Author: Conor Heffernan

Conor is currently researching Ireland's physical culture movement as a PhD student at University College Dublin. When not in the library or the gym, he likes to try his hand at writing....with mixed results.

Guest Post: The History of the Triathlon

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Since Triathlon originates from the beginning of the 20th century and since it gained it’s popularity much later, in the mid-1970s, it is safe to say it’s a pretty modern sport. Looking at this facts, many people would say that it hasn’t got much of a history, and that is partly true. Its history is not particularly deep, but on the other hand, it is full of various interesting facts for loyal fans or future participants. Let’s take a look, shall we?

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Guest Post: 8 Useful Tips on What to Wear at The Gym

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Focusing on the workout routine and eating healthy are the two most important things regarding the gym experience. However, there is another important factor you might have overlooked; many fail to see the importance of gym clothes. Those who realize how important it is to have decent gym clothes often have a hard time choosing what to wear at the gym. Well, you can stop worrying about it, we are here to help you.

History of the Leg Extension Machine

A mainstay in gyms across the globe, the leg extension is perhaps one of the most controversial machines amongst the lifting community, at least from the 1990s onward. For some it is a one way ticket to an ACL tear, while for others, it’s one of the most effective means of building up the iconic tear drop quad muscle.

That the machine’s existence causes such confusion undoubtedly gives us pause for thought. Who invented this machine? And why has it proved so enduring?

Pumping Iron II and the Birth of Female Bodybuilding

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Who can forget Pumping Iron? The iconic bodybuilding movie which pitted an enviably charismatic Arnold Schwarzenegger against Lou Ferrigno, the man who later became the Incredible Hulk.

A tragic epic of Homeric proportions, the initial Pumping Iron has been credited with helping bodybuilding become a more mainstream sport or at least pursuit, in the eyes of many. Furthermore it became a source of inspiration for hundreds of thousands of gym goers seeking to replicate the muscularity, determination and definition of the men on screen. In short, Pumping Iron helped normalise and accelerate male bodybuilding’s popularity.

But what then of Pumping Iron’s sequel Pumping Iron II, which focused exclusively on female bodybuilding? Why was it made? What impact did it have? And just where can one watch the original?

The Rise and Fall of the World Muscle Power Classic

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Admit it. We’re somewhat spoilt for choice these days when it comes to contests of strength. Though not as well televised as some of us might like, myself included, strongmen competitions have grown exponentially over the past decade and a half. We have the World’s Strongest Man (WSM) and its various qualifying rounds around the globe. We have fiercely contested domestic competitions and even contests in your local gym should you be so lucky.

Time was, that this was not the case. Indeed for a long period, the world of strongmen had but two real contests to look forward to, that is the WSM and the World Muscle Power Classic (WMPC). Showing my nostalgic side, today’s post will examine the rise and fall of the WMPC, a strongman competition that for a brief period, was every bit as contested as the WSM.

The Sig Klein Challenge

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Face it.

Every now and then you want to try something new in the gym. A new lift, a new rep range or an entirely new style of training. The mind gets bored of monotony, something which the lifters of yore were all too acquainted with. Today’s post on the Sig Klein challenge will not only help reinvigorate your training, it’ll provide a test of your overall strength. Not bad for something new huh?

World’s Strongest Man and the Crunch Bunch or ‘Are Strongmen Athletes?’

Nice muscles, what can you do with them? A common question and also the title for a series of YouTube challenges well worth watching.

The underlying point remains however. Are men and women of muscle athletes? Can they challenge others athletically or are they simply lumbering oafs? While anyone who watches World Strongest Man will testify to the athletic abilities of these men, the common man or woman may be dubious. Imagine then the wonder of 1988 when a rag tag bunch of strongmen donned American football uniforms and set off against the Glasgow Diamonds. The ‘Crunch Bunch’ as they were termed compromised some of the world’s strongest men, and undoubtedly the scariest defensive line in recent memory. This is their story.

Dennis B. Weis, A Seminar with Frank Zane (1977)

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The following interview took place with the legendary Frank Zane during the bodybuilder’s preparation for that year’s Mr. Olympia, a competition Zane won by the day. Detailing Frank’s workout, nutrition and mental preparation, it offers a valuable insight into the career of one of bodybuilding’s most recognisable characters. Enjoy!

Guest Post: Compression Clothing: Will It Really Improve Your Workout?

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You’ve probably seen some form of compression sportswear in your gym or on the TV. Numerous NBA athletes use it, footballers use it and it seems like compression clothing really plays an important role when it comes to performance. If that wasn’t the case, why would all these professionals wear it? Compression sportswear ranges from socks and sleeves to underpants, shorts and shirts. And the main goal of compression clothing is to boost your performance. However, many doubt whether compression clothing really does improve an athlete’s performance. Let’s take a look at a few arguments that could help us decide for ourselves.