Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton was a strongwoman born in 1917 in Santa Monica, California. Despite the fact that she weighed around 115 pounds at a height of 5’2″, “Pudgy” got her nickname as a child and it stuck until the end of her days.
Abbye and her husband Les Stockton, whom she married in 1941, trained regularly at Muscle Beach where they worked primarily on gymnastics and acrobatics. Their training as partners started after Les convinced Abbye to start training with a pair of dumbbells he bought, as she needed to lose some weight accumulated through sedentary lifestyle of a telephone operator.
Soon enough, they started training together on a regular basis at Santa Monica’s Muscle Beach and the most popular feat by this due was an overhead hand to hand handstand, where Pudgy was the one supporting her 180 pounds husband.
This was during the 1940’s, so an idea of a woman lifting weights on a regular basis wasn’t a common occurrence. She was practically a breath of fresh air, featured on the covers of many magazines like Strength & Health, Life, Pic and Laff. By the 1950, she posed for more than forty magazines. She was sometimes referred to as “the female John Grimek“, as he was considered to be the best built man in the world.
In 1947, Pudgy helped in organization of the first weight lifting contest for women in LA and just a year later she won one herself, acquiring “Miss Physical Culture Venus” title. Abbye Pudgy Stockton died in 2006 due to Alzheimer’s complications, at the age of 88.
Abbye preferred a handstand with a natural arch in the back , which is perfectly fine! On the other hand, if you’d prefer to learn how to do a straight handstand, check out this article.