Hair Lifting by the Mighty Atom

by Al Myers

The Mighty Atom breaking chains with chest expansion.

Joe  “The Mighty Atom” Greenstein really knew how to make a name for himself, and was one of the last true carnival strongmen in the United States.  He was not a big man at all, weighing only 140 pounds, and did strength feats that other strongmen wanted no part of!  He was from the Bronx in New York, and did strongman shows for over 30 years, both in the United States and in Europe.

I recently came across this YouTube Video of a man performing various stunts using his HAIR.  I am pretty sure this is the Mighty Atom himself – as he looks exactly like him and it is from the right years that the Mighty Atom was performing. However, the video doesn’t identify the person in the video as the Mighty Atom.   If someone disagrees with this, please send me the correct information  and I will print a retraction! The lifts (or stunts) that he did is this video are definitely beyond the capabilities of me or Chad (it would take both of us a few years to grow our hair out that long to even try), but maybe there’s someone who would like to give hair lifting a try!

During my trip last fall to the York Barbell Museum, I took this picture of a display showing a nail bitten in two pieces and a horseshoe bent by hand, both courtesy of the Mighty Atom.

Among the “other” strength stunts that were performed by the Mighty Atom were:
- Breaking chains by chest expansion
- Bending bars and horseshoes with his teeth
- Biting nails in half
- Breaking coins with his teeth
- Driving spikes into metal-covered wood with his hands

The Mighty Atom had several incidents during his lifetime in which he almost died, but each time he survived and regained his strength. He died from old age at the age of 84, in 1977.

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