Phantom Of The Anvil


"Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it."

- Bruce Lee

This photo alone speaks volumes.

Somehow, while searching "Anvil Lifting" and being inspired from an old Kevin Tolbert photo (see below) I came across another photo on the web, credit to USAWA.

I saw it and immediately thought to myself, HOLY SHYT!!! This Dude is a F**ing TANK!

I'm almost tempted to say NOTHING else as the photo speaks for itself about what being STRONG REALLY looks like!

Above, The Phantom of the Anvil circa 1918 (notice the skull and cross bones on his shirt, that was the school sports logo)

Here is the story that describes this unknown man:

This man left school before graduating to join the war effort in WWI.  He was legendary playing football and there are many stories I have found on him that include a 70 yard drop kick documented in a game (I know, seems impossible) and stories of him dragging numerous opponents down the field refusing to be tackled.

He was said to be 6′6″ tall and he had a build that was very good for his day.


Please drop a comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts and reactions to 'The Phantom Of The Anvil'.

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25 Responses

    1. Amy I have a 130 lb Anvil at my gym, to grab it like that – let alone just ONE of them is legit! Those anvils look heavier than 130!

  1. Gary Souris says:

    Hi Zach, reminds me of a wiry blacksmith. I’ve known some scrawny, puny folks, but were amazed by their strength after having worked with them. It was then, I truly understood the term “wiry”. Just goes to show that strength is not just about size at all.

    1. Gary, Tendon Strength is what many manual laborers develop. They don’t get bulky because everything they do is low rep work.

  2. you can tell just by looking at this guy that he’s a badass, but when you scroll down and notice the anvils, and then back up to the skull and crossbones..

    1. The t shirt is legit, imagine that for a modern day school team sports logo – that shyt don’t fly nowadays, ha ha

      Then again, if you’re gonna wear that logo you better represent by being a BadAss!

  3. Sibghatallah Imdad says:

    Shit! what a monster, the picture really does speak for itself!

  4. Hey Zach!!

    How are you?

    The phanton of the anvil is incredible, it fires me up. I love to be strong, and want to become much stronger!!
    It makes me want to help others to become stronger themselves!!
    This why i have this question for you:

    I wanted to know in which business or training course should I invest if i want to train people without owning or working at a gym. I can use my car to transport sandbags and rings, or use my parents backyard to train them.

    If you want, you can tell me more than one course, but tell me the order, and which should i consider as necessary before starting training people. I have just trained myself and i feel passion for it, and also my friends and family, so i have no REAL experience with clients.

    I have one more question. I’m still studying, i will finish my career (civil engineering) in 2 years, here in Madrid, Spain. Do you think i can start training a few clients while studying, or that it is not possible without leaving university? Also, if i want to start a blog about my experience training people, when i get that experience, in which course should i invest?

    Thank you very much Zach, you’re awesome!!

    1. Hey, Gabri, what’s up, bro??!!

      First off, get our regular updates for Strength Coaches / Warehouse Gym Owners at

      I would go with the Platinum edition of

      It comes with 2 seminar recording of me describing how I started the biz without owning a gym (from a garage) and then Joe DeFranco and I with our Lost Secrets of Biz, you will love it, perfect starting point, my man!

      1. Zach, thank you a lot, i will keep you posted!!

        You’re awesome for taking the time to answers our questions, you really help a lot!

  5. Even in this present day his build is desired. It is funny to see this picture and wonder how many “modern body builders” can actually lift one anvil by the horn? Let alone 2 anvils.

  6. Even in this present day his build is desired. It is funny to see this picture and wonder how many “modern body builders” can actually lift one anvil by the horn? Let alone 2 anvils.

  7. True Beast! The strength guys from that era were strong, jacked and athletic. Can you imagine shaking his hand.

  8. Orlando Toro says:

    Hey Master

    Thank you for sharing. We simply have no excuses, we have the tools, mentors and the methodology, thanks for always sending information that inspires us every day, and thank you always for helping us to understand that only in our minds are the limits

    blessings to the Underground Strength Gym family


    1. Orlando, MUCH respect, my brutha!!!

  9. Dustin M. says:

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words….

    The Underground can summarize it in five words:
    That dude is fkin’ jacked!

    Man, oh man, why couldn’t I have a High School that was as badassed as that one?? Skulls and Crossbones for their Mascot?? I would never want to go back to High School, but in this exception—I just might!

    We are talking about the 1918 Leatherheads, built like walking tanks. Now that dude in the pic is 6’6, I cannot even imagine what the shorter boys looked like. Talk about inspiration, Zach.

    @Chuck—-Nice lift, dude! You got some power in those hands, bud.

    1. @dustin
      my hands are strong but not nearly that strong. that unfortunately is not me.

      1. Dustin M. says:

        Ahh, Chuck–

        My bad, buddy. Hell, I believe you got power in your hands. You’re part of the Underground nation, dude. How could you not have power in your hands?? 🙂

  10. generik broderick says:

    As a Blacksmith, I brought this picture to the attention of one of my tool suppliers resulting in much discussion. The general consensus is that the Anvil with two pritchel holes is over two hundred, mebbe two fifty even, and the smaller one is around a hundred and a half. They look more similar in size than these estimates indicate because the main block of the body is where the weight is concentrated, not in the horn and table. Badass lift in anyone’s book. No steel toe shoes either…

  11. Jared Mielke says:

    Awesome! That dude has super long arms. It’s cool to see what was considered to be badass way back. That’s no parlor trick. I bet dudes like that could crush the average “strong” person nowadays.

  12. As a blacksmith I am stunned by this. I have a baby 77kg anvil and a much bigger, older item with a very worn table. No clue what that weighs, it isn’t marked, but I recall it being ‘interesting’ to unload from a van, move into the forge and put it up on a tree stump. As an old fart, I would really struggle with it now. Probably kill me actually.

    I learned a lot from older smiths and can only express awe at these guys work ability. 10/12 hour days, often heavy industrial smithing requiring thousands of hammer blows a day with 4 to 6 pound forging hammers. I have elbow tendons that stand out like steel cables and I have only messed around compared to the smiths of old. Jesus our ancestors were incredible, very inspiring and thanks as ever for sharing it with us Zach.

    1. This guy was a Football player! Not sure how he got the 2 Anvils but damn, what a Savage.

      Your story reminds me of the brick layer who my Dad hired to build our stairs when I was a kid.

      His arms and forearms were massive. I was probably 14 or 15 and I wanted to build some massive forearms when I saw this guy!

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