5 Men Who Built Wide “Cobra Backs” 100% Naturally [history verified natty muscle construction]

| by Truth Seeker |

In this post, NoN presents five men who achieved very respectable back development in times when steroids were available only in the form of juice extracted straight from the testis of mammals.

via: pinterest.com

Pierre Gasnier – The French Hercules

Pierre Gasnier (1862-1923) was a French strongman working for the Barnum and Bailey Circus who could break a chain wrapped around his chest. The power came from his expanding ribcage.

Gasnier was also known for bent-pressing a massive 260lbs/118kg dumbbell over his head – an achievement that many brahs significantly larger than him failed to replicate. [source]

Pierre Gasnier’s Body Stats

Year of Birth Height Weight FFMI (10% BF)
1862 5’3”/162cm 143lbs/64.9kg 22.798

Pierre Gasnier fully maximized his potential. He was as big as a man could get at his height, although I wouldn’t be surprised if the available statistical data on old school lifters isn’t as accurate as we would like it to be.

In the photo above, you can see that Pierre Gasnier had a developed and highly shredded back. He probably didn’t look enormous in clothes, but natties who don’t have a gorilla frame never do.

source: http://affectinggravity.blogspot.com/2013/10/maxick.html

Max Sick – Maxick

Max Sick (1882-1961) was a German strongman and gymnast of Swiss descent who developed a highly aesthetic physique even by today’s standards. As a kid, he suffered from lung problems and unusually soft bones. He didn’t begin walking until he was six. But he overcame the adversity and ascended by building up his body.

Eventually, Max Sick entered a partnership with Monte Saldo, another bodybuilder and strongman from that era, and developed the Maxalding system – a bodybuilding template based on muscle control.

Max Sick’s Body Stats

Year of Birth Height Weight FFMI (10% BF)
1882 5’4”/163cm 147lbs/67kg 22.709

source: http://jasonferruggia.com

Arthur Saxon – The Iron Master

Arthur Saxon (1878-1921) was a strongman and circus performer from the late 19th century famous for bent-pressing a weight that would make for a fairly impressive deadlift in a commercial gym – 370lbs/168kg.

Arthur Saxon’s Official Body Stats

Year of Birth Height Weight FFMI (12% BF)
1878 5’10”/177.8cm 200lbs/90.9kg 25

I spent a lot of time digging for Arthur Saxon’s weight and height. Most places show the numbers in the table above. I’m sorry, but the weight sounds ridiculous. 200lbs @ 5’10” equal a huge lifter even by today’s standards. Most average naturals will never reach 200lbs at 5’10” without getting fat.

Some may say that I don’t want to accept those digits because they don’t fit my narrative. I understand and politely encourage you to reach 200lbs and check for yourself. [Don’t suck in your gut, brah.]

I know that on the Internet everyone is 225lbs with abs, but all the gyms I’ve ever been to reflect something different.

According to the article “My Friendship with Arthur Saxon – Thomas Inch”, Arthur Saxon had 8.5-inch wrists – a humongous rarity among men.

Research published in a technical report entitled: 1995 Matched Anthropometric Database of U.S. Marine Corps Personnel: Summary Statistics concluded that 99% of the 4447 participants had wrists smaller than 7.67-wrists. You can guess how rare true 8.5-inch wrists would be.

If the measurements are legit, Saxon had a huge skeleton responsible for his abnormal lean body mass. But regardless of the stats’ validity, one cannot deny that Saxon had a thick back – as developed as a natural can get it.

Ernest Cadine

The French weightlifter Ernest Cadine (1893-1978) was an Olympic medalist from the 1920 Summer Olympics held in Antwerp. He is a good example of what can be achieved naturally if one is built for the muscle game. His official stats are phenomenal.

Ernest Cadine’s Body Stats

Year of Birth Height Weight FFMI (10% BF)
1893 5’5”/167cm 82.5kg/181.5lbs 27.183

That’s massive. Men of his height who have inferior genetics for growth would have a hard time weighing that much without turning into fatso swines. I would even go as far as saying that most bros can forget about it.

What could be the possible explanation behind Cadine’s insane stats?

  1. Superior genes (a thick frame, high testosterone, full muscle bellies)
  2. False stats.

Unlikely, since he competed in the Olympics. Nonetheless, it’s possible that he wasn’t 82.5kg. After all, this was the category’s actual cut-off point. What are the chances that he weighed exactly 82.5kg? Maybe he was lighter…or heavier and fitted into the category by losing water. I have no idea.

  1. Men had higher testosterone in the past.

While that may be true due to cultural and environmental factors, the effect of natty test levels is a little overrated and somewhat inferior to the power of frame.

Having said that, there is no question that Cadine had a very thick and respectable physique.

via: pinterest.com

George Hackenschmidt – The Russian Lion

George Hackenschmidt (1877-1968) was an Estonian strongman and professional wrestler showcasing one of the most impressive natty physiques ever constructed. The lifts attached to his name would earn him millions of views on YouTube if he was to perform them today.

Some of Hackenschmidt’s lifts:

  • Overhead pressing 214lbs/97kg with one arm;
  • Lifting a small horse off the ground as a student;
  • Pullover and press (old school bench press) with 311lbs/141kg;

Hackenschmidt is also known as the originator of the bench press and the hack squat.

He was a firm believer that heavy lifting and progression overload are necessary for growth.

The quote below is from Hackenschmidt’s book The Way to Live and illustrates some of his training philosophy:

“A further illustration of the fallacy of attempting to develop the muscles by frequent repetitions with the same light exercises may be found in a comparison with any and every other form of athletics, in which a man would never think of merely repeating his training programme. In order to improve himself either in pace or distance, he must set himself a steady progression of arduous effort”.

George Hackenschmidt’s Official Body Stats

Year of Birth Height Weight FFMI (15% BF)
1877 5’9”/175cm 93kg/205lbs – 99kg/218lbs 27.364

The weight value appears amplified once again. If those stats are true, he carried more lean mass than many roided bodybuilders. To me, he looks 190lbs/86kg at most, but obviously, that’s just my opinion. Take it for what it’s worth.

Hackenschmidt was certainly a freaky mesomorph born with the ultimate genetics for strength sports and wrestling. Average brahs will never acquire his development naturally even if they were to replicate all of his or anyone else’s training methods.

For that reason, many scholars rely on Hackenschmidt to illustrate what a man can achieve naturally. Some ignore the genetic factor while others acknowledge it but downplay its importance.

E.g., “Hackenschmidt had amazing genetics, but if you lift hard enough, you too can get close to his size.”

Many unaware noobs fall for this idea, but sooner or later, we all wake up, or do we?

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  1. Pvr

    Regarding Ernst Cadine, he was a weightlifter who competed in the heavyweight category (around 80-86kg at that time as far as I can recollect). it’s possible that he could have gained weight (fat) in order to compete in that category, as getting fatter does help in lifting heavier weights, though not as much as muscle mass

  2. James

    What about Bruce Lee? He did that pose with massive lats in a film.

  3. Matt Hawkins

    Arthur Saxon had an unusual metabolism, read about the vast amount of food he ate, including gin spiked beer. Hackenschmidt lived to an old age in London, he got his protein from drinking over a gallon of whole milk everyday, he did not like meat.

  4. Alfie

    Yeah and now with better recovery training and nutrition, with good genetics and more people training only for aesthetics, you could see natural athletes with better body’s than these guys, if this is possible then now those same guy with everything we have now might of got another 10%, by the way I’ve made it to 89 kg natty with abs whilst not training for size in 12-15 body fat at 5”9, I would post pics here but is won’t let me

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