Charles Rigoulot and his Challenge Barbell
by Al Myers
Charles Rigoulot was born in a small town close to Paris, France in 1903. He started to lift weights at an early age and soon became one of the strongest weightlifters in France. Rigoulot was a specialist in the quick lifts, and excelled at the Clean and Jerks, Snatches, and Swings. He was also great in the One Handed Snatch. So it is only fitting that Rigoulot would build a Challenge Barbell to give him “an edge” in these lifts. His Challenge Barbell was a special made bar that contained shot-loaded globes on the ends. The bar was over 8 feet in length and was exceedingly springy. Rigoulot mastered the technique of using this “spring” to enhance his lifts – much like the Olympic lifters of today do on the “new-age” Olympic bars. His challengers could not easily adjust to his Challenge Barbell flexing and rebounding, and often lifted less on it than if they were lifting on a rigid bar!!