Abbye Pudgy Stockton

In Strongman Mastery by Admin2 Comments

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.

Abbye performing a handstand

Abbye performing a handstand


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.

Abbye "Pudgy" Stockton supporting her husband

Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton supporting her 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.

"Pudgy" training with a barbell on a beach

“Pudgy” training with a barbell at a beach

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.

Strongwoman Abbye Pudgy Stockton holding 17 year old Glenn Sundby in a handstand.

Strongwoman Abbye Pudgy Stockton holding 17 year old Glenn Sundby in a handstand.

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.



  1. women can be capable of amazing physical feats..sad that not many know of or will admit it :[

    Pudgy is inspiring!!

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