American Strength Legends
space Main Page What's New Events Sign/View Guestbook Survey Links Contact

Bill Kazmaier
Don Reinhoudt
Fred Hatfield
Jon Davis
Paul Anderson
Steve Pulcinella
Tommy Ingalsbe
Siegmund Breitbart
Chief Ironbear Collins
Ed Coan
Cynthia Morrison
Kim Bergman
Gary Mitchel
Mark Keshishian
Jim Voronin

Jamie Harris
Anthony Clark
Shannon Hartnett
Vince Anello
Curtis Leffler
Lester Maslow
Larry Pacifico
Bryan Neese
Gene Bell
Joe Ladnier
space Paul AndersonspacePaul Andersonspace
a red line
Paul Anderson pictures

Paul Anderson audio

Olympian, Strongman and Philanthropist
Born on October 17, 1932
Passed away on August 15, 1994

Height: 5'9"
Weight: 330-360 lbs.
Thigh circumference: 36 inches

Best Lifts

This information was provided by Scott of Richmond Virginia

Bench: 627 pounds

Squat: 1206 pounds

Deadlift: 820 pounds, he pulled a massive 1000 pounds using metal hooks attached to his wrists. This assisted deadlift was witnessed by Tommy Kono

Clean and Jerk: 480 pounds, unofficial

Push Press: 600 pounds, witnessed by Bob Hise

One Arm Press: 380 pounds, 300 pounds for ten reps; this 380 pound lift was the greatest lift ever lifted overhead with one arm; both were witnessed by Paul Magistratte

Backlift: 6270 pounds, witnessed by Kara Whitfield and Maurice Payne, included in the Guinness Book of World Records

Other Lifts Witnessed

Squat: 900 pounds for 10 reps, John Grimek was a witness to this

800 x 10 (2 sets), Pat Casey was a witness to this

900 x 1 (3 second pause) {done easily in 1956} [witnessed by Iron Man
author, but I do not have his name]

Olympic Press: 425 x 3 (just missed 3rd rep) {exhibition at 1958 dual meet with Russia, this is back when an Olympic press was strict} [Peary Radar was a witness to this]

400 x 7 {1957}

A Biography of Paul Anderson

The following is only the true account of his beginning in weightlifting found on the internet. We should all give a special thank you to Mr. Anderson's brother in law, Mr. Julius M. Johnson, for giving us the truth. Thank you, sir.

Paul Anderson was born October 17, 1932, in Toccoa, Georgia. Many accounts of Paul Anderson erroneously claim that he began lifting weights at Furman University which he attended for a year. According to Paul's brother in law, Mr. Julius M. Johnson, Mr. Anderson began weightlifting in his house where they had a 25 pound set of dumbbells and some old Strength and Health magazines while he was at Toccoa High School, not at Furman. He really began his weight training in the Johnson backyard where he developed his own training methods and techniques. By the time he reached Furman, he had already added over 100 pounds to his bodyweight and was making lifts that were close to the existing American records.
The reason he started to lift weights was very simple. When Paul started High School he wanted to play football, but was not large enough. So, Mr. Johnson gave him the dumbells and the magazines. He snatched them up right away and soon was scouring the junk yards looking for heavier weights to lift. In High School, he became first-team blocking back on the football team. He entered Furman University on a football scholarship. When he visited their gym, he saw and they saw how strong he already was. It was there that the idea of becoming a "strongman" entered his mind. It was at Furman that he began to try the Olympic lifts.
He left Furman after that one year and lived with his parents in Elizabethtown, Tennessee. He met Bob Peeples, a great lifter in his own right, and a devotee of the squat. So, in his early years, he trained mainly on the squat. This was a wise choice, for it gave him the basic strength to demolish all the official Olympic lifting records and many unofficial power records as well. Peeples recognized Paul's potential greatness and began to promote him and introduced him around weightlifting circles.
The rest is history. He squatted 900 while still an amateur and later did a legendary 1200 pounds for two reps as a pro. In all fairness, it must be said that there is some question if the 1200 went past parallel. But the 900, done without wraps or squat suits of any kind, was all the way down. Mr. Anderson's most impressive feat was the jerk press. Using a drive of the legs and then pressing the weight out, Paul made an incredible 565! To this day, this lift has never been duplicated. In 1955, he traveled as a Goodwill Ambassador from the United States to the Soviet Union. While there, his lifting surpassed many world records. Later that year, he won the World Championships. In his prime, he probably had the heaviest hip and thigh structure of any lifter in history. I am told that when he trained down to 330 pounds for the 1956 Olympics and actually had cuts in his thighs. He brought home the gold medal from the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. To date, he was the last American to win a gold medal in the Super Heavyweight Division. On June 12,1957, he lifted a total of 6,270 pounds in a backlift, which was listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as the greatest weight lifted by a human being. A great granite marker commemorating this great feat lies in front of his old house in Toccoa. He overhead pressed 400 pounds. He bench pressed 627 pounds. These were all done before there were world records. That's why we hardly ever hear of them, until now.
Towards the end of his life, Paul used to laugh about all the "legends" being told about him. One that he particularly enjoyed was a story that he had been seen pushing a bulldozer up the side of a mountain! There were so many things written about him, many of them based on little fact, that he came in the end to ignore them. Paul passed away in 1994 after a life-long bout with kidney disease.

Accounts of Paul Anderson

According to Mr. Julius Johnson, as a bachelor and professional Paul spent some time in Las Vegas in a strength act where he lifted a couple of buckets of silver dollars attached to the ends of a long pole. Paul squatted the buckets everyday during each show as an exhibition. Mr. Johnson cannot remember the weight of the buckets. However, he recalls that the casino operator offered to give the buckets to anyone in the audience who could duplicate the lift. Needless to say, no one could claim them.

Mr. Mike Jackman recalls seeing Paul Anderson in person in Iowa. Mr. Jackman wrote that this occurred in approximately 1968. Mr. Jackman remembers how Paul very easily squatted 830 pounds twice.

If anyone has any personal recollections of Mr. Anderson that you wish to share with the world, let ASL know by email. Thanks

Career Highlights

These are a few of his accomplishments in his life

1955 World Champion Weightlifting

1956 Melbourne Olympics Gold Medallist in the 110+kg Class
2 Arm Press: 167.5 kg. (368.5 pounds)
2 Arm Snatch: 145 kg. (319 pounds)
2 Arm Clean and Jerk: 187.5 kg. (412.5 pounds)
Olympic total: 500 kg. (1100 pounds)

Best Olympic press: 575 pounds

1957 backlift of 6270 pounds

He was twice U.S. National Champion

He set 18 American Records

He set 8 World Records

He retired unbeaten and undefeated as an amateur

Personal Life

Paul Anderson was a devoted Christian who dedicated his life to helping troubled children and motivational speaking. Paul Anderson married Glenda Garland in 1959. They have one daughter named Paula who lives in the family house now.

His Greatest Accomplishment and His Legacy

The Andersons established the Paul Anderson Youth Home in 1961. The Youth Home is a Christian rehabilitation facility for young people between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one who otherwise might be confined to penal institutions. Paul Anderson became a professional to raise funds through demonstrations and speaking engagements to support the Youth Home. Since its establishment in 1961, over two thousand young men benefited from the Home and the unselfish devotion of Georgia's beloved Paul Anderson before his death August 15, 1994.

Paul Anderson Specific Links

Georgia State Senate Resolution

Hit Counter