by Steve Gardner
Some were asking recently about the history of the IAWA Record for Total Poundage in 3 hours and 9 minutes. It was started by the late great Warren Lincoln Travis.
Here is the story:
Warren Lincoln Travis was the first famous strongman in the United States and a world champion back and hip lifter, who performed feats of strength on Coney Island in the first quarter of the 20th century. Travis was born in Brooklyn and turned professional at age 21. He weighed only around 200 pounds at his prime. In 1906, he was awarded the “World’s Greatest Weightlifter” by a popular strength publication and received a jewel-studded belt.
His favorite lifts were the Heavy Lifts, such as the Harness Lift and the Back Lift, and Finger Lifts. In front of witnesses, he lifted 3,985 pounds in the Harness Lift and 4,140 pounds in the Back Lift. In 1907, he lifted 667 pounds with one finger.
Travis was a successful as a businessman and became very wealthy. For 55 years, he held the record for total poundage lifted, that is, lifts done for repetitions, where the lifter may choose any lift and rep/set scheme, to lift the most weight within a given time frame. The standard for this record was initially set by Travis in 1927, when he Back Lifted 5.5 million pounds in 3 hours, 9 minutes. He did this by doing 5500 reps with 1000 pounds. His record was broken in 1982 by Howard Prechtel (who later became first President of IAWA) who Back Lifted 6,066,060 pounds in 3 hours, 9 minutes.