Siegmund Klein began bodybuilding at the age of 15 after reading Physical Culture & Strength magazines. He purchased his first barbell in 1919 He was a disciple of Maxick and early on obtained his book ‘Muscle Control’ as well as books by Saldo & Apollo.
Klein married Prof. Louis Atilla’s youngest daughter and took over running Atilla’s gym in 1927. Much admired for his excellent physique, his photographs appeared in numerous publications including Bonomo’s ‘Building Body Power’ course.
Some Notes on Sig Klein’s Career
(Extracted from Super Physique – circa 1945)
SIEGMUND KLEIN was born in West Prussia, on April 10th 1902. Unlike many strength athletes, who claim to have been weaklings in youth, he was a fairly normal child, born of healthy parents. As instance the fact, that his father was possessed of more than average strength and could lift a 112-pound ring-weight from the floor with the little finger and place it on a table of normal height.
Always fond of exercise, the boy took his full share of whatever games and sports came his way and was particularly fond of lifting any heavy weights encountered in his daily work of assisting an elder brother to run a bakery business.
It is possible that the anecdotes his father was fond of relating to him of the strong men he associated with in his youth, together with the occasional display of the brawny arms and chest of his parent, created the environment that spurred the youngster to emulate these champions of the ‘Iron Game’; for he relates that whilst at work he was constantly on the watch for opportunities to test his strength.
His first barbell was purchased in in 1919 at the age of 17 years and on the very first day of its arrival he settled down to regular training, with such success that within a few months he could elevate one hundred pounds in the ‘Two Hands Press’; always a favourite lift with him.
This performance was doubled to two hundred pounds after two year’s training at a body-weight of 147lbs. His first stage appearance was at Luna Park, Cleveland, where together with a partner, he gave a show which included hand balancing and lifting, where he registered the above lift.
This was the forerunner of many stage shows, which have delighted the ‘strength’ fans of America. For Klein has a natural aptitude for this class of entertainment and one of his productions of the revue type, in which he was assisted by a team of girls, was voted one of the best shows yet staged in that land of spectacular presentations.
His life ambition was not however to be a stage performer, but to equip and own the finest barbell gymnasium in the States. This was partly realized in 1927, when on the death of Prof. Attila – the World Famous Strength Performer and trainer of many of the most celebrated names in the history of strength – he took over the management of his gymnasium. He married Miss Grace Attila, the charming daughter of the late Professor, thus linking the two names of renown.
He ran the business for some time, in the process of which he met practically all the barbell men of the pre-war era, and with several breaks for a vaudeville tour, he eventually resigned and opened his own gym in New York.
After a while he moved to more pretentious premises on Seventh Avenue where he really achieved his ambition. His well-equipped gymnasium is the Mecca of the strong man fraternity, for no one of note would think of passing through the city, without calling to have a chat with Sig.
Mr. Klein is just as versatile in his hobby – for he has many original ideas for improving both training and equipment – as he is in his business life, having been professional athlete, showman, writer and publisher, and now Gym, instructor and proprietor. And second to none in popularity.
Measurements: (Taken in 1945) Height – 5’4.5″; Weight – 10 st. 10 lbs.; Chest (Normal) – 44 ins.; Waist – 31ins.; Thigh – 22 ins.; Calf – 15 ins.; Biceps – 15.75 ins. (flexed); Neck – 16 ins.; Hips – 37 ins.; Wrist – 7 ins.; Forearm (straight) – 12.75 ins
Klein’s physical make-up is truly remarkable when one considers his height and weight. His muscular outline is extremely clean and well defined and this is accentuated to a marked degree when aided by his natural ability to pose his body to best advantage.