Georg Hackenschmidt: biography, photos and interesting facts

Georg Hackenschmidt trainingGeorg Hackenschmidt became a legend during his lifetime. For 10 years, during which he fought more than three thousand victorious fights, he had no equal on the wrestling mat. The owner of many titles and records, an immortal role model, awarded the nickname “Russian Lion” by the admiring foreign public. Our story about the life and training of Georg Hackenschmidt.

The legendary athlete was born on August 1, 1878 in the Estonian town of Tartu (formerly Yuryev). I became interested in sports from an early age and tried to devote all my free time to training. While working at a machine-building plant in Tallinn, he made himself a one-pound hammer to pump up his muscles without leaving the machine. Another of his favorite workouts was to climb a church bell tower with a pair of two-pound weights in his hands.

In 1886, Georg Hackenschmidt began performing in public, demonstrating miracles of strength and endurance. The young athlete was noticed very quickly. It became fateful for him to meet the famous wrestler Georg Lurich , who encouraged him to take up wrestling. Two years later, he moved to St. Petersburg, where he met another outstanding personality of that time - Doctor Kraevsky , whom he always mentioned with great warmth, calling him his “second father.” Kraevsky became a personal trainer for Hakk (as his contemporaries called him), helping him bring his already impressive anthropometric indicators to perfection.

Hackenschmidt's first appearance in high society was a tremendous success. Representatives of the sports elite of St. Petersburg were shocked by the ideal body contour and magnificent muscles of the modest provincial athlete. And after Georg Hackenschmidt surpassed the unshakable achievement of the great Eugene Sandow in the one-arm press, they learned about him outside the Russian Empire.

Brief biography of Hackenschmidt

Georg is known as a professional wrestler, who went down in history for the first time he managed to take the world championship in freestyle wrestling. The rapidly spreading fame contributed to the popularization not only of his person personally, but also of the special techniques that helped him achieve these heights.

However, everything was his own merit. Each exercise was developed by him independently and practiced with special diligence.

Georg Karl Julius Hackenschmidt (Hackenschmidt) - was born in 1877, on August 1, in a London hospital. From birth, the boy was distinguished by his size, too large for an ordinary child.

Since both of Georg’s parents were of average build, as the athlete himself claimed, his athletic build was inherited from his maternal grandfather. The boy himself was the eldest child in the family and was a real support for his younger brother and sister.

Georg Hackenschmidt is a German, born a Baltic, whose career began in Russia. The athlete showed a particular interest in strength exercises in his youth, while studying at school. Since Georg was initially attracted to sports, he was passionate about running and swimming. Later, the boy discovered the delights of cycling.

However, Georg became convinced that he needed to connect his future life with sports as an employee of a machine-building plant. It was there that he realized that physical activity brings pleasure.

Next, the young man himself makes his own individual hammer, which for some time served as the main equipment for training. The weight of the hammer was approximately 16 and a half kilograms. Around the same period, Georg met his first coach - a wrestler with a namesake named Georg Lurich.

Russian lion shows teeth

In Revel, the talented young man had much more opportunities for sports. He was willingly accepted into the Revel Athletic and Cycling Club and was even exempted from having to pay membership fees. It was here that Georg became interested in cycling, and so successfully that he became a multiple winner in various competitions. Afterwards, he switched to lifting weights and soon became the best among his peers in this sport.

In 1896, Georg Lurich, another famous native of Estonia, came to Revel. He brought with him a small troupe of professional wrestlers and performed spectacular performances with them. Lurich decided to compete with wrestlers from a local club, whom, of course, he defeated. Gakkenshmidt was also among the defeated. He learned an important lesson from that meeting - if you have an advantage in strength, it is easy to be defeated if your opponent is superior to you in technology.

The meeting with Lurich forced Hackenschmidt to switch his attention to the fight. The offensive defeat became a catalyst for further training, which helped him later become a renowned champion.

In those same years, Georg’s fateful acquaintance with Dr. Kraevsky, who is called the “father of Russian athletics,” took place. Gackenschmidt came to the doctor with a minor injury to his arm. Kraevsky examined the athlete, assessed his physique and offered to move to St. Petersburg with him, as he saw in him the makings of a professional wrestler. His parents were against the move, but the athlete still left his engineering job and went to the capital.

Athlete Georg Hackenschmidt - Stone Forest

Start of an athlete's career

It is not surprising that after just a year, thanks to such intensive, persistent training, by 1896 the young man was already able to calmly bench press 98 kilograms with just one hand. It is known that with the efforts of his right hand alone, he lifted as much as 56 kilograms! Now Georg begins his public activities.

The athlete began performing in front of people, demonstrating in every possible way his natural as well as acquired physical talent. It must be said that Georg’s development as a master of sports was influenced by his coach, who instilled in him a serious passion for freestyle wrestling.

The year 1898 was significant for Hackenschmidt’s life, as the athlete took part in the European Greco-Roman wrestling championship. Now let’s think, do you have any doubts about the fact that this person won the championship there? Of course he won. This success marked the beginning of a whole series of victories on the path of the then young athlete.

Moving to Russia

The decision to move to Russia came to George in 1898. St. Petersburg was chosen as the city for relocation. Hackenschmidt was brought here by his acquaintance, Doctor Kraevsky, whom he met in Vienna. It was Kraevsky who showed the right path to the young athlete, taught him to eat properly and balanced, and combine physical training with diet.

By 1900, Georg gained his first professional achievements at a professional tournament that took place in Moscow. Within forty days, the athlete established himself among his rivals as the strongest of all.

Retirement of a great athlete

After leaving the ring, Georg Hackenschmidt began to develop a scientific system. She had to reveal the secret of his strength, which he could share with the whole world. Georg talked a lot with the wrestlers who remained in the ring, he helped them with advice, developed a training system for them, but never trained them himself.

After he ceased to be popular, the great athlete disappeared, but he was replaced by the mystical philosopher Georg Hackenschmidt. His book “Man and Cosmic Antagonism towards Mind and Spirit” is known to many. Several other works have also been written, but they are not particularly popular.

Soon after his retirement, George returned to London. In 1961, at the championship in London, Russian athlete Yuri Vlasov set a world record. Georg Hackenschmidt personally presented him with the award and presented him with a photograph of himself with a signature.

On February 19, 1968, in the ninety-second year of his life, Georg Hackenschmidt left us forever. recommends Fitness Trainers:

Throughout this difficult period, he was supported by Doctor Kraevsky, who by that time had become a true friend, brother, even a second father for Georg. Georg attributes all his victories that were won to the merits of Kraevsky.

Anthropometric data of Hackenschmidt

At his peak, Georg demonstrated the following anthropometric parameters, phenomenal for his time:

  • Athlete's height: 176 centimeters;
  • Weight: 94 kilograms;
  • Biceps volume: 47 centimeters;
  • Torso circumference: 125 centimeters;
  • Thigh circumference: 67 centimeters.

"Russian Lion" Georg Hackenschmidt

The title awarded to the athlete by our Russian compatriots, inspired by his exceptional strength, as well as outstanding physical abilities. Georg defeated everyone he met in the ring. And it didn’t matter who his opponent was: a seasoned pro or a three-time champion. Hackenschmidt was not inferior to anyone. Georg was also active in the circus business: he performed with his own program, where he demonstrated his talents and unprecedented strength.

By his early twenties, he could already boast that he could easily lift a hundred heavy weights with one hand. “Russian Lion” is his nickname, which was assigned to Georg when the total number of his victories exceeded a thousand.

The King “gives” George a harem

We agree, this is far from the most common case. However, this also happened in the busy life of an athlete. This happened during the period when Georg was touring Samoa. As was the custom at that time, Hackenschmidt emerged victorious from each fight, which attracted considerable interest from the king. Who was so shocked by the unprecedented strength and physical fitness of the “Russian Lion” that he decided with all his might to keep him in his homeland.

The ruler invited the young man to his place for dinner, during which he tried in every possible way to persuade him to stay in Samoa. He promised all possible and impossible benefits, he wanted to give the athlete one of the titles, make him a high-ranking person, including offering a whole harem of girls. But the athlete was adamant. He had a strong civic position and was not going to exchange his moral values ​​for material wealth.

The king gives George a harem

This curious incident, which can be called a real adventure, happened to Hackenschmidt on tour in Samoa. There he again defeated everyone with his opponent, which aroused the interest of the king himself. The local ruler liked the Russian hero so much that he definitely wanted to leave him on his territory.

He invited George to a personal meeting, where during the conversation he promised to make the young man rich if only he would stay in his country. The king offered the young man a great title, even a palace and a personal harem. But Georg refused. Then the ruler decided that he simply did not like the girls offered for the harem, and he invited George to choose wives for himself - any wives he liked. Hackenschmidt was unapproachable, for him there were only two homelands - England and Russia, he was not going to accept a third.

Georg Hackenschmidt exercises

Another adventure with an athlete took place in Manchester. After the competition, Georg decided to take a walk around the neighborhood and see the city. There he was attacked by a whole gang. Seven thugs surrounded him, hoping that they would be able to snatch a considerable sum from the champion, but that was not the case! Georg literally in a couple of minutes turned the evil gang into poor fellows scattered across the square and begging for mercy.

Exercises by Georg Hackenschmidt

Gackenschmidt began to train intensively using his own method, which included exercises to develop muscles. The main equipment was still: weights, a self-made pound hammer. The young man spent all his free time practicing in an athletic club, sparing no effort and time for self-development.

Georg gave a key place in pumping up his own body to the legs - here both equipment and various exercises for strength endurance were used. To develop muscles, the athlete resorted to jumping rope and various barbell lifts. Let's look at 12 basic strength exercises for an athlete.

The most notable training was climbing the steps of a church with a load hanging around my neck, as well as several weights in my hands. Typically, weights weighing about 32 kilograms were used. The athlete, accompanied by a boy or alone, climbed daily from the foot of the stairs to the spire itself.

Jumping was a constant component of the training. He jumped in all directions: long, high, but a mandatory element was additional weighting in the form of dumbbells or weights.

An interesting fact from life: the athlete did not stop his training even when he was already very old. So you understand, Georg kept in shape even at the age of 82 - he still used a jump rope as a key element for jumping. Sometimes its alternative was an ordinary rope, which was stretched between a pair of chairs.


At the age of ten, the guy went to study at the Dorpat comprehensive educational institution, which was then called a real school. Georg immediately liked the subject of physical education, especially gymnastics, and in 1891 he became a prize-winner of competitions held among school students. This victory was immediately published by local newspapers.

Hackenschmidt wrote that at that time he was the best gorodki player, he could jump 1.9 meters in length and 1.4 in height, with his right hand 16 times and with his left 21 times he could squeeze a 13-kilogram dumbbell. And run a distance of 180 meters in 26 seconds. That is, Georg Hackenschmidt, whose biography is filled with victories and recognitions, already at a young age had the prerequisites to become a champion.

Hakk Machine - Georg's amazing invention

The design of this exercise machine is a steel frame with shoulder pads with movable sleds - for greater convenience during exercises. This machine was designed by Georg himself.

Hackenschmidt simulator - the principle of its operation is to effectively develop and pump up the muscles of the legs, buttocks, thighs, and, in principle, enhance the potential of the legs. It must be said that this invention was unique in its kind back in those days, even now, after so many years, it has not lost its effectiveness, but on the contrary, it is in great demand among modern bodybuilders. It is produced by every serious manufacturer of sports equipment for fitness clubs.

Hack machine squats

Hack machine squats are performed similarly to the principle of fixed back squats. Hackenschmidt squats produce the same effect, but at the same time, exercises involving them will be much more effective, since a much wider range of muscles are involved here, and, therefore, you will be able to pump up faster. Muscle training is carried out by moving additional weight along the plane, bending the legs at the knees.

Girls and beginners can exercise on the simulator, as it is considered the least dangerous when performing basic technical tips. There are several options for positioning the feet on the platform while performing the exercise.

  • Legs on the top of the platform - Gluteus and Biceps hamstrings
  • Legs on the bottom of the platform - Quadriceps
  • Feet together - Quadriceps
  • Legs apart - Hip adductors

Which muscles are actively working in each case - follow the following instructions.

We recommend considering the technical aspects of performing squats in a hack machine using the following technique as an example.

Hack squats with narrow feet

It is worth noting that exercises in the Hack machine are somewhat different from classic squats with a barbell. Here the pressure of the projectile shifts to the lower body, and not to the shoulders (for this you will need to resort to a different type of training). The simulator helps improve the condition of the muscles of the buttocks, quadriceps, and as synergists - the muscles of the calves, legs and abs. That is, muscle pumping is done in a comprehensive manner.

What do you need to perform proper squats in a hack machine?

First, you need to choose the most optimal weight for yourself on the simulator. Here it is important not to overdo it, but to calculate everything correctly. It is necessary to take a position in such a way that your back rests against the back of the “apparatus”. Straighten up so that your shoulders touch the shoulder pads, and place your feet on the platform parallel to shoulder width. Bend at the lower back, then lean forward a little.

  • Place your feet back to the starting position.
  • Then proceed to prepare the projectile for movement: you need to unlock the restraining fasteners and remove the clamps.
  • As you exhale, slowly begin to lower the platform by bending your knees, lowering yourself to a 90-degree angle at the knee joint.
  • At the bottom support, make a smooth push with your feet, directing the weight upward. Then straighten your legs, then return to the starting position.

Squats in a hack machine must be performed several approaches, exactly as many times as specified in the training structure. We recommend looking at the detailed technique, tips and mistakes of the exercise in the next video.

Squats in a hack machine have a number of features that make it stand out from regular classic squats. It has its advantages, which include:

  • easy accessible technique for performing exercises. You automatically no longer need to “balance” with the barbell to better transfer its center of gravity;
  • load capacity increases;
  • minimal risk of injury during training, since the entire load is evenly distributed;
  • squats in a hack machine will allow you to develop your body on your own, without backup, without resorting to the services of third parties;
  • As the muscles in your legs develop evenly, your body will begin to produce hormones responsible for growth.

Example of a training program with a hack machine

Combining exercises into a complex for leg development is extremely simple. If you have a Hack machine in your gym, combine it with leg presses, sitting and lying leg curls. We offer the following basic training for beginners on equipment.

Georg Hackenschmidt is a circus athlete, sportsman-wrestler, multiple world record holder in weightlifting and world champion in French sports wrestling.

Gakkenshmidt was born in Tartu (Estonia). While still in real school, he became interested in physical exercises. He performed exercises on gymnastic apparatus, ran very well, swam, jumped well, and worked out with dumbbells.

In 1895 he moved to Tallinn, where he worked at a machine-building plant. At this time, he enjoys cycling and wins several prizes. Then I became interested in weightlifting, and this passion remained for the rest of my life. He attends an athletic club and trains a lot on his own.

While working at the factory, he made himself a special one-pound hammer, which he also used for his own training. I paid a lot of attention to training with barbells and kettlebells. He paid special attention to the development of leg muscles, using for this purpose not only special exercises with a barbell, but also jumping rope and various obstacles (tables, chairs). Often, while training his legs, he climbed the internal stairs to the spire of the Church of Olivesta, holding a two-pound weight in his hands, and sometimes he put a boy on his shoulders. He especially loved jumping. In a special combined jump (high and parallel jump), he had a result of 360 centimes. in length. By the way, he practiced jumping until he was very old. Even at the age of 82, Hackenschmidt could jump over a rope stretched across the backs of two chairs by pushing off the floor with both legs parallel.

Hard training produces its own results. In 1896, he squeezes 97 kilograms with one hand, and lifts 56.5 kilograms onto his biceps with his right hand. He begins performing in front of the public with athletic performances under the pseudonym Lenz. Meets the famous professional super-wrestler Georg Lurich, who influenced his passion for wrestling. In 1898 he moved to St. Petersburg, where he trained with the famous doctor V.F. Kraevsky.

This is how the editor of the Hercules magazine N.V. Lebedev describes the arrival of the young Hackenschmidt at the Kraevsky club:

...The door from the living room opens, and the “old doctor” leads in by the hand some broad-shouldered young man in a gray shabby jacket with the words: “Gentlemen, I recommend: Hakkenshmidt from Yuryev... So to speak, the star of Estonia!” I must admit that we did not greet the guest particularly friendly: they were very jealous of out-of-town athletes back then. We heard that Gakkenshmidt squeezes six pounds with one hand, but is weak in other movements. When he began to undress, we secretly hoped that we were about to give the Yuryev athlete a kick. But as soon as Gakkenshmidt took off his jacket and shirt, we gasped: we had never seen such muscles in any of the athletes. Absolutely without fat, all sculpted, with biceps of 44 - 45 centimeters, with a phenomenally wide back covered with lumps of muscle, the “newbie”, even before approaching the barbell, beat us to smithereens with his own figure alone. He started doing one-arm push-ups with 80 kilograms, then 104 - this was an all-Russian record. They shouted “bravo” and “hurray” to Hackenschmidt. We were no longer envious, having directly realized that “the newcomer is head and shoulders above all of us.”

The doctor settled Gakkenshmidt with him, and hard training began. The results have improved dramatically. Gackenschmidt breaks the record of the famous athlete Evgeniy Sandov in the one-arm press. Gackenschmidt's result is 116 kilograms. Then he sets the world record in the one-arm snatch - 85.51 kilograms.

He combines weightlifting with wrestling. He was the first Russian wrestler to become the winner of Europe (1898), and in 1901, at the international championship in Paris, he won the title of world winner in French wrestling. From this moment, Hackenschmidt’s triumphal march as an athlete and fighter through different countries begins. After one of the wrestling tournaments held in Paris in 1899, spectators began to call Hackenschmidt the “Russian Lion.” During one of his own tours, Hackenschmidt visited Munich, where he visited the famous former athlete Hans Steyer, who kept huge stones, barrels and other weights in his tavern as relics. Steyer was famous for his own eccentricities. His cane weighed 40 pounds, the snuffbox he held in the palm of his hand when treating his own friends weighed 100 pounds. Sometimes he would put a 75-pound top hat on his head, and when he arrived at a cafe, he would leave it on the table, then ask the waiter to bring him the top hat. Hackenschmidt tried his own strength and lifted a stone weighing 300 kilograms from the ground with one hand.

In 1911, Hackenschmidt published a system of physical development, “The Path to Strength and Health,” which immediately gained great popularity among athletic enthusiasts. In the preface, Hackenschmidt says: “Health is inseparable from strength, one follows from the other, and everyone will create a faithful stronghold within himself if he strengthens his body. There is no age that does not allow the opportunity to do gymnastics.”

Anthropometric data of Gakkenshmidt: height - 176 centimeters; weight - 94 kilograms; chest circumference - 125 centimeters; biceps circumference - 47 centimeters; thigh circumference - 68 centimeters.

In the last years of his life he became interested in philosophy and gave lectures at universities in England, America and Germany. He published several philosophical works: “The Overthrow of Reason from the Throne”, “Coming from Within”, “Man and Cosantimic Antagonism against Mind and Spirit”, “Self-Improvement”, etc. Hackenschmidt did not stop doing physical exercises until his old age and had great strength.

Leg training on simulators

Hack squats with narrow feet

  • 3 sets of 12,10,8 repetitions
  • Body part: Quadriceps Equipment: Exercise

Leg press

  • 3 sets of 12,10,8 repetitions
  • Body part: Quadriceps Equipment: Exercise

Leg straightening in the simulator

  • 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Body part: Quadriceps Equipment: Exercise

Leg bending in a lying machine

  • 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Body part: Hamstrings Equipment: Exercise

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How did the athlete eat?

Georg was very meticulous about his diet, in particular, he strictly adhered to the diet that Kraevsky developed especially for him. In this diet, each element was as balanced as possible, that is, it was exclusively beneficial.

Georg himself never overeated, but consumed exactly as much food as was enough for him to maintain a balance of strength and energy. The basis of the diet was: fruits, vegetables, nuts. Since Gakkelschmidt was a vegetarian, it was necessary to eat them daily in large quantities in order to replenish the fat and carbohydrate content in the body. No less important in the diet were protein-rich foods, which served as the basis for normal muscle growth and nutrition.

Regime according to the Kraevsky system

Having moved to St. Petersburg, the guy settled with his friend and mentor Vladislav Frantsevich, who, in turn, lived alone in a huge house on Mikhailovskaya Square. The gym was equipped with strength training equipment, dumbbells and barbells.

One of the rooms was hung with portraits of famous athletes, and wrestlers who came to St. Petersburg were sure to visit the hospitable home of the famous doctor. At the same time, each of them was weighed, measured and examined. Perhaps such an extensive study of different people with physical development served as the basis for Kraevsky to create his own training system. The gathering of athletes in one house and public weighing contributed to the development of the desire of each of the athletes present to become better than others.

Georg Hackenschmidt training

Georg Hackenschmidt, whose photos are an example to follow of what a healthy and beautiful male body should look like, never touched tobacco or alcohol. He drank exclusively milk. Georg trained with Vladislav Frantsevich after taking bathing procedures. Without drying themselves, they lifted weights together until they were completely dry. The main rule for a healthy person, established by Kraevsky, is eight hours of sleep.

Hackenschmidt's first and last loss

“Nothing lasts forever under the sun,” so the invincible “Russian Lion” at one point ceased to be considered invincible. This legendary event happened in Chicago on April 3, 1908. Many fans spoke of it as something truly tragic, since it seemed that Georg was invincible. The battle lasted at least 2 hours. None of the wrestlers ever fell, so as not to give an advantage to the other.

It was noted more than once by fans that Frank, Hackenschmidt’s opponent, fought dishonestly. The enemy used “forbidden techniques” like scratching, in addition, his body was covered with some kind of oily liquid, which gave him some advantage, because the enemy could not hold his body for long (his hands slipped). Thus, it was simply impossible to capture it or turn it over. There was even an opinion that the judges were simply bribed, that they simply turned a blind eye precisely for this reason.

To say that this fight caused violent indignation with many controversies for many years is to say nothing. Georg's fans were indignant. So, in 1911, a rematch was supposed to take place, which never happened, because Hackenschmidt received a serious leg injury. This event was fatal for the career of the “Russian Lion”. The loss affected him so much that the champion refused to take part in further tournaments.

Family and childhood of an athlete

Georg Hackenschmidt, later known as the Russian Lion, was born in the Estonian city of Tartu, on the night of August 1st to 2nd, 1878. His family subsisted on the small earnings of his father, the German Georg Friedrich Heinrich, who worked as a master dyer; the mother of the future hero, half Estonian and half Swedish, did housework. In the future, Georg Hackenschmidt himself always considered himself an Estonian.

There is a small story about the birth of Geckenschmidt; they say that the midwife who delivered the birth claimed that Georg was the largest baby in her history. From which we can conclude that the future Russian Lion was strong from birth.

So in childhood, in his company of children, he was famous for his willpower and physical strength, which made him the leader and ringleader of the Tartuv children. Georg liked this superiority and decided to improve in this area, starting with a childish imitation of the famous athletes of the time, especially Evgeniy Sandow, who was interested in gymnastics and weight lifting.

At the age of ten, the school teachers begin to notice the potential in George, who is completely passionate about sports; on their advice, he realizes the importance of constant training to achieve a significant result.

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