High Tension Training For Massive Strength Gains

If you look at the history of the Iron Game and Physical Culture, you know that some of the greatest physiques ever developed were back in the time of the Oldtime Strongmen.  Guys like Eugen Sandow had big, bulging biceps and wide torsos, but they also had extremely narrow waists, the picture of perfection when it came to physique.

eugen snadow(Pic of Eugen Sandow)

One of the ways that these strongman greats developed the kind of chiseled look and sinewy muscle that looked like it was forged from iron was by Bending Steel.  Yes, they would take big, long steel bars and bend them over and over until they resembled giant steel paper clips, clover leafs, and Christian fish.

102_7824(Pic of Double Loop Fish by Jedd Johnson)

This kind of training involves a great deal of high intensity pushing and pulling, so the body gets worked in a variety of directions with just one bar bend.  Also, completing bends like these requires a great deal of sustained isometric and near-isometric contractions, so the muscles’ fatigue factor is often equal to a complete hour-long workout, although it might only take 10 minutes to bend a steel bar.

My friend, Jedd Johnson, is an expert when it comes to bending steel.  Aside from conventional muscle-building and strength training workouts, Jedd enjoys dabbling in steel bending.

Here is a list of some of the things he has bent:

– 60-penny nails

– Frying pans

– 8″ Adjustable Wrenches

– Horseshoes

– 10-foot long steel bars.

Here’s a picture of Jedd doing what is called Scrolling.


Jedd just released a very cool instructional DVD called The Art of Scrolling Steel.


This DVD shows you exactly how you can take big, long steel bars and coil them up into various awesome designs.

Jedd and his friend Bud, actually bent 6 different steel sculptures when they put this DVD together and they donated them all to a benefit that was held for the daughter of one of Jedd’s High School Classmates who has a very serious type of brain cancer, and they were a big hit!  If you don’t know Bud Jeffries….well he is a beast when it comes to strength.  The man is just incredibly STRONG!  Take a look at Bud reshaping steel into art!


If you are looking for a new way to challenge yourself, Steel Scrolling could be exactly what you are looking for.

Here is what Jedd had to say about feats of strength:

There are many different feats of strength, but one of the most impressive is bending steel.  Everyone knows that steel is made to resist force, to stand the test of time, so when you show someone you can bend it with just your sheer strength, it really leaves an impression with them.

There are actually many different types of Steel Bending.

Nail / Spike Bending:  This is usually done by wrapping the ends of the nail, spike, bolt, or steel bar with a towel or leather to protect the hands and then it is bent with minimal contact with the rest of the body.  This strict form of bending is called unbraced bending.

Bending Nails and Spikes is kind of like Steel Bending 101 – when you do it, you are able to find out which starting positions work best for your body type and you are able to condition your hands and wrists to steel bending.  I did a previous post “Five Reasons To Start Nail Bending”; in this post I have a video of Jedd explaining how to bend steel and then myself actually bending some for the first time.  What an awesome feeling and sense of accomplishment!  It was fun and it was crazy how I felt like I just went through a full body workout afterwards!

Braced Bending:  Whereas spike bending is usually done with something a maximum of 7 or 8 inches in length, braced bending usually involves objects that are longer.  Longer barn spikes, carriage bolts and steel bars up to 18 inches are wrapped to protect the hands, and are braced against the thigh or knee to get the bend started.

In both of these cases, the objective is to bend the nail, spike or bar into a U-shape.  Then the bend is done.

Horseshoe Bending:  This is another type of braced bend.  The horseshoe is wrapped with leather so you don’t slice your hands open, then it is tucked around the side of the thigh and pried apart with both hands.  From there, it is placed onto the top of the thigh and you bare down on both legs until it opens up past 180 degrees.  All sorts of horseshoes are used, from the kinds that are used on lighter horses and ponies, to the heavier shoes that are used on bigger animals like draft horses.

And while all of these forms of Bending are very respectable and present their own challenges, there is one other kind of bending that is considered the ULTIMATE Form of Steel Bending:  Steel Scrolling.

Steel Scrolling:  This type of bending combines the techniques of Unbraced, Braced, and Horseshoe Bending in order to turn steel bars that measure several feet in length into various shapes, such as Steel House Plants, Clover Leaves, and Steel Fish.

Steel Scrolling is bad-ass is because it requires you to work for a much longer period of time.  Most Nail Bends are completed in less than a minute and Braced Bending a bar or a horseshoe might take you a few minutes.  But to scroll a full 6 to 10-foot bar into an artistic shape will take even longer.

Steel Scrolling is the Texas Death Match of strength feats, because you throw (almost) all the rules out the window and complete the bend anyway possible.  If you need to brace, you brace.  If you need to use your feet to steady the bar, you do it.  In fact, the only real rules are that you don’t use heat to weaken the steel and no tools like hammers or wrenches are allowed to start a bend or keep it going.

EVERYTHING is done with the strength of your hands, the toughness of your body, and the resolve of your mind!  Check out more about Steel Scrolling here.


The greatest thing about Scrolling Steel however, is the fact that it is the Big Leagues of Bending.  Just like a karate student wants to eventually become a Black Belt and the Junior Varsity Football player strives to get on the Varsity team, Steel Scrolling is like getting your diploma, and graduating to be a true Strongman.  Up until now, there were only a handful of modern Strongman performers who knew and understood steel scrolling.  And to learn from them, it would cost you a pretty penny.  But now, you can learn this oldtime strongman art from the special 2-disk DVD called, The Art of Scrolling Steel.

Steel Scrolling was how the oldtime strongmen set themselves apart from the other strongmen of their time.  These feats were how they proved they were the real deal.

These guys know their stuff.  They have been bending steel for more than 20 years between them.  If you are going to learn it from someone, these are the guys you want to learn it from.


Don’t delay:  Learn how to scroll steel today.

Hope this helps!!

To your health,


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About Jerry Shreck

Division 1 Head Strength Coach at Bucknell University, Specialize In The Art of Injury Prevention Training Techniques God Loving Family Man (Wife-Trina & 2 daughters-Alexis & Aleyda)

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