Tag: American History

The History of the Glute Ham Raise

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Owing to the inquisitive nature of a PCS reader, I’ve finally gotten my act together, or at least come close enough to some semblance of normality, to go down the rabbit hole once again. The topic of todays post, is the rather more niche but nevertheless effective Glute Ham Raise (GHR) machine.

Having spent years devotedly using reverse hyperextensions and 45 degree back extensions, my own relationship with the Glute Ham Raise only began in the last twelve months. Since then I’ve made a point of trying as many different alternatives as possible. As is so often the case, I became too engrossed in using the machine that I forgot to look into its history. An email this month asking me about the GHR finally set me straight.

So without further ado we’ll crack into the history of the GHR. What is it? Who invented it and how did it become so damn popular?

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Guest Post: Jack LaLanne’s “My Daily Dozen” (1962, 1968)

Fitness guru Jack Lalanne’s “My Daily Dozen” pamphlet offers a short glimpse into the broad appeal of LaLanne’s early productions. 

LaLanne’s popular television show is often thought of as being aimed at mid-twentieth century American suburban housewives who wanted to lose weight.  But the charismatic LaLanne had a way of reaching out to a broad audience, including children. Published first in 1962 and revised in 1968, “My Daily Dozen” was an attempt to interest kids in exercise and healthy living. The simple booklet contains cartoon images and rhymes meant to make fitness fun and to encourage youth to move, eat well, and get rest.  The back of “My Daily Dozen” contained a chart that allowed users to mark their fitness and hygienic activities on a daily basis.

The History of the Burpee

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An exercise loved and loathed across classrooms, the Burpee can be found in P.E. classes, conditioning circuits and anywhere where trainees are searching to shed pounds and increase definition.

As simple as it is difficult, the exercise is often engaged in with relative unenthusiasm. In fact, I have yet to meet anyone who genuinely enjoys it! Nevertheless it is done. And for that reason alone, it’s interesting to explore its relatively recent history.

The History of the Burpee

The Harmful Squats Myth: Dr. Karl Klein and the Back Squat

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Image Source.

When I began lifting in my teens, the coaches and older men in the gym floor seemed like fountains of indisputable knowledge. Don’t bring the bar all the way down to your chest on the bench press. Stability work on Bosu Balls worked your core and brought muscle gain. Drink a protein shake within 30 minutes of your workout or your anabolic window will shut. The most sacred of their dictates revolved around the back squat.

When learning how to squat we were told two simple things. Never go below parallel and under no circumstances should the knees track over the toes. These rules were so infallible that none of us dared to cross them. Even when we realised their advice on other lifts had been misguided to say the least, we adhered to their squat advice. It wasn’t until I changed gyms that I realised squatting with a full range of motion, even letting those knees slip over my toes, wasn’t going to kill my knees.

Where had this idea about the squat come from? Whenever we asked we were told about vague scientific studies that ‘everyone knew about’. It wasn’t until I dug into the history of the back squat for a recent article on Barbend that I became reacquainted with this subject.

Our goal today is simple. Who first promoted the idea that squatting below depth was harmful and how did this theory become so prevalent? Our story today revolves around Dr. Karl Klein and his followers.

The History of the Glute Ham Raise

HTB1AF1FKXXXXXcyXpXXq6xXFXXXV-2.jpg

Owing to the inquisitive nature of a PCS reader, I’ve finally gotten my act together, or at least come close enough to some semblance of normality, to go down the rabbit hole once again. The topic of todays post, is the rather more niche but nevertheless effective Glute Ham Raise (GHR) machine.

Having spent years devotedly using reverse hyperextensions and 45 degree back extensions, my own relationship with the Glute Ham Raise only began in the last twelve months. Since then I’ve made a point of trying as many different alternatives as possible. As is so often the case, I became too engrossed in using the machine that I forgot to look into its history. An email this month asking me about the GHR finally set me straight.

So without further ado we’ll crack into the history of the GHR. What is it? Who invented it and how did it become so damn popular?

The History of the Burpee

31-e1406329504878

An exercise loved and loathed across classrooms, the Burpee can be found in P.E. classes, conditioning circuits and anywhere where trainees are searching to shed pounds and increase definition.

As simple as it is difficult, the exercise is often engaged in with relative unenthusiasm. In fact, I have yet to meet anyone who genuinely enjoys it! Nevertheless it is done. And for that reason alone, it’s interesting to explore its relatively recent history.

The History of the Burpee

The History of the Burpee

31-e1406329504878

An exercise loved and loathed across classrooms, the Burpee can be found in P.E. classes, conditioning circuits and anywhere where trainees are searching to shed pounds and increase definition.

As simple as it is difficult, the exercise is often engaged in with relative unenthusiasm. In fact, I have yet to meet anyone who genuinely enjoys it! Nevertheless it is done. And for that reason alone, it’s interesting to explore its relatively recent history.

The History of the Burpee

Suits, Boots and Brutes: The History of Powerlifting Gear

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Early this month I had the pleasure (?) of helping a friend of mine at his local powerlifting meet. Over the months he had squatted, benched and deadlifted with a remarkable intensity and focus. When the time came for the big day, I was honoured that he asked me to come along. Admittedly, I didn’t know what to expect.

Despite training for over a decade at this point, a time that has included powerlifting programmes, my knowledge of the sport was largely confined to big athletes lifting even bigger things. The powerlifting meet changed that. At least somewhat. Still big athletes and big things but now there were elastic singlets, knee wraps and in the warm up benching shirts. What I thought to be a simple sport (in theory, not in execution) was anything but.

Competitors discussed the relative merits of heel height in their lifting shoes, the importance of tight weightlifting belts and which squat suit provided the best bang for their buck. When the time came for my friend’s first squat, I had to peel him into, and then later, out of, his own squat suit. Moral of the story? Always ask what exactly is entailed when you agree to help someone!

In any case the experience rekindled my interest in the history of powerlifting, specifically all its bells and whistles. In today’s post, we’re going to discuss the emergence of weightlifting belts, shoes, squat suits and bench shirts to determine what emerged, when and why.

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1903 and the birth of American Bodybuilding

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After three years of pumping up, slimming down and posing, Britain, and the world was treated to the first ever bodybuilding competition in 1901. Hosted by the legendary Eugen Sandow, the ‘Great Competition’ as it was known claimed to have found the most perfect specimens alive. Unsurprisingly it wasn’t long before other nations, notably America, began to hold their own bodybuilding shows.

Within two years of Sandow’s ‘Great Competition’, the US was hosting its own bodybuilding show. Today we tell their story.