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Max Sick

Max Sick was a strongman and gymnast from Austria born in 1882, most famous for developing the Maxalding system with Monte Saldo. But he did much more than that.

Early Life

Born to Swiss parents, Maxick developed rickets and dropsy along with lung problems at a very young age. This set of conditions set him back so much that he only learned how to walk when he turned 6. However, four years later young Max was determined to get stronger, creating his own set of weights and a workout program. Unfortunately, his parents didn’t share his ambitions and destroyed his homemade weights instead.

Max Sick

Max Sick

Without his weights, Max Sick decided to start with a different form of training – muscle control exercises. Several years later, at the age of 14 he managed to develop his body so well (and earned some reputation along the way) that he got an invitation from the local athletics club to become one of their members. During this time Max also became an engineer apprentice and spent next nine years carving his skills in weightlifting, hand balancing, gymnastics and muscle control.

Unhappy with his current engineering job at the age of 23, Max thought he could be of a much better use somewhere else with his perfectly carved body & strength and that’s when he moved to Munich to seek a better job and improve himself further. He was spotted rather quickly at a local gymnasium in Munich, so he took that opportunity and started working as an artist’s model. At this time, he stood around 5’4″ and weighed 147 pounds.

Strongman Career

Max Sick was living comfortably doing shows which involved a combination of his gymnastic skills and muscle control exercises. Apart from modeling, Maxick started working regularly as a music hall artist which consisted of two main acts – hand balancing with a partner (who was almost always heavier than Maxick) and the act where he would twitch different group of muscles in time to music. One of his other acts involved lifting a 40 pounds man heavier than himself 16 times using only one hand. All this while holding a cup of beer with his other hand without spilling it!

Another amazing set of acts Maxick specialized in was the Roman Ring. As a matter of fact, Max’s solo career began with a help of these recognized Roman Ring movements, but with a twist. Instead of regular rings, Max used two chains which required a very powerful grip strength. After he finished that set of acts, Maxick would come to a center of the stage and perform remarkable muscle control movements most of which had never been seen before. The degree of perfection of these exercises were matched only by a few performers since then – like Ed Jubinville, Otto Arco and Alan P. Mead.

Maxick pressing 63-pound heavier Fred Storbeck

Maxick pressing 63-pound heavier Fred Storbeck

During one of his shows a physical culturist from South Africa Tromp Van Diggelen noticed the awesomeness of Max Sick and decided to persuade Eugen Sandow to invite Max to London in order to perform there as well. Maxick accepted the invitation and arrived in London in October, 1909. However, once Max arrived he decided to go for the world professional middleweight weightlifting title. At that time, Thomas Inch was the champion in this category and Max didn’t think he would be able to meet the weight requirements by the time of the match. However, a couple of months later Thomas Inch moved to heavyweight category and the new middleweight champion was Edward Aston.

Soon enough the match between Max Sick and Edward Aston was organized at the Granville Music Hall in August 1910. They competed for a silver trophy and 100 pounds in cash. Unfortunately, Maxick sustained an injury during a one hand clean & jerk of 212 pounds, which consequently prevented him to successfully perform a two hands clean with 264 pounds. He had to withdraw from the competition and try again in December 1910, but this rematch didn’t go as planned since the two competitors had to leave the Holborn Empire to allow another performance to take place. The results were inconclusive.

Front lever on parallel bars by 52 year old Max Sick

Front lever on parallel bars by 52 year old Max Sick

Later in his life, Maxick partnered up with William Bankier and Monte Saldo. These partnerships, especially the one with Monte Saldo proved to be a very wise move – their course which goes under the name of Maxalding is still being sold today, which says a lot about the quality of its content.

Maxick’s Training

Despite the fact that Max claimed that he trained only using muscle control exercises, he was actually very good at weightlifting. However, in his book “Great Strength by Muscle Control” Maxick wrote that he regularly performed lifts such as a one hand clean, one hand bent press, two hands clean, two hands military press, two hands jerk, etc. His training program was focused on singles, hand balacing, gymnastics and muscle control. Below are the results of his training. Keep in mind he weighed no more than 147 pounds and stood only 5’3″.

  • Two hands clean & jerk – 272 pounds
  • Two hands military press – 230 pounds
  • Two hands continental jerk – 340 pounds
  • Two hands continental press – 254 pounds
  • One hand snatch – 165 pounds
  • One hand press – 112 pounds
  • One hand jerk – 240 pounds

Even though he was small framed and short, the picture below says more than a thousand words.

Incredibly strong back of Max Sick

Incredibly strong back of Max Sick

The final day of Maxick’s life

Max Sick died at the age of 79 in Buenois Aires, where he owned a health studio and gym. He was extremely active even at this age, and on this particular day Max rode a bicycle after he had been wrist wrestling with one of his friends. They found him lying on the back with a goodbye note under his right leg. The note said:

My heart is beating rather slow, I feel extremely cold, I think it will be over soon. Remember the infinite is our freedom manifested through our consciousness.

Make sure to check outĀ theĀ full book of Maxalding, but if you are looking for some free stuff then head over to this site to get the best muscle control training and videos!

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One Response to Max Sick

  1. S.T. July 17, 2015 at 4:53 am #

    Wow-what an amazing athlete! That final quote of his is telling as well; Max Sick’s way of indicating that the soul is eternal, which he probably realized at that very moment.

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