Author: Conor Heffernan

Conor is Assistant Professor of Physical Culture and Sport Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. When not in the library or the gym, he likes to try his hand at writing, often with mixed results.

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Attached below is Bernarr McFadden’s classical book Vitality Supreme. Whilst McFadden wrote a number of works, Vitality Supreme is one of the more interesting publications. Luckily for us in 2014, it’s also free to download and free to read.

Vitality Supreme

Find out McFadden’s advice for strengthening your stomach, improving your diet and building inner strength. It’s a great book for the strength enthusiast and the physical culture historian alike.

So go on, download it now and enjoy it for yourself!

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How much sleep do you really need?

8c6o84yEiHow much sleep do you really need?

It’s a question anyone with an interest in health or fitness has asked themselves at one point or another. Nowadays 7-8 hours a night is prescribed with such regularity that it becomes almost annoying.

To help us determine what makes a good sleep and how long we should actually rest, today we look at the 1915 Book Vitality Supreme by famed Physical Culturist Bernarr McFadden. A controversial figure, McFadden ran a Physical Culture Empire that encompassed everything from health hotels to magazines. While not all of his advice would be accepted today, his opinion on what makes a good sleep is undoubtedly interesting reading.

So without further adieu, here’s is what one of the fathers of modern day physical culture had to say about sleep

The fight for Gold! Weightlifting at the 1896 Olympics

how-social-media-will-change-the-olympics-infographic--732a95f1051896 was a special year for athletes. Long touted in the making, 1896 marked the first Olympic Games in over 2,000 years. Through loans, promises and sheer determination, Pierre de Coubertin and his cohort of plucky fitness enthusiasts had somehow managed to organize an international sporting event comprising over 280 athletes from 14 different nations competing in ten different events. Held in Greece, the birthplace of the original Olympic Games, few could deny the importance of the modern day games.

Despite the many obstacles involved in creating such a spectacle, the first modern Olympics were heralded as a success. This was particularly true in the case of Olympic Weightlifting, which was one of the ten sporting events featured in 1896.

Today we’ll be casting our minds back over a century to examine the battle for Olympic Gold between Great Britain’s Launceston Elliot and Denmark’s Viggo Jensen.

Old School Leg Exercises

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“Friends don’t let friends skip leg day.”

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next leg workout then you’ve come to the right place.

Today we look at some of the greatest leg exercises that time has forgotten about.

They were invented by iron legends like Gironda and used by men like Arnie. Needless to say, they’re effective, they’re tough and they’re worth doing.

What is Strength?

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So often in today’s world of World’s Strongest Man, Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting, the assumption that strength is defined by maximum weight lifted goes unchallenged. It is as if we accept unquestioningly that the person who can lift 500 pounds once is stronger than the those who can ‘only’ lift 400 pounds for reps.

It’s important to remember that strength was and is, a highly contested issue. Today we are going to look at a 20th century European strongman’s views on what strength really means.

Training for the First World War

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It was ‘the war to end all wars’, comprising over 60 million troops and lasting four grueling years. When the First World War broke out in 1914, few would have envisioned the bloody scenes that came to pass. In the fight for freedoms, millions died, civilian and soldier alike.

Despite the bloodshed, the thirst for fresh recruits amongst the European powers never ceased. Men who in the normal course of events would never have joined the army suddenly became troops on the front line.

As millions rushed into battle, army officials across the continent began to pay more and more attention to the type of training their new recruits were receiving.

So how did soldiers from both sides prepare for War?