Karl Morke

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Karl Morke was a German strongman and world champion weightlifter born in 1893. Both of his parents were sports enthusiasts, so Karl started training with different objects at a very early age. His family couldn’t afford real weights, so he had to train with odd objects at that time. When Karl turned 14, things stayed pretty much the same as he continued his training in a railroad depot, using various heavy objects instead of real weights.

Karl Morke supporting 4 people on his body while holding loaded barbell

Karl Morke supporting 4 people while holding loaded barbell

Finally, two years later Karl Morke started training at local weightlifting club with his brother. It took him only a year to get ready for several weightlifting competitions he won in 1910 and ten more to become a professional weightlifter. In 1920 he traveled to the United States to compete and find a better life, only to come back about 11 years later to his home country where he joined a circus.

Karl Morke jerking 375 pounds

Karl Morke jerking 375 pounds

Some of his notable records:


1919 Snatch 220 lbs Super Heavyweight Munich
1919 Press 253 lbs Super Heavyweight Munich
1919 Clean and Jerk 330 lbs Super Heavyweight Munich
1920 Press 264 lbs Super Heavyweight Stuttgart
1920 Clean and Jerk 341 lbs Super Heavyweight Stuttgart
1920 Total (3) 804 lbs Super Heavyweight Munich
1920 Total (3) 837 lbs Super Heavyweight Stuttgart

He stood only 5’2 and weighed 242 pounds with big 33 inches thighs , specializing in squats. After he died in 1947, he was more popular in the US where he is still remembered as one of the power-lifting pioneers, than in his home country- Germany. If you wanna squat heavy like oldtime strongmen, make sure check out “How to Squat 900 pounds” by Bud Jeffries.

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