You might have looked at old time strong-men and thought that they looked unimpressive but the fact is that modern day lifters look stronger than they are. There was a time when a man was as strong as he looked. endless hypertrophy doesn't necessarily mean huge gains in strength, but strengthening the tendons and ligaments usually does.
oldtime strong-men engaged in physical feats that modern day muscle men can usually only dream of:
"Herman Goerner deadlifted 727 with ONE HAND"
"Louis Cyr could shoulder a 400 pound wooden barrel with ONE ARM"
"Thomas Inch had an "unliftable" dumbbell - one that had a very narrow but 2 1/2 inch think handle and weighed 172pounds"
"Arthur Saxon could bent press 370pounds" (also lift a 300pound bag of flour over-head)
Hackenschmidt could 1 arm snatch 197pounds.
"Milo Steinborn could place a 550 pound barbell on his shoulders, unassisted, squat 5 times, and return the bar unassisted"
John Y Smith was said to have hands/fore-arms that resembled IRONCLAWS from years of thick bar deadlifting and he has many impressive feats of strength. (winning strongman competitions into his 60s)
most examples from Dinosaur Training by Brooks Kubik
Milo picked up an 800pound elephant at 57 and was doing 400pound squats when he was 70.
The idea that these strong-man would have lifted more on "better nutrition" "modern programs" or even steroids is questionable. These men lifted in the exact way that creates massive, world r re-knowned strength. lifting heavy awkard objects like barrels, sandbags, anvils using thick-bars in their upper-body work.
These people just trained harder, in better ways, and their strength speaks for itself.
Or my personal favorite, SLIM THE HAMMER MAN. You could work your muscles until you were the largest man on earth, take as many steroids as you want. When you try to lever 2 28pound hammers your wrists will shatter and break like they are made of glass. Certain movements you want to have super strong tendons, bones and ligaments and all the muscle in the world might isn't going to help that much. The guy is still levering hammers well into old age, that would crush lesser men. (which is pretty much all men)
Not many modern muscle athletes would think that Slim in his prime looked anything but "slim" but the strength in his hands and wrists would be enough to roll those people into a mangled ball.
So where are these "natural lifters" of today who can bent press 370pounds? shoulder a 400pound barrel with 1 arm? Where is any lifter natural or NOT of TODAY that can do that? Where is the athlete that can put those lifts to "SHAME" aha. I'd love to see putting a 400pound 1 arm barrel lift "to shame". What are they, 1 arm lifting an elephant? aha.
Assuming that modern strongmen/lifters are stronger because they are "bigger" is a large assumption to make. Looking at some of the old time strongman records, it's a false one to make as well.
(The mighty atom looked weaker than the avg man of today for example but he'd have crushed the avg man. looks don't mean that much.)