The History Behind the Hercules Hold: The Pillars of Hercules

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The mythological tale of the Pillars of Hercules, tells a story that Hercules himself, while having to cross a mountain on his way to the garden of the Hesperides, used his superhuman strength to smash a mountain into two pieces that was blocking his way, rather than climb over it. When these two pieces of the mountain fell into the sea, they formed what we know of today as; Gibraltar and Monte Hacho. Ever since this tale of what happened within the strait of Gibraltar was told, these two halves of the mountain have been known as the Pillars of Hercules.
Although in today’s world we do not know of people with such super human strength as the described Greek gods. The tale of Hercules and how he managed to smash through a mountain creating to separate huge rocks, lives on. This is why when we see the strongmen preforming these super extreme holds, this is the closest thing to superhuman strength as we know it. This is why holding up two huge concrete pillars is known as the Hercules hold. Although the strongmen of today hold these pillars from falling down, this is how we would imagine the incredible Hercules would have held these rock formations from falling down if they had been a danger.

About The Hercules Hold

The Hercules hold requires the strongman to hold up two giant pillars of 160kg each for as long as possible, this is a true test of power, grip strength and determination. It is often the athlete that can best overcome the mental torment of being pulled apart by two massive weights that prevails, over the man with the superior grip or strength but cannot handle the mental torment that is applied.

The two pillars (or weights in less extravagant setups) are attached to chains which have handles for the strongman to grip hold of. The strongman stands in the middle, in this case between the two pillars and takes hold of a handle in each hand before the pillars are released. Once the pillars are released they start vigorously pulling the strongman in opposite directions. The man who can hold onto the pillars for the longest time is declared the winner.

Training for the Hercules Hold: The Hercules Hold is very difficult to practice as it is not often that you find two falling pillars with chains and handles on for you to hold. Even creating a make shift way to practice this can be very dangerous dependant on what you are using to hold onto. Although there are not many things that can replicate this hold, the closest thing to be able to hold a good amount of weight in each arm in this way is within a gym. While using a gym, if you take the cable crossover machine (one with adjustable height), you can replicate this hold by putting the weight nice and high on both cables, at a height slightly below your shoulders. Find a few people within the gym or even your friends if they are available, who can help and pass you a handle in each hand to hold. Once you have hold of both handles and the heavy weight is trying to pull you apart. Stay central and try to hold this weight for as long as possible. Although in the Hercules hold, you see the strongman hold on until he cannot anymore, this is only recommended if the people who are assisting you can grab the cables for when you let go. If this is not possible try to train yourself and improve your grip strength, but do not suddenly drop the handles if you have heavy weight on. One reason for this is because if you are new to this strongman exercise, you may cause yourself injury and secondly, if you suddenly let go and weights start smashing together in the gym, you may lose your membership!

Current World Records

The official record for the Hercules Hold was set at the Giants Live Wembley in 2019 and is in the name of Mark Felix with a stunning time of 83.62 seconds. Since then Mark Felix has gone on to set a new world record in the Hercules Hold event at Giants live Manchester in 2019 with a time of 87.52 seconds. This is currently the highest time achieved within this event and is currently the world record.

Date of Event: Name of World Record Holder: Location of Event: Record Time:
Sep 7th 2019 Mark Felix Giants Live, Manchester Arena 87.52 seconds
July 6th 2019 Mark Felix Giants Live, Wembley Arena 83.62 seconds



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