Strongest guys that didn't lift?

Throughout my years in BJJ, I've grappled tons of people. What was surprising was that there was some people who extremely strong for their size yet didn't lift any weights. Here are a couple people that came to mind....

A Russian sambo/judo player I knew had extremely strong joints, flexible like Gumby, and very strong for his size. I remember once when he put an armbar on me, I pulled my elbow below his groin so he couldn't lock my elbow. He just heaved and there was so much pressure on my forearm bone that I thought my bone would break and I had to tap. I saw him occasionally do some pull ups, but I asked him what other physical activities he did. He said he did gymnastics when he was younger and besides judo/sambo, he also did rock climbing.

I also grappled a gymnast once and I was really surprised at how strong he was considering that he was a pretty small guy. It took a lot of my strength to get him to tap to an armlock. Applying an armlock in him was like applied it on a iron rod. Of course the guy had great balance and explosiveness.

I knew a guy who was really big. He wasn't weightlifting big, but manual labor farm boy big. Even though the guy was 260 lbs, he was extremely agile and could move like smaller guy. It was pretty unbelievable the amount of power this guy had. He'd go up against guys of equal size who were the body builder type and just fold those guys in half.

So, I was wondering who were some of the really strong guys that you all have come across who never really lifted any weights?

I've rolled with some wrestlers who were pretty friggin' strong without lifting weights.

Josh Koscheck says he doesn't lift, and just builds strength from the body-against-body resistance of wrestling. Maybe there's something to that.

you got it. wrestlers and gymnasts. some of the strongest bastards you'll come across.

my dad tells me there are some old school iron worker or lumber jack types that could rip your head off with their bare hands. i don't see those guys going to the gym much. haha

Resistance is resistance

The gymnast turned grappler is a scary beast.

There was a professional body-boarder that used to train at my old gym...that freakin' guy was almost impossible to leg trip or reverse from the guard.

A few years ago, I rolled with a guy who was a white belt and had maybe
been training for 6 months. He was at least 10-15 pounds lighter than
me. No wrestling, grappling, or martial arts experience prior. I put him
in my closed guard and expected an easy match. Every time he touched
me, it was like he was crushing whatever he touched. His grip strength
and overall isometric strength was amazing. I couldn't do a thing with
him. I found out later that he was a plumber.

I just LOL'd at JRockwell post:D I dunno why...

When I was growing up my father's friend was an iron worker in the 70's. That guy could tear a bumper of a car. Also outdoor painters have unreal wrist and arm strength. I saw this old time painter last summer that was about 65 take an old fully extended 2 story ladder and walk to the other side of the house like it was nothing. Dr Evil


I was strongest and skinniest as a furniture mover.

Of course, I suppose it all depend what you mean by "lift" because that
was day after (12+hour) day of 60 pound standing presses, and 60
-200 lb dead lift and carries... with stairs.

God I hate my desk job. Moving was hell too though, lol

Crazy, you would think those guys were moving resistance using full body coordination. We have a framer/contractor that we roll with that builds spec homes. He hangs from stuff instead of using ladders, scary grip, you can maybe get out if you plant both feet on his chest and yank, but even then I hurt my elbow last time.

I've run into the mysterious old man strength on a number of occassions. I'm big myself (6"5, 250 lbs), and I got this older guy of about about the same size in a kimura from my back, and I just could not bend his arm back, even with my full core strength. He wasn't gripping up or anything, he just locked his arm and I couldn't Kimura him. Humbling moment.

Plumber Strength is scary stuff.

I've been grappling and fighting for damn near 8 years now,and I haven't met a single person with a grip like my dad. Without ever working out he was able to do REPS, I mean MULTIPLE full closures with my Captains of Crush #2

He was an Industrial plumber and Pipefitter (Go Union!) GO figure.

He has a grip like a vice... If his back wasn't all fuxored up, i'd love to teach him to grapple...

I have to vouch for either the old man strength of manual labors or the freakish strength of wrestlers.  I knew a guy was a wrestler and was a state champ at 125 his freshman year.  He jumped in weight up to 179 by his senior year.  He had the quickness of the 125 with the ungodly strength of the heavier class.  He was a nightmare.  I don't think he did anything but wrestling either.


Strongest guys I rolled with have been two different judo players. They were the same size as me but just felt in a different stratosphere in terms of strength.

An old training partner in OH was a mechanic, and this dude had a grip of steel. He was about 230lbs, 6'3 and said he could bench about 225. LOL

That dude was damn near impossible to armlock or choke, his strength was unreal.

I have ran into a number of insanely strong people..Dean Lister besides being a great grappler is a very strong guy and he does not lift at all really.. he doesn't need to use it on people like me but every once in a while he will use it and when he does you know it.

The most brutally strong person I have wrestled has been Sokodjou. I have never been treated like a little girl the way I did the couple times I trained with him.. UNBELIEVEABLY strong.

gymnastics exercises compliment grappling well imo. the flexibility that one can achieve from gymnastics is more than adequate to do all that eddie bravo/nino schembri type shit.