another video of Günthör and who I assume is his training partner. The whole video is an impressive showing of athleticism and displays the old school mindset of including related physical conditioning to training.

Ladies will want to fast forward to 1:43.
More intense plyo training at 2:38.
3:33 is the start of a hilarious montage of Günthör doing all kinds of awesome things, including playing tennis. You can’t really get an idea of how massive this guy is until he wedges a racket in his fist. There’s another really funny part that I’ll let you see for yourself, so this would be the best part of the video if you were strapped for time.

Günthör is one of my favorite athletes because of his explosive training and awesome style. A 70’s Big man indeed.

Definitive Hand Care

I hate it. The yellowy built up callus at the base of the fingers can be so thick, it looks like dinosaur DNA could be extracted from the bugs encased within. Lifters and CrossFitters seem to wear calluses as a badge at the expense of scratching their girlfriend’s soft skin, or heavens to Betsy, their own nether region. There’s more detriment than a scratched bosom; calluses are unnecessary unsightly and can rip off. Missing training for a lack of simple hand care is immature.

It’s possible to keep callus and dry skin off your hands. It’s possible to still develop thicker skin that is resistance to barbell knurling stress, but still supple enough to give a loving massage. A lifter’s hands should be like leather: tough and protecting for lifting, but soft and supple at home for activities. Chalk Talk #22 shows you how:

Chalk Talk #15 – RDL

Be sure to check out “The RDL“.

This is a bit of a longer Chalk Talk, but it comprehensively covers the why, how, coaching cues, and programming of the RDL. Between the video and the linked article above, you’ll be a poster chain master.

Chalk Talk #14 – Strapped for Time

This particular video tackles the problem a lot of people have during the holiday season: a lack of time for training. You don’t have to have an “all or nothing” attitude with your program. Even doing a short training session is better than none at all, and the chronic effect of training is more important than what you do today. It doesn’t have to be heavy, it doesn’t have to be a lot, but it does need to be systemic. The video shows an example of a quick workout as well as providing other examples with all the reasons why.

Chalk Talk #13 – Banded Squat

The ‘banded squat’ is merely wrapping a band around the thighs and performing an unloaded squat to work on the active external rotation in the hips. This exercise can be a powerful tool for trainees with inefficient glutes, problems with the knees coming in during the squat, and even piriformis or glute medius issues. The video talks about execution and cues, why they are beneficial, and how to program them.