Category: Basics

The History of the Front Squat

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Having briefly discussed the history of the back squat some time ago, efforts were made over the past few days to create a similar account for the front squat. Sadly, perhaps owing to the popularity of its older brother, histories of the front squat are virtually non-existent as many writers seem to take its existence as a simple fact.

Nevertheless it is clear that all exercises are created at some point in history and with this in mind, I went trawling through old Physical Culture magazines and a selection of secondary books on the topic.

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Forgotten Exercises: The Roman Column

While many exercises, such as the squat, appear to be timeless in the lore of exercise history, there are many movements and machines that fall away with the sands of time.

Today’s post looks at the Roman Column, an inverted strongman exercise created in the mid-eighteenth century and used by famous performers such as Eugen Sandow and his mentor, Professor Atilla.

What is the Roman Column?

Bodybuilding Pioneers: Launceston Elliot

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Born in Scotland in 1874, Launceston Elliot is perhaps more famous for his contributions to the world of weightlifting than bodybuilding. His fame in the weightlifting community, as readers of this blog will be aware, came from his gold weightlifting medal at the 1896 Athens Olympics. Similarly the course of his athletic career saw the powerful Scotsman set and break, a number of weightlifting records.

Nevertheless, Elliot’s achievements were far reaching as he appears to have been the first man to win a physique contest in Great Britain. While much has been made of Sandow’s Great Competition (1901) and its role in furthering bodybuilding’s status amongst the general public, it is arguable that without Elliot’s precedent, Sandow’s idea may never have come to the fore.

Weightlifting at the 1904 Olympics

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It was the first time that the Olympic Games were held outside of Europe and the first time they were held in an English speaking country. It was heralded as a monumental step in the internationalisation of the Olympic spirit and it was prompted as such.

Unfortunately, the reality of the 1904 St. Louis Olympics proved to be anything but. Owing both to the Russo-Japanese War and the sheer difficulty in sending athletes to the United States from Europe, the 1904 Games were largely bereft of elite athletes. Nevertheless, perhaps owing to the determined attitude of the organisers, the Games continued regardless.

Whether this was a blessing or a curse for the sport of weightlifting is up to the reader to decide.

Today’s post examines the re-emergence of weightlifting at the 1904 Olympic Games. The sport had been part of the inaugural games in Athens in 1896 but had failed to appear at the Paris showing four years later. As a sport still in its infancy, weightlifting depended on international showings to improve its popularity. While the first international weightlifting competition was held in London in 1891, the Olympic games five years later had seen significantly more media interest in the event.

Weightlifting in many ways needed genuine Olympic interest to attract more to the sport.

The Difference Between Powerlifting and Bodybuilding

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The following post comes from the incredibly talented writer and personal trainer Carole Klein. It details both the differences and similarities between bodybuilding and powerlifting and is undoubtedly a great read for beginning and dedicated gym goers alike.

Many people think that powerlifting and bodybuilding are interchangeable terms, but while both offer a great workout, they’re not the same thing. They differ in regards to their goals and how they measure success. While both use strength and endurance, they have a different effect on the body as well. Here, we’ll break down the differences and similarities between the two.

Powerlifting and Bodybuilding: What’s the Difference?

Don’t Buy Supplements Without Reading This First!

In recent years, the amount of people taking supplements for fitness purposes has risen tenfold. They can increase strength, energy and focus during your workouts. Some can even support muscle growth, enhance the immune system and improve joints. So it’s not hard to see why they have become so popular. But when all supplements claim to help us reach our fitness goals, how do we know we are buying the best?

Like most things, some supplements work more effectively than others. So the more knowledge you have before you buy, the more informed your decision will be. If you’re interested in buying a supplement to aid your workouts, here are some things you need to do first.

Who is the Best Bodybuilder Ever? An In-Depth Analysis

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The following post comes from the immensely talented Erny Peibst of jackednatural.com. If you’re looking for advice on the best natural supplements to take or simply a review of the latest training trends, I highly recommend it. 

Guys who’ve just hopped on the bodybuilding bandwagon might have heard of legendary names such as Ronnie Colemanand Dorian Yates whispered from the shadows in their local gyms…

But how good really were these guys?

And more importantly…who was the best bodybuilder ever?

If you’ve decided to become a bodybuilder, you owe it to yourself to know who the king of this sport was.

But the answer to this question all depends on how you define the ‘best bodybuilder ever’.

Here’s a few ways to judge who the best bodybuilder of all time is:

  • Who won the most Mr Olympia titles
  • Who’s made the most impact on the sport
  • The most aesthetic guy
  • The biggest and most shredded guy of all

The most Mr Olympia titles – Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman (8x)

Who had the biggest impact on bodybuilding – Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was the star in Pumping Iron. If you haven’t already seen it, order it off amazon…like straight after you finish reading this article, it’s amazing.

The most aesthetic Mr Olympia – Arnold, Franco Columbo, Frank Zane or Lee Haney.

The biggest & most shredded: Ronnie Coleman or Phil Heath.

So it depends how you interpret the question ‘who is the best bodybuilder ever’.

However, Arnold Schwarzenegger is regarded by many as the greatest ever.

Why?

  • He won 7 Sandow trophies
  • He changed the world’s opinion on bodybuilding; from being disgusted to intrigued.
  • He built one of the greatest physiques of all time. Huge mass with a tiny waist – a look that’s still highly coveted by gym rats to this day (50 years later).

Arnie sounds like a worthy choice to me.

However, for entertainment purposes I’m going to select the top 5 bodybuilders of all time, and put them on stage against each other.

…So you can decide for yourself!