The Peoples Champion

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The most recent of these periodic submissions provided some detail about how pleased we were to have picked up on our recent road trip what we believe is the very first power rack ever built/invented—a rack built in the 1940s in the cellar of Bob’s farmhouse along a creek in the beautiful rolling hills of East Tennessee, outside of Johnson City. This posting will be very brief, but when a member of the staff here at the Stark Center came across last week an envelope containing a number of photos of Bob Peoples and some of his training gear nothing would do but to share some of them with the few, but stalwart, readers of this blog. The photos in question are part of the Peary and Mabel Rader/Iron Man Photo Collection, and it was a real case of serendipity to come upon it less than a week after we brought to the Stark Center the very rack depicted in several of the photos.

The photos were obviously sent to Peary Rader by Bob Peoples in regard to a story in Iron Man, and perhaps someone who reads this will remember from the photos when that article appeared. Should this happen, I’d appreciate having the citation as I haven’t taken the time to search through my back issues of that wonderful old magazine. I’ve seen some of these photos in Iron Man in the past, but certainly not all, and although I’m not going to include all of them today it was impossible not to call attention to the coincidence of finding the photos just as the famous rack arrived in the center.

I’ve written extensively in the past about the many contributions Bob made through the years to training theory and equipment, and although I’m not going to rehash this information now, it seemed appropriate to share with readers/viewers some of these historic, eye-opening training devices.


Likely a young Bob Peoples, using the shoulder rack arrangement to hold a barbell for heavy squats, invented by weightlifter Peoples, from the Peary and Mabel Rader Collection. Weightlifter Bob Peoples, using his wooden barbell, with a wooden power rack that Peoples invented. Alta Peoples, weightlifter Bob Peoples's daughter, as an 18 year old sophomore at East Tennessee University, from the Peary and Mabel Rader Collection.
Weightlifter Bob Peoples, with the weightlifting hooks Peoples invented to help people do barbell curls, likely from the Peary and Mabel Rader Collection.
The wooden power rack and wooden barbell, invented by weightlifter Bob Peoples.

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