Charles Rigoulot was a strongman from France born in 1903 who started training with weights as a child. Aside from setting numerous weightlifting world records and winning the gold medal in the light-heavyweight class during 1924 Summer Olympics, Charles was also a race car driver, an actor and a professional wrestler. He certainly didn’t waste his time.
In just 3 years, from 1923 to 1926, Charles managed to set ten world records in weightlifting. One of those was one-handed snatch with 253 pounds, while Charles himself weighed only 215 lb.
Other interesting records include clean & jerk of 400+ pounds using the non-rotating barbell and lifting Louis Uni’s “Apollon Railway Car Wheels” overhead, which weighed around 366 pounds. Charles took part in 1937 Le Mans race, competed against names like Strangler Lewis and Henri DeGlane in wrestling and even escaped from a prison during World War II. He was actually able to bend the bars of his cell and beat the Nazi officer guarding him to allow himself and several other prisoners to escape. Pretty amazing stuff.
For a brief time, Charles performed in the circus as a catcher in 1932, but also joined a theater to sing and act. Lifting wise, he specialized in quick lifts and was considered to be the best one-arm snatcher in the world. To compete against other and gain an edge, he constructed the Challenge Barbell which was quite long (over 8 feet) with two shot-loaded globes at each end. The “secret” to this barbell is that it was extremely springy, which allowed Charles Rigoulot to improve his lifts through regular training with this barbell. His competitors had a lot of trouble with the rebound effect, so they couldn’t even lift the weight they normally would.
Charles Rigoulot died on August 22, 1962 at the age of 58.
If oldtime strongmen could diversify their training activities and still perform amazingly, there are no reasons why we couldn’t do the same. Check out this page and I bet you’ll find something you need to work on.