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.
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The Rise of Split Training in Bodybuilding

Chest/Triceps, Back/Biceps and Legs/Shoulders. The Holy Trinity of bodybuilding split routines. Nowadays the idea of split routines is so ingrained in the fitness community that the idea of whole body training for anyone other than a beginner is scoffed at. This is despite the fact that men like Eugen Sandow, George Hackenschmidt right up to Reg Park built their physiques using whole body routines. Something that begs the question…When did bodybuilders start using split training routines and why did they become so popular?

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Judging a Physique Contest

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This article first appeared in Bob Hoffman’s Strength and Health Magazine in 1957. It details the point scoring for the precusors for today’s modern bodybuilding shows. Of particular interest are the categories dealing with muscularity and athleticism.

Many of us forget that physique competitions used to include some form of strength component dealing with the 3 big lifts (the two hand press, the two hands snatch, the two hands clean and jerk).

How would bodybuilding be today if Kai Greene and Phil Heath had to compete in the clean and jerk for the Olympia crown?

Since judging a Mister Competition has become one of the touchiest subjects in the Iron World, a great deal of time was devoted to clarifying this issue at the official AAU Convention last Fall in Los Angeles. I am going to try to briefly sum up these points for the benefit of officials who handle such contests.

Cycling down memory lane: The History of the Bicycle

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Two wheels, some slabs of metal, a chain and an uncomfortable chair. What could be more simple to make then the common bicycle? Well motivated in part by a decision to begin cycling to work, I decided to delve into the history books to discover who invented the world’s first bicycle.

What should have been a simple google search descended into a merry-go-round of contradictory facts and misinformation. Nothing’s ever simple is it? Luckily a few interesting tidbits did emerge during my meandering searches…

Muscle and Nutrition: When Paul Bragg met Bob Hoffman

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The history of Bodybuilding and Physical Culture is full of those great ‘what if’ moments. What if Joe Gold never opened Gold’s Gym? What if Arnold never took up the sport? And what if drugs never infiltrated physique competitions?

Another great ‘what if’ moment that many of us are unaware of comes from the 1940s, when nutrition zealot Paul Bragg met with Bob Hoffman, the owner of York Barbell with a proposal to create nutritional supplements. Whilst the two men failed to collaborate, Bragg’s suggestion would later result in the birth of the modern day supplement industry.

Iron Boots: The Slimming, Trimming, Shaping Equipment that the Fitness Industry Forgot About

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The fitness industry, it’s fair to say, is a fairly fickle business.

Every number of years we encounter the next great training innovation or revolution be it Crossfit, PX90 or TRX. So often our quest for the new and unknown results in the abandonment of what worked in the first place.

Today we’ll be looking at Iron Boots, a versatile piece of equipment used from 1900 to 1970. Once the staple of many’s training regimes, the iron boots were used by old school trainers from Sig Klein to Frank Zane with great success in developing their quads, hamstrings and abs.

What the boots lacked in aesthetics, they made up for in results but sadly they have now become the equipment that fitness forgot.

Guest Post: How to Build a Budget-Friendly Home Gym

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Today’s post comes from Kellie Davis and the good folks at Health Perch. Highly recommended you check them out!

Long commutes, expensive membership fees, and bad weather are just a few excuses that stall a regular workout routine. Consistent exercise promotes better health, improved energy, and a positive mood, so why not create a space for exercise where it’s most convenient: at home.

Though elaborate at-home gyms sound dreamy, these budget-friendly ideas are sure to keep a body moving without breaking the bank. Home gym equipment doesn’t have to be bulky. Build a killer routine using items that stow away under beds, pack in bags, are portable around the home, and can be crafted using items found at the hardware store.

The Savvy Home Gym Dos and Don’ts