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1  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: August 13, 2014, 04:56:40 PM
An odd incident happened one afternoon at Sig's Gym.  A 77 year old man and his 40 year old son came in.  The son wanted to workout, so Sig explained the rules.  The son was mentally challenged and the father never workout before.  Sig said OK and charged them a day by day fee.  The father said the son could at times be very disagreeable.  Sig was now concerned.  He said the father had to be there when the son worked out to calm any situation.  The son said to me one day can I get big and strong as you?  I said yes, but you must do as Sig says.  The son said he would.  Sig heard the conversation and smiled and winked at me.  The father while watching the son tried a pair of tenlb dumbells on a bench.  He sat down with them. I paid no attention to him for a few minutes, then noticed he had not moved, dumbells still on his knees.  I looked at Sig and pointed to the father.  Sig went over to him, bent over looked at his face.  He was asleep!  Sig woke him and said he cannot sleep in the gym and that the dumbells could fall on his feet.  Father and son were gone in about a week.  I felt sorry for both father and son.                                                 Tom
2  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: July 21, 2014, 04:24:14 PM
I remember one fellow member in Sigs gym.  He had 18" arms powerful shoulder and a good chest and back.  One problem was he had very poor legs.  He never did squats!  He could bench press 405 lbs. but not in good style.  The one part of his body that stayed in contact with the bench was his upper back.  He got the weight up with a good bounce off his chest and a big arch.  I don't know what he could do if he stayed in contact with the bench and used the touch and go method.  Another interesting thing he did which surprised me was he would take cigarette breaks.. He would go in the locker room a couple of times during his workout and sit by the open window with his cigarette!!  I mentioned this to Sig and he smiled and shrugged.  I was surprised Sig allowed this!

 
Tom
3  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: July 13, 2014, 07:38:22 AM
grimek was hoffman's right hand man, reports say hoffman thought of grimek as a son, but wrote him out of his  will at the last minute.

That's funny!
Sig and Grimek were friends, correct? But, John spent most of his time at Hoffman's?

Yes Sig and Grimek were friends and close friends in my opinion.  They went to many meets together and Grimek visited Sig at his gym on many occasions.  Grimek was Hoffman's deliver of messages to Sig not all freindly messages.  i got the impression Grimek was afraid of Hoffman.  Maybe because he was in Hoffman's will.  Just speculation on my part.

Tom
4  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: July 12, 2014, 04:49:17 PM
I recall another occasion Sig was talking to three members about his time on stage.  He said he would bend spikes and throw them out to the audience.  Well one time he said someone in the audience was straighting them out and throwing them back.  I made a smart remark at that point and said maybe Grimek was in the audience.  That drew a stare from Sig so I shut up and just listened.  Sig said from then on he would close the spikes as much as he could and then with one in each hand squeeze them so nobody could get his fingers between the closed spikes.  Then he would throw them to the audience.  Problem solved.  He also mentioned that when he met Hackenschmidt he told him he had the same problem and solved it the same way.Must have been a problem for all strongmen back then.      
5  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: July 07, 2014, 08:24:47 AM
An incident involving Sig, myself and my mother.  Yes, fellows my mother!

One day Sig showed me a rubber mat that we would use to prevent slipping when doing squats etc.  The mat was well worn and crumbling.  Sig was down to his last couple of mats and could not find them in the stores in his area.  I said my mom uses them in the house to kneel on.  Sig said really!  Could your mom buy them for me I will gladly pay for them.  A few days later I arrived at the gym with about a dozen new mats.  Sig was pleasantly surprised and promptly paid for them.  He said to convey his thanks to my mom.  Mom said he was very welcome.  Leave it to moms to come thru in a pinch, even for the gym!

Tom
6  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: June 24, 2014, 04:36:57 PM
That is a great photo of Sig and his steins.  Many of them I don't remember seeing in his gym.  The photo I mentioned in above post I only saw in Muscle Builder, Nov. 1963, page 7.  I looked on the net for the same photo but no luck.  I do not see the small stein in question in the above photo.

Tom
7  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: June 21, 2014, 04:41:40 PM
On another post I talked about Sig's beer stein collection.  I recalled a conversation I had with Sig one day about his collection.  He said most people think the large steins were the most valuable, but most people would be wrong.  He pointed to a very small grayish stein and said that is the most valuable and favorite one in his collection.    He said he would never sell it and planned to take it home when he retires.  If you want to see it there is a photo of Sig in Muscle Builder Nov. 1963 page 7.  Sig is hoisting a large stein as if drinking, in front  is a table of many steins with the small one in front of the others.  When the gym closed Sig did take that stein home with him along with many others.               
8  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: April 03, 2014, 04:20:41 PM
Sig would sometimes ask a client who was making progress if he could take some measurment.  Well, actualy he would say come over hear I want to measure you.  So he said to me one day.  Sig would take his tape and first lay it on a yard stick to make sure it did not shrink over time.  He then told me to flex my arm and he would slip the tape around, adjust it to get a precise measurement.  He then pulled it snugly around my arm and said what the hell.  The measurement was almost 20 inches!  I smiled and started to laugh. At first he didn't see I had slipped two fingers inside the tape.  He then pulled the tape off and said lets do it again the right way. I was going to put three fingers between the tape this time, but thought better of it.  Now he got the true measurement of 17 1/4 inches.  He was satisfied.

Tom
9  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: April 03, 2014, 04:04:23 PM
never trained there but heard it was one of the smallest commercial gyms ever. will give more detail when more time.

Here is another gym about the same size as Sig Kleins gym.  Loloyd's Gym, San Diego, about 20x40 feet.  See Mr. America, May 1963, page 74.

Tom
10  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: April 02, 2014, 04:27:38 PM
Another actor named Mike Baseleon worked out at Sigs. He was known as the golden greek.  He always had a great tan. Let me tell you of a interesting incident between Mike, myself and Sig.

Besides working out at Sigs I worked out at a midtown YMCA.  I went there to practice some Olympic lifting.  On one occassion at the Y Mike saw me and came over and said don't tell Sig you saw me here. I said I won't.  A week or so later Sig said to me why are you going to the Y?  I was very surprised he knew.  I told him the reason and he was very concerned I would leave his gym.  I explained I had no intention to leave and he seemed satisfied.  I never told Sig that Mike also was at the Y.  I though about how Sig found out.  Did Mike tell him?  No, Mike didn't want Sig to know either.  I then thought there must have been a third party at the gym who saw me. I never tried to find out who told Sig.  He probably would not have told me anyway.  The whole incident was forgotten and life went on as usual. Mike was as friendly as ever and I did not want to change that.
11  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: April 02, 2014, 04:07:41 PM
now you went and made me look it up. it was on page 38 of that issue stan brice was on the cover. fellows name was jerry pelto.

Jerry was a very nice guy and always seemed to be there when Sig needed him. He was familiar with the operation and everyone liked him.  Oh, by the way did you read the article?

Tom
12  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: April 01, 2014, 04:22:40 PM
Well, I'am running out of funny happenings at Sigs gym. However there were many amusing incidents that took place over the years that were minor but not real standouts in my memory.  You would have to  been there to appreciate them.  However one incident I will relate now.

A minor broadway actor named Alex worked out there.  He was absent from the gym for a few months at one point.  When he returned I said long time no see.  He replied in his rich voice I'm working again.  Alex now had long hair and a bushy black beard.  He also had a habit of practicing his stage lines out loud.  He would stop his exercise and practice his lines and then continue his set.  This really annoyed Sig.  Sig would holler loudly for Alex to shut up.  Alex would ignore Sig until he completed his lines and then would just laugh.  He did have a wonderfull voice.

Tom
13  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: March 24, 2014, 04:43:10 PM
Another client of Sig's gym was a fellow who wanted to loose some weight.  He wore a loose fitting rubber full body suit.  The idea was to induce sweating.  It worked and he was about to prove it.  He was talking to another gym member when he pulled the suit away from his ankle.  Sweat flowed out like a faucet all over Sig,s carpet.  Sig saw that he did and had a fit.  He told him to get the damn suit off and never use it here again.  He also told him to take it off in the shower.  Some members started to laugh and had to walk away before Sig saw them.

Tom

14  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: March 24, 2014, 04:24:42 PM
One evening I walked into the gym and before I could walk ten steps Sig came out of his office hands on hips, looking a bit angry and said in a annoyed voice where were you this afternoon?  I looked at him surprised wondering that did I do. I said calmly I was working.  Sig replied I needed you here today.  He then explained the boys from York were here to do an article on finger and hand strength.  I would have used you to demonstrate hand gripping as an excercise.  I said if I new that I would have taken a day off.  Sig replied he knew they were coming but  not what day. Sig used another fellow name Jerry.  Jerry a very nice guy would at times run the gym for Sig if he had other business.  
I guess I missed my big chance for fame. Oh well.
The article was in Muscular Development April 1965 with a lot of good hints for building finger and hand strength.  Also with 7 photos of Sig demonstrating various exercises.

Tom
15  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: March 23, 2014, 04:09:38 PM
One evening Sig was interviewing a possible new client  in his office.  After the interview Sig called me into his office and said did you see the person that left.  I said yes.  Well he said at the end of the interview I leaned across my desk and said "tell me one thing are you a man or a woman?"  The person said can't you tell?  Sig said "no".  The person said "I am a woman."   Sig said I am very sorry but I don"t have accomadations for woman.  The person left without a problem.  All I can say is, this is New York City you never know what to expect.

Tom
16  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: March 23, 2014, 03:58:37 PM
At one point a Sigs i was talking to a fellow who worked for NYC as a social worker.  He was telling me about his job and the problems he was having.  He said he was sick and tired of being abused and even physically attacked across his desk.  He had enough.  He said I am going to be a cop so I can carry a gun.  I was surprised at this.  He was gone from the gym for a couple of months but when he returned he was a cop.  I don't know were he took his strength test to become a cop, but it was not at Sig's gym.  Ah, of course he already was strong he trained a Sigs!  I should mention one other thing about this fellow. After twenty years as a police officer he retired. On the day he retired he saved a couple of people from a burning building.  His picture and an article praised him in a New York newspaper.

Tom
17  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: March 22, 2014, 04:23:19 PM
Sig told me a incident the happened at noon time.  I husky fellow came in to the gym and asked Sig if he could take a workout. Sig said OK and charged the appropiate fee. The fellow said he worked construction and decided to workout on his lunch hour.  Sig said I hope you didn't eat lunch. The fellow said don't worry about it working out is not any harder than construction.  Well, he worked out for about twenty minutes when Sig saw him sitting on a bench very pale,sweating and shaking.  Sig quickly ushered him into the bathroom where he promply thre
w up.  Ashort time later he came out without his attitude and left the gym.  I guess he had lunch.  He was refered to as 'throw up guy".

Tom
18  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: March 22, 2014, 04:11:01 PM
question for you tom. i was just on the ironhistory.com site, and they were discussing if sig klein actually had barbell plates with his name on them, and if he did  were they for sale on the  retail market. the stark center actually has some klein plates they came in sizes 2.5, 5, 10, 15, and 20 lbs. Huh Huh Huh

No not during my 10 years at Sigs.  May have been years before.  In fact when the gym closed Sig cleaned out his storage closets and no plates came out that I saw.  If I saw them I would have asked Sig if I could buy one.  What a great souvenir that would have made.

Tom
19  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: March 22, 2014, 04:02:26 PM
Great stuff, always a pleasure to learn about the history of lifting or anything else for that matter.

Did Sig give any special instructions for training the abs, obliques and lower back?

Read once that some men, getting ready for the NYPD academy, would train at Sig's. Believe they had to DB press a 100lbs and other such lifts to pass the physical part of the police test.

Thanks again for all the stories about back in the day.

Glade you like my comments.  I will be seventy this year and I was one of the youngest members of the gym.  Most others were ten or fifteen years older and probably not with us now.  I am trying to keep the memory of the gym alive and dispel any miscomceptions.

Sig trained his new comers with a the standard exercises including sit ups, leg raises, and side bends.  No direst lower back work that I ever saw.

I don't remember seeing any police men training for the police academy.  Maybe he did train them before my time. I have a brief story about a member who became a policeman while training at Sigs.
I'll write about him another day.

Tom
20  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: March 21, 2014, 04:44:58 PM
A few words on Sig's diet.  He said he eats very lite meals I never asked what he ate, but I know he always ate a salad for lunch in the gym.  On saturday night he would go to Luchows in downtown NY for a good meal and some German beer.  He had his own table there.

Once a month I would buy the various bodybuilding magazines and bring them to the gym.  When I came in the gym I would go into Sig's office and drop them on his desk. Sometimes I would say your in this one. He would just shrug. Sig would look at them and later return them to me in the lockeroom.  I would say well, what did you learn from them this month?  He would look at me and roll his eyes.

Tom

21  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: March 21, 2014, 04:27:43 PM
I related a story about Walter Matthau in an earlier post.  Walter was basically quite but when he spoke he had that lisp in his voice that made everyone smile, much like you would hear him in his movies like Grumpy Old Men, and the Sunshine Boys.  You would really have to be there to appreciate the humor when he spoke.  A simple greeting like "hello how are you today" came across as funny and made you smile.

In another post I described Sig's workout and his posing routine, but forgot to describe what he did at the very end.  He flexed each bicep one at a time and made the muscles move, he then kissed each bicep at the end of posing.
22  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: March 21, 2014, 07:49:49 AM
Thank you, Montaque for your kind comments.  Iam glade you enjoy them. I will try to relate other incidents from the gym but it was along time ago and I don't have many notes on the day to day goings on.  I wish I took the advice we gave Sig and written daily diary of events.

Tom
23  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: March 20, 2014, 04:04:11 PM
In November of 1965 there was a major blackout in NYC and most of the northeast.  I was in the gym at the time when all of us noticed a dimming of the lights outside in the street and the gym. We thought it was something minor and would end.  It got worse with the light going dark and then coming back on and dark again. I remember one guy was doing bench presses and every time the light would dim or go out he shout out to Sig that he was going blind.  He did that thru his whole set.  Finally it went dark and stayed that way.  Sig came out with a flashlight in each hand and we continued the workout.  People would call Sig to shine the light here and another would say I can't find the 30 lb dumbell, and still another would say over here Sig.  It was getting out of hand so Sig said enough, I'am closing the gym, get dressed.  Now Sig had to shine the flashlights in the locker room so we could find our clothes.  What a night that was.  I didn't get home to the next day, went back to my office to sleep.

Tom
24  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: March 19, 2014, 04:32:31 PM
One Saturday afternoon a couple of guys were having a discussion about who would win a wrestling/boxing match if the wrestler wrestled and the boxer boxed.  Sig overheard the discussion and said let me tell you a story.  George Hackenschmidt  came to America many years ago and Sig and another  strong man meet him as he departed the ship.  They did the usuall things, lunch, getting Hackenschmidt a hotel room etc.  Then they went to Sig's gym.  Sig asked Hackenschmidt the question of boxer vs  wrestler.  Sig then described what Hackenschmidt said with his hand motions and in a German accent.  Hackenschmidt said I would dive at his legs knock him to the ground and tie him up in a knot, he could do nothing.  So  ends that debate from the greatest wrestler of the times.      

Tom
25  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / History - Stories - and Memories / Re: Sig Kleinīs gym- Does anyone know somebody who trained there? on: March 18, 2014, 04:22:30 PM
Didn't know that about Frank Leight!  We use to tell Sig he should write a book about all the characters and incidents in the gym over the years, but he just shrugged and smiled.

Your mention of situps reminded me of another incident.  I walked into the gym one evening about five PM and noticed a fellow off to the side doing situps.  I changed my clothes and came out of the locker room and he was still doing situps.  I asked Sig about him. Sig said he came in about ten this morning and said he wanted to do 25,000 situps. Sig said OK that will be five dollars.  He has been doing situps all day none stop.  I took my workout and about seven o'clock I changed to go home, he was still doing situps. Sig told him he had to stop now the gym was closing.  He stopped and spoke to Sig a few minutes and left.  I asked Sig how many did he do? Sig gave his customary shrug and said I don't know.  As I said in a previous post, Sig was not and easy man to impress.   
Tom
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