Thomas Inch Dumbbell, Weight, Handle, Specs, Trick

The Thomas Inch Dumbbell is a legendary weightlifting challenge named after Thomas Inch, a famous British strongman. It is known for its unusually thick handle, about 2.5 inches in diameter, and its heavy weight of 172 pounds. The dumbbell is notorious for being difficult to lift due to the challenge of gripping its thick handle.

Thomas Inch Dumbbell
Thomas Inch Dumbbell

Thomas Inch Dumbbell

Thomas Inch was born in Scarborough, a town by the sea in North Yorkshire, UK, on December 27, 1881. When he was only 19 years old, Thomas Inch earned the title of “World’s Strongest Youth,” making him a well-known strongman during his time.

One of Thomas Inch’s inspirations was a German showman named Eugen Sandow. Inch watched one of Sandow’s shows where Sandow ripped a pack of cards in half and threw them to the audience. Inch caught one half of the pack and even tore it in half himself! Then he tossed it back to Sandow.

Thomas Inch was really good at lifting old-style weights like barbells and dumbbells. He was also famous for something called bent pressing, where he’d lift people with just one arm. It was a really cool and impressive show of strength, but also really hard to do.

Something that makes him very unique was his ability to capitalize on his growing fame. Publishing multiple books and training guides on physical fitness. Inch travelled the British countryside performing his feats of strength whilst selling his books.

In June 1910, Thomas Inch became Britain’s Strongest Man, which made more people know about him. Even when he was 68 years old, he could still lift 240 kilograms off the ground, which is pretty amazing!


The Thomas Inch dumbbell weighs about 78 kilograms, which is pretty heavy. Most strongmen and strength athletes can lift it quite easily because they’re used to lifting heavy things. But the handle of the Inch dumbbell is really thick, measuring over 6 centimeters in diameter and 10.1 centimeters in length. This makes lifting the dumbbell almost impossible for most people.

Thomas Inch Dumbbell
Thomas Inch Dumbbell
Thomas Inch Dumbbell
Thomas Inch Dumbbell

To lift the dumbbell, you need a really strong grip. If your grip isn’t strong enough, the dumbbell will just roll out of your hand. Thomas Inch said it was impossible to clean and press the dumbbell with one hand. Nobody ever did it, not even famous strongmen like Arthur Saxon and Reg Park.

Meet Mark Henry, a champion in powerlifting, professional wrestling, and Olympic weightlifting. He’s the perfect person for this challenge. On June 22, 2002, he did something incredible: he cleaned and pressed the Thomas Inch dumbbell with just one hand. He’s the first person in recent history to do this. We’ve only heard of one other person who’s done it, Carl Myerscough, another really big guy.

Thomas Inch Dumbbell Dimensions

The Thomas Inch Dumbbell is renowned for its challenging dimensions, especially its thick handle and substantial weight. Here are the key dimensions:

  • Weight: The dumbbell typically weighs around 172 pounds (about 78 kilograms).
  • Handle Diameter: The handle is approximately 2.5 inches (about 6.35 centimeters) in diameter.
  • Handle Length: The length of the handle is usually around 4 to 5 inches (about 10 to 12.7 centimeters).

These dimensions make the Thomas Inch Dumbbell particularly difficult to lift and control, primarily due to the thick handle that requires substantial grip strength and technique to manage.

Lifting The Thomas Inch Dumbbell

Lifting a Thomas Inch dumbbell replica is considered a major achievement in the grip sport community. There are different ways you can train to lift it, but having really strong grip strength is the most important. It also helps a lot if you have really big hands, like Mark Felix does.

Thomas Inch dumbbell

To successfully lift the dumbbell, you need to pick it up with one hand and stand up straight, making sure your arm is fully extended. You can’t use any other part of your body to help you lift it.

One way to stop the dumbbell from rolling is by tilting it slightly. This makes the lift easier because it reduces how much the dumbbell rolls. But let’s be honest, if you want to show off your really strong grip, the best way is to balance something on each end of the dumbbell and lift it without them falling off. That way, it’s a completely fair lift. It’s a big accomplishment and puts you in a special group of lifters.

What Makes the Thomas Inch Dumbbell So Challenging?

The primary feature that sets the Thomas Inch Dumbbell apart is its handle. Unlike standard dumbbells, the Inch Dumbbell has a handle about the size of a soda can—approximately 2.5 inches in diameter. This thick handle makes it extremely difficult to grip, lift, and control. The dumbbell weighs 172 pounds, a hefty weight made even more daunting by its unwieldy grip.

Modern-Day Appeal

Today, the Inch Dumbbell continues to be a popular challenge at strength competitions and expos. It serves not only as a competition piece but also as a training tool for those looking to enhance their grip strength and overall power. Modern strongmen and strength enthusiasts view lifting the Inch Dumbbell as a rite of passage.

Attempting the Inch Dumbbell

Lifting the Inch Dumbbell is not just about raw power; it requires a specific technique and significant grip strength. Many who attempt to lift it find that the dumbbell rolls out of their grasp due to the smooth, thick handle. Success often requires dedicated training focused on enhancing one’s grip and learning the subtle nuances of handling the dumbbell.

Cultural Impact

The lore surrounding the Inch Dumbbell has grown over the years. It has been featured in various strength documentaries and books, discussed in podcasts, and has inspired numerous articles and blog posts. It continues to hold a mystique as one of the ultimate tests of strength in the lifting world.

Where to Find a Thomas Inch Dumbbell

Replicas of the Thomas Inch dumbbell are becoming harder to find, and they usually cost a lot. It’s a big gamble to buy one, especially since you might not even be able to lift it. We suggest trying one out before you decide to buy it. Or, you can work on building up your grip strength really well before you try to lift it.


In conclusion, the Thomas Inch Dumbbell remains a celebrated icon in the world of strength training, embodying the rich history and the enduring challenge of physical fitness. This legendary weight, named after the famed strongman Thomas Inch, serves not only as a tool for building brute strength but also as a benchmark for grip mastery among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Its formidable weight and oversized handle continue to test the limits of those who attempt to lift it, offering a tangible connection to the early 20th-century feats of strength. As both a piece of exercise equipment and a historical artifact, the Thomas Inch Dumbbell transcends the typical gym gear, inspiring a sense of tradition and achievement in the pursuit of physical prowess.


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