Tag: Bodybuilding

History of the Leg Extension Machine

A mainstay in gyms across the globe, the leg extension is perhaps one of the most controversial machines amongst the lifting community, at least from the 1990s onward. For some it is a one way ticket to an ACL tear, while for others, it’s one of the most effective means of building up the iconic tear drop quad muscle.

That the machine’s existence causes such confusion undoubtedly gives us pause for thought. Who invented this machine? And why has it proved so enduring?

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Pumping Iron II and the Birth of Female Bodybuilding

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Who can forget Pumping Iron? The iconic bodybuilding movie which pitted an enviably charismatic Arnold Schwarzenegger against Lou Ferrigno, the man who later became the Incredible Hulk.

A tragic epic of Homeric proportions, the initial Pumping Iron has been credited with helping bodybuilding become a more mainstream sport or at least pursuit, in the eyes of many. Furthermore it became a source of inspiration for hundreds of thousands of gym goers seeking to replicate the muscularity, determination and definition of the men on screen. In short, Pumping Iron helped normalise and accelerate male bodybuilding’s popularity.

But what then of Pumping Iron’s sequel Pumping Iron II, which focused exclusively on female bodybuilding? Why was it made? What impact did it have? And just where can one watch the original?

The Sig Klein Challenge

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Face it.

Every now and then you want to try something new in the gym. A new lift, a new rep range or an entirely new style of training. The mind gets bored of monotony, something which the lifters of yore were all too acquainted with. Today’s post on the Sig Klein challenge will not only help reinvigorate your training, it’ll provide a test of your overall strength. Not bad for something new huh?

Dennis B. Weis, A Seminar with Frank Zane (1977)

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The following interview took place with the legendary Frank Zane during the bodybuilder’s preparation for that year’s Mr. Olympia, a competition Zane won by the day. Detailing Frank’s workout, nutrition and mental preparation, it offers a valuable insight into the career of one of bodybuilding’s most recognisable characters. Enjoy!

Guest Post: Compression Clothing: Will It Really Improve Your Workout?

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You’ve probably seen some form of compression sportswear in your gym or on the TV. Numerous NBA athletes use it, footballers use it and it seems like compression clothing really plays an important role when it comes to performance. If that wasn’t the case, why would all these professionals wear it? Compression sportswear ranges from socks and sleeves to underpants, shorts and shirts. And the main goal of compression clothing is to boost your performance. However, many doubt whether compression clothing really does improve an athlete’s performance. Let’s take a look at a few arguments that could help us decide for ourselves.

Searching the Pathé Archives

Those interested in weightlifting and physical culture more generally are in a rather privileged position. Numerous websites, ourselves included, detail the various intricacies of the Iron Game’s History. Numerous websites offer old magazines and books free of charge and forums exist to help interested parties find every possible thing they can imagine.

Rarely though is British Pathé brought into the fold. Running from 1910 to 1970, Pathé newsreels span an incredibly diverse and interesting range of topics. Included in this, as you may have guessed, are clips of bodybuilders, weightlifters and physical culturists strutting their collective stuff. So without further adieu, I’d like to run through some of my favourite clips from Youtube.

Running by John McCallum (1967)

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Known more for his incredible bulking routines than a love of aerobics, the following article comes from John McCallum, one of physical culture’s best known writers in the twentieth-century. Seeking to marry aerobic and anaerobic forms of exercise, the article (first published in 1967) is an interesting reminder that the idea of ‘cardio’ having a place in bodybuilding has a long rooted history.

Vancouver is the third largest city in Canada. It’s nestled on the west coast about 25 miles north of the American border, with the blue Pacific on one side of it and snow capped mountains on the other. “Where else,” the natives say, “can you lie on the beach all morning and ski in the mountains half an hour later?”

The northern tip of the city consists of 1000 square acres of sylvan beauty. It’s called Stanley  Park, and it draws people like a magnet. On a Sunday afternoon you can see everything from a busload of nuns feeding the monkeys to 300 hippies holding a love-in.

Workout for a Working Man

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This article, first published in Health and Strength Magazine in 1956 is a great reminder that we don’t need to spend hours in the gym to maintain our fitness. In fact, the writers of this programme believed it could be done in half an hour or less. Ideal for those struggling to make time to workout.

So sorry folks, not having an hour to workout is no longer an excuse! Check out the routine below.

Bigger Faster Stronger: The Mr. Olympia

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Bodybuilders, like most other professional athletes in the last four decades, have undergone an unprecedented change. Whereas the first Mr. Olympia weighed in at just over 200 lbs, the modern champion is more likely to be sixty pounds heavier and leaner as well.

While the reasons for this, at least in bodybuilding, are clear, it is still interesting to reflect upon this change. Today’s short post discusses the average weight for the overall Mr. Olympia since it’s inception and shows how and when ‘the mass monsters’ gained a foothold in the sport.