Accepting different challenges became a trend nowadays. But perhaps one of the biggest challenges in history could be the Thomas Inch dumbbell challenge. It requires challengers to handle weightlifting equipment build over a century ago. But why is this challenge controversial, and how did it all begin?
Thomas Inch And The History Of The Inch Dumbbell
Thomas Inch is one of the most popular British strongmen. He was born in 1881 in Scarborough, one of the coastal towns in the UK’s North Yorkshire area. He started bodybuilding as a young manual laborer in his town. But when he reached the age of 19, he was recognized as the “World’s Strongest Youth” by one of the major strongman publications at that time.
Unlike the other professional strongmen during his time, Inch concentrated on doing standard lifts using dumbbells and barbells. He rarely hoists other heavy objects like sacks of grains or wooden barrels. But he occasionally performs by lifting people in the bend-press using one hand.
In 1906, Inch debuted the legendary Inch Dumbbell. It was a piece of weightlifting equipment with a thick handle. He claimed that no other man but him could lift the 172-pound (78.27-kilogram) dumbbell from the floor to overhead. Inch brought the dumbbell on tour and challenged other strongmen and other brave spectators to try it out.
According to legends, not a single person was able to lift the dumbbell successfully. He reportedly challenged his fellow British strongman Reg Park and German bodybuilder Arthur Saxon to lift it, but the two allegedly failed.
Some people accused Inch of trickery since other strongmen worldwide possess the same strength as he has. Some suspected that he altered the dumbbell that he pick and lift the modified one during his performances.
Inch passed away in 1963, but his famous dumbbell is still regarded as a symbol of incredible strength several years after his death.
The authentic Inch Dumbbell is currently in the hands of Kim Wood, a popular personality in the strength training industry that became the first strength coach in the NFL. Plenty of replicas were produced using the same size and dimensions of the original Inch Dumbbell. These dumbbells are being used to reignite the challenge.
The Inch Dumbbell Today
On June 22, 2002, former WWE wrestler, Olympic weightlifter, strongman, and powerlifter from the US Mark Henry, was the first person in the 21st century to successfully lift a replica of the Inch Dumbbell. He used a one-hand clean and jerk technique to show his audience that he is capable of lifting the weightlifting equipment.
Other people in attendance at the event also tried to lift the famous dumbbell. Yet only weightlifter Richard Sorin managed to barely lift it off the ground. At the moment, no other person after Henry was able to succeed.
Lifting the Inch Dumbbell appeared to be impossible if you are not Thomas Inch. But Henry’s feat proved that any determined person who has the right skills and strength could complete the challenge.