Category: Basics

Guest Post: A Brief History of German Gymnastics in US Public Schools and its Relevance for PE Teachers Today

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As several of the United States’ largest public school districts plan to continue online learning this fall, many physical education teachers will return to the Instagram Live workouts and virtual check-ins used to keep students active during the first months of the pandemic. The adaptability and resourcefulness they have exhibited resembles that of the subject’s first instructors. Beyond mindset, the gymnastics exercises taught in PE by German-American instructors during the late nineteenth century may serve as an example of how to conduct remote or socially distanced classes next year.

Bodybuilding’s First Champion: William Murray

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While many credit Eugen Sandow as the father of modern day bodybuilding, very little is said about William, ‘Billy’, Murray, the world’s first recognisable bodybuilding champion. Today’s post will look at the interaction between Sandow, the unofficial father of bodybuilding and Murray, its first official king.

So who was William Murray? How did he win? And why has his place in bodybuilding history been largely forgotten?

Guest Post:The Early History of 4 Famous Sporting Countries

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There are a lot of countries renowned for their zealous sports fandoms; however, this hasn’t always been the case. In order to get where they are now, various sports had to evolve and fight for their status in society. This involved the formation of early organizations, governing bodies and teams. So, here are several things you should know about the early history of four famous sporting countries.

Guest Post: The History of Sport in New Zealand

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New Zealanders are well-known for being active, outdoorsy and healthy people, so it’s not a surprise that sport has been something that unites the population and makes them proud of their identity and their country. Small countries like New Zealand treat sporting success as something very significant since it can help put them on an international stage. While the beginnings of sports were in NZ were slow, the late 1800s brought a lot of good for the nation, and New Zealanders are still going strong in many sporting events. Here’s a little introduction to Kiwi sporting history and their success today.

Guest Post: 5 Things to Know About Menopause Weight Loss Strategies

Before the medicalization of menopause that occurred in 1970, the term and the notion of this new stage of a woman’s life encompassed many a strange thing. While different cultures observed different symptoms as the clear signs of menopause, so we have the western predominant hot flashes, poor vision in India, and shoulder pain in Japan, treatments were all the more peculiar. Crushed ovaries of animals as a form of estrogen therapy, or testicular juice were both considered acceptable as a way to help women cope with the lack of estrogen and other bodily changes.

Eugen Sandow, ‘The Jar and Fret of Business Lift,’ Sandow on Physical Training (New York, 1894).

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Theoretically, at least, we all pay tribute to the value and importance of physical education. We admire physical strength and beauty, and recognize, though only faintly as yet, the inter- relation of mind and matter. We know, moreover, that a healthy, active brain is sadly handicapped by an ill-developed, sickly body. We see around us every day of our lives masses of our race of imperfect growth and unsound constitution, and almost daily the lesson comes home to us of the break-down of some friend or acquaintance, whose weakness of body could not withstand the mental and bodily strain in the struggle of life.

The History of the Assault Bike

Assault bikes are, for want of a better phrase, awful. Just awful. I remember how excited I was when my gym first got an old air bike. I hopped on, busted a gut for 2 minutes and then jumped off, vowing never again to use such a horrid machine. Funnily most people I chat to have a similar story to tell.

Now there are a few people I train with who claim to love the assault bike. Such an admission proves that there are indeed sociopaths present in all walks of life …

More seriously, the assault bike is now one of the more popular cardio machines. Used by Crossfitters, professional athletes and the average gym goer, the assault bike has grown in popularity over the past decade and a half.

Today’s post looks at the history of the air bike which, I was surprised to learn, is far longer than I gave it credit for. We’ll examine its origins, original markets and, of course, its rapid rise in usage.

Forgotten Exercises: ATrainer’s Fly Movement

People of a certain generation will remember the importance of Bodybuilding.com in the late 1990s and early 2000s. At a time when internet culture was still slowly influencing the fitness world, Bodybuilding.com was a one stop shop for training and nutrition advice.

Today’s post looks at an exercise I first came across in the early 2000s on the Exercise Forum of the website. Posted by Atrainer – whose identity I have yet to uncover – this movement promised to isolate the chest in a really simple, but effective way.

P.H. Clias: An Early Pioneer

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This website has, at time of writing, been operating for a little over six years. When I began Physical Culture Study my intent was to shed some light on the weird and wonderful of the fitness industry. Little did I know at the time of all the things I could write on!

Somewhat shamefully it’s dawned on me that I have tended to neglect the early pioneers in the fitness industry, the men and women from the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth century who helped to create, normalise and promote, the practice of moving the body and building muscles.

The object of today’s post, Phokion Heinrich Clias, is one such individual. Born in the United States, Clias moved to Switzerland before travelling around England and France preaching the gospel of gymnastics in the first half of the nineteenth century. Here we are going to discuss his life and, more importantly, his legacy.