When it comes to being a strongman in the old-time style, one of the main feats to perform is bending a short piece of steel whether it is a nail, bolt, spike, rod or even an extremely tough piece of silverware. Steel Bending is one of the toughest forms of strength there is period. Anyone can lift a weight or pick up an object one way or another but to bend steel is a whole different realm.
There are different types of Steel to bend. There are even pieces of steel that my not be of the same structure, for example when you bend a 60D Penny Nail, you can find certain types of that nail that can be as easy as it can get but that next nail may not take it so lightly. I have experienced about three types of 60D nails that are extremely easy, a few that are difficult and even one type I can’t bend at all because the structure is different, the size is the same but the steel isn’t. You will come across this in your bending endeavors and be careful what you find and learn the aspects of different steel.
Progression in Steel Bending is like anything else, you start with that are easy and build yourself up, once that becomes too easy, find ones that are slightly more difficult, after that you find ones that are extremely tough and practice with those. The best form of training for steel bending next to progression is Isometrics. Isometrics give you that positional strength with the case of bending if you hit a spot you can’t bend; you do an isometric contraction until it becomes your strong point.
The very best benders in the world have frequently used Isometrics to destroy the toughest of short bending objects and because of Isometrics; they have built a level of strength that can be only explained by experience. One of the biggest names in the old-time strongmen-lore is the great Alexander Zass. He was the man at one time in Europe that mangled more steel then anyone at that time, his trademark was long piece bending but he was no stranger to the short styles and what was his main form of conditioning? You guessed it Isometrics. You can find a new book devoted to the beloved Strongman here.
Whether you’re a performer or a person who wants to have insane strength, short bending is an art and builds levels of strength that you can’t even imagine. Picture this when you learn about Steel Bending….
Iron Cord like Forearms
Hands as tough as rock
A strong upper body
Eagle Claw like Fingers
Tendons that are as strong as Steel
And there’s plenty more but you get the jist of what I’m saying. I want you to do what you love and if you’re not into Steel Bending that’s fine, there’s plenty of other feats to choose from and many of them are worth putting on a show for because no matter how you slice it, every one loves a strongman.