There is a dumbbell that could be lifted exclusively by one person for nearly a century. 

Many renowned strongmen throughout the world tried and failed to lift it.

This dumbbell stayed on the ground. It refused to budge.

It remains a unique dumbbell that still challenges strongmen across the world.

It’s the dumbbell that the strongest men in the world would give anything to lift. It is also the dumbbell challenge that has grown in the weight training history.

It’s called the Inch Dumbbell.

This is the Thomas Inch Dumbbell Weight. It looks like any ordinary dumbbell.

How much does the thomas inch dumbbell weight? 

It weighs only 172 pounds. That is 78 kilograms in metric units.

Of course, it’s not light.

But it’s not too heavy for strongmen who do deadlifts of over 1,000 pounds.

From its appearance and weight, it doesn’t seem special at all.

So, what makes the inch dumbbell hard to lift?

Thomas inch dumbbell

The secret of the Thomas Inch Dumbbell is hidden in its handle.

Its handle has a diameter of around 2.5 inches. It’s as thick as a soda can.

But this overly thick handle makes the dumbbell almost impossible to lift.

Its thickness lets the hand of most people only cover about half of it.

As you lift it, the 172-pound dumbbell will rip your grip open. It will roll right out of your fingers.

You must hold this weighty dumbbell only with your fingertips to prevent it from escaping your grip.

You can lift it only if you have a very powerful grip strength.

The Thomas Inch Dumbbell has a history of great importance.

Its dimensions have nothing to do with the ‘inch‘.

The name comes from Thomas Inch, an English strongman who was born in 1881.

Throughout his career Inch holds the title of Britain’s Strongest Man.

He could tear a stack of cards in half.

He could rip the other half in half with his superhuman grip strength.

In about 1906, he unveiled the Inch Dumbbell to prove that his grip strength was the strongest in the world.

He traveled across the world with the Inch Dumbbell demonstrating his incredible grip strength and challenging the strongmen of the world to replicate his feat.

This is the origin of the Inch Dumbbell Challenge.

Some people even suspected that Thomas Inch used a trick such as altering the dumbbell or lifting a fake dumbbell to gain fame.

Who was the first person to lift the thomas inch dumbbell other than himself? 

Till he passed away in 1963, no man was able to successfully lift the dumbbell except Thomas Inch. Once, someone raised the Inch Dumbbell to his knees in Thomas’s lifetime. But no one ever succeeded in lifting it with one hand, overhead, as Thomas did.

This legendary challenge was met almost half a century after Thomas’ death. In 2002, someone finally succeeded in lifting the dumbbell! 

It was Mark Henry, an American powerlifter and Olympic weightlifter. He was also a well-known and successful professional wrestler.

As a powerlifter, he won the world championship of the World Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation.

He held raw world records in the squat and deadlift.

As a weightlifter, he won the U.S. National Weightlifting Championship three times

and the U.S. Olympic Festival Championship twice.

Despite his incredible strength, he failed the Inch Dumbbell challenge on his first attempt.

He practiced long and hard. On his second try, he ended this century-long challenge.

How to lift the inch dumbbell?

Mark Henry did a successful one-hand clean and jerk of the Inch Dumbbell.

Experts explained that Mark Henry succeeded in the Inch Dumbbell Challenge because of the giant size of his hand.

His hand size is similar to that of Kawhi Leonard, famous for having one of the biggest hands among NBA players.

Since he could wrap his hand around the dumbbell’s thick handle, Mark Henry could stably hold and lift the Inch Dumbbell overhead.

On Grip Board, the world’s Number 1 online community for grip strength, the considered opinion is that basketball players can lift the Inch Dumbbell more easily than other sports players because of their large hand sizes.

The passion for the Inch Dumbbell Challenge has not disappeared even after Mark Henry lifted it.

The Inch Dumbbell challenge has even evolved.

At the Arnold Fitness Expo, competitors perform a Farmer’s Walk holding an Inch Dumbbell in each hand.

Some strongmen put soda cans on top of the Inch Dumbbell and lift it as a new challenge, preventing the Inch Dumbbell from spinning.

Brian Shaw is the four-time winner of the World’s Strongest Man competitions.

He succeeded in double press opening a new genre of the Inch Dumbbell Challenge.


Do you like lifting weights? Are you looking for a new challenge?

Why don’t you take up the Inch Dumbbell Challenge?

You can even create a new challenge with this legendary dumbbell.

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