Antone Matysek,
Strongest Man in America – 1922

Antone Matysek began teaching in 1910 at the age of 18 and was most active between 1914 and 1925.

In 1922 he won the ‘Strongest Man in America’ award. During that period of the early 20s he appeared as a professional strongman in an act featuring posing and Muscle Control. One of his specialties was a single-handed lift of a custom built bicycle that held ‘three furious pedaling riders’ . He published a popular book on Muscle Control and also ran one of the many mail-order bodybuilding courses in the 20s. He died in 1963 at the age of 71.

Excerpt from ‘Mighty Men of Old’, Vol. I (Author & Date Unknown)
Powerful arm development.

“Perhaps the best known physique to American strength fans of a generation age was that of Antone Matysek of Baltimore. The old “Strength” magazine never tired of showing his superb figure. Matysek won many prizes for his photographed poses. He held the American record in the bent press with 241 pounds. He also could clean and bent press 200 (without the opposite hand coming in contact with his barbell at any time). In cleaning a weight to the shoulders, Matysek used the reverse grip, in other words his palm faced out stead of in, thus when the bar was at his shoulder his palm still faced out and it was necessary for him to duck his head under the bar in order to be in the proper position to either jerk or bent press.

Another favorite stunt of Anton’s was the shoulder stand which he set a record in. He would lie flat on his back, pull a barbell across his face until over the chest, bring his feet under the bar, let go with his hands, press the bell upwards by straightening the legs – then raise his body until he was balanced on his shoulders and the back of his head. He succeeded with 275 pounds in this manner. Matysek performed a reverse two hands curl with a barbell having a three inch handle weighing 88 pounds. When a professional on the stage his favorite feat was the holding at arm’s length one hand, 500 pounds. He would walk across the stage supporting three men on a tandem bicycle. He was a muscle-control expert and had few, if any peers.

Matysek had just an average build when he started weight training but after several years with barbells his physique was so outstanding that he became the leading model and poser for the old Milo Barbell Catalogue. In those days Milo was the largest manufacturer of weights in the world and many a young bodybuilder was first inspired by those wonderful Matysek photos. Matysek is at present a member of the Baltimore Police force. The Police Force must hold a fascination for retiring strongmen for there are quite a few muscled minions of the law throughout the world.”

–‘Mighty Men of Old’, Vol. I

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