George Zottman was a strongman born in 1867 in Philadelphia who set numerous records, some of which still haven’t been broken, like the dumbbell press. George was able to clean & press 175 pounds heavy dumbbell while sitting on a chair, which is something no one else managed to achieve since then.
He was The Strongest Man in the United States during 1890’s, which isn’t a wonder considering his vastly shoulder width of 24 inches. This type of physique was quite rare back then, especially when you combine it with 19 inches biceps and amazingly thick forearms – 15 inches!
At his prime, Zottman weighed 218 pounds and stood 5’11”. Something that even Arthur Saxon may be jealous of, Zottman managed to bent press 264 pounds, in a one hand clean & bent press style. Not many oldtime strongmen had forearms like George Zottman, which were perfectly crafted for gripping feats. If you’ve heard of The Zottman Curl, now you know how this workout got its name.
To do the Zottman Curl, grab two dumbbells using supinated grip with your wrist angled back just a bit. Curl dumbbells and when they reach the top position rotate them for 180 degrees and straighten the wrists. Now slowly lower them to the initial position, where you’ll rotate your hands again for 180 degrees and repeat the whole move again. Zottman did this exercise with two pairs of 50 pounds dumbbells. The only downside of this workout is that it puts a lot of pressure on the elbows, which is definitely something to consider before you start doing them.
There is an interesting story about a contest in late twenties in Philadelphia. One of the contestants who had really good grip strength pinched grip two 50 pounds heavy plates and brought them over to one of the judges and asked him if he could do the same. The judge was old, but he picked up those plates and held them for a while. But then, he lifted them to the shoulder level and kept them there for some time. You can probably guess the name of this judge!