Baddest Mofos Ever- Mac Batchelor
many people do you think you’ve met with measurements even close to 6’
1½ “, 300-330 lbs, 20″ neck, 19¼” arms, 52½” chest, and a 19″ calf?
I’ll tell you how many- maybe one. Offhand, the only person of whom I
can think who had these cold measurements was legendary strongman,
Olympic weightlifter, strongman, and stand-in for Godzilla otherwise
known as Mark Henry. Having met him a couple of times, I can tell you
that shaking hands with Mark Henry is like shaking hands with a
Transformer wearing a double-size Predator mask and boasting hands so
big they make a catcher’s mitt look like a small child’s mitten. You
know, he is the sort of man who has the physical presence of a literal
mountain- the dude left more of an impression on me than the Grand
Canyon had a few years earlier. So, the fact that Mac Batchelor was
similarly sized to our version of a modern day Colossus in an era that
food rationing was in effect is nearly unbelievably, but that’s hardly
the most insane thing Batchelor pulled off in his life.
This level of finger strength is completely unthinkable to me.
you’ve never heard of the guy, and I know I hadn’t, that’s a
goddamned shame. No athlete of which I know this side of the
legendary Greek wrestler and bovine-lover Milo had a career like
Batchelor, who never lost an arm wrestling match in 25 years
(1931-1956). He never turned down a match, whether he was so drunk he
was pissing down his own leg, had just lifted for four hours, was at a
funeral, or was in the middle of banging some sloot- Mac Batchelor
effed up all comers for 25 years like he was Mike Tyson with a fistful
of Viagra backstage at the Ms. America pageant. That’s right- unlike
almost any other athlete of whom you’ve ever heard, save for champion
jogger and alleged boxer Floyd Mayweather and a couple of other boxers,
“Ian “Mac” Batchelor, who retired at the age of fifty after having
taken on all comers night after night and decade after decade at his
bar, playing right hand or left seated or standing, open hand or
thumblock, sick or well, tired or fresh, drunk or sober, [straightened]
the arm of every man he met” and was generally the type of man-monster
about whom you only hear in myths and legends about superhumans from the
mists of history (Todd).
a bartender, Mac Batchelor had a hell of a lot of time to apply product
to his mustache and to practice mangling beer bottle caps… and not
the new-school aluminum twist off types, but old school,
steel bottlecaps. To say he was a monster4 in the grip department is
like saying I’d kind like to punch that stupid bitch Sia out of her
shoes for thinking she’s clever for walking around in public with a
paper bag on her head. Mac could pinch grip 80 lb plates with no lip in
each hand and walk 30 feet, and could pinch grip a 165 lb plate with
one hand. As if that wasn’t enough, he could simultaneously crush 3
bottlecaps simultaneously, one in between each finger on his right
hand. He could also crush a bottlecap between his thumb and forefinger
with his fingers held straight.
Seriously, the stuff this man could do with his hands makes the stories about Paul Bunyan seem plausible.
could bend every standard spike into a “U” shape – 60, 80, 100 and 120.
He could muscle out a 12 pound sledge hammer, 30 inch long handle, by
grasping the end of the handle. He could hook his middle finger into the
hole of an 80 pound barbell plate and do a one-arm curl.
Dude drank two cases of beer a day and an unspecified but not inconsiderable number of shots of whiskey.
While weighing 300 pounds Mac could hang on to a vertical climbing
rope with one hand, WITH HIS THUMB UNLOCKED. He could grasp a large 2 or
2½ foot high wine bottle at the tip or neck and then work the bottle
upward by working the fingers downward. THE BOTTLE WAS FILLED WITH LEAD
SHOT. He could pinch grip a beer bottle with both thumb holding the lip
of the bottle so that it was parallel to the bar” (Boff).
cares about that crap, right? No one’s ever heard of a grip
specialist dominating a “real” strength sport… except for the fact
that Big Mac wasn’t just a grip specialist- he was just all-round
strong. Beast mode when he entered the gym was for light days-
most days he seemed to have been stuck on Godzilla mode, smashing
everything around him and causing all of the little people around him to
run away screaming in terror. On a few occasions, Mac did a backlift
of 3,000 lbs at a bodyweight of 275, just for funsies. In
true Viking-style form, Mac once shouldered a 40 foot long telephone
pole weighing seven to eight hundred pounds and walked over 300 feet
with it- it might be half the weight of the ship’s mast that killed the
legendary Viking Orm Storulfsson, but it was longer and Mac practically
went for a jog with the goddamned thing. Later that year, Mac picked up a
horse on a movie set and carried it on his back for 20 feet before
climbing the world’s sturdiest 16 foot ladder with it on it’s back. Why
anyone would attempt to carry a 700 lb live animal 16 feet into the air
is a mystery we may never solve, but it seems clear that the number of effs Mac gave about gravity was inversely proportional to the amount of
awesome in his mustache.
Mac’s training was an interesting mix of bartending, powerlifting, and
Diesel Crew stuff. All day long at his bar, he’d be casually bending
beer and whiskey bottle caps while smiling like a lunatic, twisting his
mustache like a cartoon evildoer, and slamming shots and beers.
Afterward, he’d hit his badass little home gym that looked to be equal
parts medieval torture devices and old timey powerlifting apparatus.
Two days a week, he’d do straight powerlifting work. Given that all of
the training at that time was more volume heavy than a chick’s
conditioner commercial, it stands to reason that a guy who would bend
bottlecaps for eight hours a day would be all about some crazy intense,
longer-than-a-well-hung-midget’s-dick workouts involving a hell of a lot of
compound movements with low reps and not much else.
backed and stiff legged double overhand 651lb deadlift at age 36 after
beating the breaks off everyone in the meet at the three Olympic lifts.
Yeah, you are not training hard enough.
give you some idea of how Batchelor might have trained at this time,
here is a synopsis of how a beast of a 181lb proto-powerlifter trained
in that era- Bob Peoples. The first 181lber to deadlift over 600lbs,
Peoples utilized what was then standard for powerlifting training.
1.) Warm up with light or medium weight to warm muscles and joints.
2,) Dead Lift
3.) Deep Knee Bend
6.) Clean and Jerk
All for 3 to 5 repetitions.
kept strict records and when five repetitions were reached, I added
weight and started again, making as much progress as possible on each of
the individual lifts. Along with this, I used some heavy lockouts or
half and quarter squats. I always did situps with weight and some leg
raises along with the above routine. At times, I would mix other
exercises in with my regular routine. Some of these were chin-ups, neck
work, curls, toe raises and others.
usually used one set of low repetitions for strength building. I used
the most weight possible and went for as many repetitions as I possibly
could, going the limit every day.
every two weeks or less, according to the way I felt, I would try a
personal record on the deal lift, deep knee bends and the three Olympic
likely followed a similar method, only his warmup was vastly different-
he’d bang out a single set of 20 speed squats, cold, beltless, and
without wraps, with 350 lbs. If that doesn’t clue you into Mac’s
utterly fearless, zero-craps-given, damn the torpedoes style of training
(which was very likely done drunk, because according to a number of
sources he was rarely seen sober), nothing will. The man trained like
nothing you have ever seen, and likely never will. Check out
his method (and absurd weight for a modified concentration curl)-
“Here is an exercise favorite of mine. Sit on a chair, place a 100 lb.
dumbbell on the floor between feet, collars almost touching opposite
ankles, palm of hand gripping bar facing body start, disengaged hand
resting on corresponding knee, body bent over. Then spin the dumbbell on
floor by supinating hand until palm is forward (curl position). At this
instant, curl to shoulder as you sit up and press strongly with
disengaged hand on corresponding knee. The original momentum from the
spin on the floor brings the bell easily to the shoulder at the
completion as you sit upright” (Batchelor
training for Mac Batchelor was like bone-in ribeyes are for me- absolutely
indispensable and a cornerstone of my life. Whereas I have been known to grill steaks in a hibachi out back of the gym during long workouts to boost my test levels, Big Mac was banging
back whiskey and snapping corks between his thumb and forefinger all day long. When
that kind of a maniac is at the wheel, you know every workout is going
straight to the nuthouse in terms of inventiveness and
intensity. There isn’t much in the way of definitive workout routines
from this mustachioed maniac, but here are two of his favorite grip
exercises, in his own words:
“Finger Gripping Barbell Plates
— Here’s another good exercise to toughen and strengthen your grip and
forearms: grip a 25-pound of heavier plate (depending on your present
strength) by the rim, using only your thumb and fingers — don’t let it
touch the palm. Lift it to shoulder height in slow motion for 10 to 15
reps. Increase the reps as you become stronger to build your endurance
for wrist wrestling.
favorite of the old-time wrist wrestlers was gripping a smooth, flat,
heavy plate between thumb and forefinger, then transferring it, without
losing their grip, to a position between their thumb and middle finger
— and so on down the line until they were holding the plate in the most
difficult way possible — between thumb and smallest finger. They would
then reverse the process, never once putting down the plate or losing a
grip on it.
doing exercise it’s best to first warm up your hand muscles with some
other exercise. Start with light plates then go on to heavier ones.
Consider yourself a good man if you can do this exercise with a 25-pound
Crushing Beer Cans
— One of my favorite exercises, when working in my bar during
occasional quiet afternoons, was to crush beer cans between my fingers. I
trained my grip at every opportunity to fortify my wrist wrestling arm
against the constant competition I had for my title of World’s Champion
Wrist Wrestler. Crushing beer cans was a good way to obtain that needed
conditioning. With the innovation of beer cans, which vary from soft
metal to those that seem to be made of iron, arm wrestlers everywhere
had a new and convenient type of training medium.
developing finger strength try this: pinch the middle of the lighter
cans together with thumb and forefinger only. With those of heavier
metal, grip each end with both hands and bend back and forth until a
break starts in the center. Now, while maintaining the same grip, twist
with both hands back and forth a few times until the can is torn in
half. Be careful not to cut yourself — those edges are like knives.
Practice of this exercise will help give you the twisting power of grip
that is vital to being a successful arm grappler. When practicing stunts
or exercises, put resin on your hands to avoid slipping. You should do
this particularly when you’re handling barbells and dumbbells”
summary, a badass mustache, rampant drunkenness, and training non-stop
led Mac Batchelor to a 25 year undefeated streak in armwrestling. It
wasn’t the perfect program, the perfect gym, any coaching whatsoever, or
certain supplements that led to his ridiculous unbeaten streak- it was
balls, brains, guts, and utter goddamned fearlessness.
Think less. Do more. Go effing nuts.
Anything less is civilized, and “civilized” people are good for nothing other than work camps and wage slavery.
Batchelor, Mac. Curling Heavy Weights. The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso
Ban. 18 Sep 2008. Web. 30 May 2017.
Batchelor, Mac. Unique ways to build arm wrestling power. The Tight
Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban. 11 Feb 2012. Web. 30 May 2017.
Boff, Vic. Epitaph for a strongman- Mac Batchelor. The Tight Tan
Slacks of Dezso Ban. 5 Oct 2010. Web. 11 Oct 2016.
Grimek, John. Ian “Mac” Batchelor. The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban. 29 Aug 2008. Web. 8 Feb 2018.
Bob. The training methods of Bob Peoples. Reprinted from April/May
1952 Iron Man magazine. 12 May 2011. Web. 9 Feb 2018.
Todd, T. Mac and Jan. Iron Game History. 1995 Apr;3(6):17-19.