Arnold Schwarzenegger was renowned for his great arm development in the world of bodybuilding, but he shares more than this with todays blast from the past Manfred Hoeberl. They are both Austrian by birth, and come from the town of Graz. Manfred Hoeberl was successful in Bodybuilding in the 1990’s, but always struggled from a symetrical point of
view, as his arms were so huge, 25 inches in fact!!
However later in his career he left the stage of Bodybuilding and started competing in Strongman competitions of which he was very successful, although as you will read later, in some events his huge arms were more of a hindrance, than a help.
However today he is not involved competitively with either sports, as he will discuss.
So over to Manfred to tell you more:
Manfred you no longer compete, and I believe are unable to train with weights, however are you still involved with Strongmen, Bodybuilders or Powerlifters in some sort of coaching capacity?
Manfred Hoeberl: No, I am no longer involved with strongman and/or bodybuilding. My health didn’t allow that, after my last accident.
We have mentioned one, but you actually had two terrible road accidents in your life. Do you feel that your career in strongman prior to these helped you recover from each, and if so, how did it help?
Manfred Hoeberl: Well definitely. Working out and a strong positive outlook in life helped me survive all that drama. The first accident wasn’t all that severe and I competed successfully after that. I also did alot of coaching, demonstrations and stunt work. I also had a heavy involvement in the Federation. (Editors note: American Federation of Strength Athletes AFSA, which broke away from IFSA)
You had the largest most muscular arms in the 1990’s, what were you able to curl with them? and were they popular with the ladies?
Manfred Hoeberl: That’s right I had the most muscular arms.. and in fact they were muscular and not some sort of
gimmick as many people think. MUSCLE and not some oily stuff (Editors note: Synthol)
In those days we didn’t even know about such things.
I curled close to 200kgs and was busy training for a bet I had with a Bodybuilding Magazine to curl 200 kg on a barbell for $5000.
With regard to the ladies… Some liked it very much, others rather disliked it. ..but believe me the ones liking it were more than I could handle lol….
What did you prefer the most Bodybuilding or Strongman competitions? And why did you move into Strongman?
Manfred Hoeberl: My heart was with both. Since I started with Bodybuilding, I always preferred to have a good shaped body.
However I also wanted to make use of my physique as well. So I looked at my options to make this possible. Powerlifting wasn’t suitable, so I went into Strongman.
I really like the strength athlete or strongman, where one has to combine strength with coordination , explosive power and so forth.
In strongman competition what was your favourite to compete in?
Manfred Hoeberl: I favoured all the dynamic events since I had incredible explosive power. I could jump with 150 kgs bodyweight from the ground onto a 130 m high platform easily.
Which Strongman event did you find the hardest?
Manfred Hoeberl: Deadlift was a pain since my body structure was not designed well for it, but I managed to pull 390kg in South Africa.
I also found the Crucifix hold difficult, as my heavy arms (whilst being strong) weighed alot and always tired quickly in the static tests of strength.
You come from the same town as Arnold Schwarzenegger in Austria, Graz,and Arnold was know for his big arms too. Is there something in the water in Graz? Have you ever met Arnold and what was he like?
I know Arnold personally and we did some events together. I started the strongman with him at the Arnold Classic.
He’s a nice character.
What strongman title were you the most proudest in achieving?
Manfred Hoeberl: Well I was Two times Europe’s Strongest Man and then the 1994 Runner-Up in South Africa at the Worlds Strongest Man contest when Magnus ver Magnussen just beat me by half a point overall, and that in the last event by just a tenth of a second.
However, I won the most competitions in a year with 36 single event wins.
So if there was a combined scoring for a world championship like they do in the formula 1 car racing then I think I would have had my nose a little in front of Magnus and would have held the World Champion Title.
In your prime what were your maximum lifts in Deadlift, Squat, and Bench Press for 1 rep?
- Deadlift: 390kg
- Squat 360 kg
- Bench: 285 kg
Which Athlete do you admire the most in the last 10 years of Worlds Strongest Man, and why?
Manfred Hoeberl: Well, first I don’t admire athletes. I respect them for their performance. I find it difficult to understand that people want to be like someone else.
We are all individuals and have our own individual strengths and weaknesses, which we HAVE to live with. That includes me and anyone else. THE GRASS IS NOT GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE. Believe me.
It is still great for me to hear that I have been an inspiration to so many athletes and general public out there and its great to know that I am still in so many a peoples minds.
Most importantly, without my training, dedication and determination in the world of strength athletics I would not reside amongst all those great people here on this earth anymore…
So KEEP on PUMPIN and keep your mind focused..