Ghulam Muhammad, better known as The Great Gama was a wrestler and strongman born in 1880 in British India. He was most famous for long and successful wrestling career as he remained undefeated for more than 50 years, but his training methods and feats of strength he used to perform also played a role in his popularity.
Ghulam was trained by his father, who was also a successful wrestler, at a very young age. General public noticed Ghulam when he appeared at a strongman competition at the age of 10. With more than 400 wrestlers and participants in this competition (which featured many tough exercises, like Indian squats), Ghulam Muhammad managed to secure his place among the last fifteen wrestlers. Since he showed incredible dedication and endurance for his age, The Great Gama was pronounced a winner of this competition.
Only nine years later, The Great Gama issued a challenge against the Indian wrestling champion Raheem Baksh who was much taller than him. Gama himself stood at 5’7″, while his opponent was 6’9″ tall. Imagine the advantage Raheem had against Ghulam in this match! Long story short, The Great Gama managed to win this fight which marked the turning point in his career. Many other well-known wrestlers like Stanislaus Zbysko, Dr. Benjamir Roller, Maurice Deriaz and John Lemm all suffered the same fate of losing a match against Ghulam.
At the age of 22, The Great Gama traveled to Baroda to compete in wrestling. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find a match and decided to do something else instead. He lifted 1200kg stone (2645 pounds) up to his chest and dropped it down after carrying it for a while. It was 2.5 feet in height and it’s still kept at Baroda Museum for display.
Gama’s diet included 2 gallons of milk per day mixed with 1.5 pound of crushed almond paste and fruit juice. He trained every day, performing 5000 hindu squats and 3000 hindu pushups. He performed squats while wearing 200 pounds apparatus and had someone rub him with dry mustard after every workout session.
Another interesting fact about this great man is that he had a major influence on many, including Bruce Lee himself. After reading about Gama’s amazing strength, Lee decided to incorporate Gama’s training methods in his own routine, which probably helped him to achieve the legendary status he has today.
The Great Gama died in 1960 after a long history of heart-related conditions.
Don’t forget to check out this page for 12 Classics on Strength and Health by old-time strongmen.