Tag: History

The History of the Preacher Curl

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A piece of equipment ubiquitous across the gym floor, the Preacher Curl is a go to exercise for gym bros and dedicated trainees alike seeking to build their biceps. Combined with the EZ Bar, whose history is covered here, the Preacher Curl is likely an exercise we’ve all turned to in need of arm development.

When did this piece of equipment enter the gym zeitgeist, what was its original purpose and how did it become so popular? Furthermore, how does one perform the exercise correctly? Well strap in folks as we take another trip down memory lane…

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Joe Weider’s Power and Bulk Routine

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Controversies aside, it’s far to say Joe Weider’s was one of the most influential men bodybuilding has ever encountered. In the course of his long career as a trainer, promoter and media mogul, Weider came across everyone from Arnie to Ronnie.

Who better to learn from then the man known as ‘The Trainer of Champions’. Today’s post look’s at Weider’s classic Power and Bulk Routine, first published in 1954. It’s simple but without doubt effective.

Guest Post: What “dieting” meant to people in the 1900s

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Dieting in the 1900s

The concept of “dieting” has been around for a very, very long time. If historical data is to be believed, people have been convinced about the power of dieting for as long as 500 years now. Can people control their body weight and composition by controlling what they eat, when they eat and how they eat it? Most certainly!

Today, we have a number of facilities and fitness equipment like roman chairs, treadmills, and dedicated trainers to help us with our fitness goals. Back in the day? Diets were more sought-after. A lot of diets have been introduced and experimented with over the years. Some of them have been failures, some have been quite weird, and others have been recycled, given fancier names, and exist in the current scenario. Let’s take a look at a few of these:

Friends to Enemies: Steroids and the United States

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Note: This article is about the legal history of Anabolic Steroids in the United States and not an endorsement or discussion about steroids and performance.

There is perhaps no other topic in sports that garners as emotional a reaction than the use of steroids or performance enhancing drugs by professional athletes. For some the ends justify the means, whilst for others, the use of any ergogenic (something that aids performance) goes against fair play.

I suspect that much of this debate is fuelled by the fact that anabolic steroids are an illegal substance in the United States, which is oftentimes the mecca of sports. With that in mind, today’s post looks at the history of steroids in the United States, specifically their first uses and when they became a banned substance.

Guest Post: The History of Sportswear

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The concept and idea of activewear has changed dramatically over time. While clothes – and indeed sports – have existed for centuries, it wasn’t until recently that someone struck on the idea of creating clothes made for sports. Until the turn of the 20th century athletes would compete in their street clothes or – as in the case of the ancient Greeks – completely nude. Women who competed in sports would often wear smaller versions of the clothes men would wear when competing. Here’s more on the history of activewear from fashion and apparel experts The Uniform Centre.

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The Curious Case of the World Bodybuilding Federation

In the first of a three part series, we look at the brief life of the World Bodybuilding Federation, an organisation financed by wrestling mogul Vince McMahon that tried to take on Joe Weider’s formidable stronghold on the sport.

While the WBF ultimately failed, its influence on the sport cannot be underestimated.  

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Part One: Kicking Ass and Taking Names

Bodybuilding is an interesting sport in more ways than one. Aside from the bulging muscles, oiled behemoths and flashy lights, there exists a fascinating business element to the sport.

For the greater part of the 20th and 21st century, bodybuilding has been ruled and prescided over by the International Federation of Bodybuilding, the IFBB. Every major professional bodybuilding tournament boasts the IFBB logo and many of the greatest bodybuilders from Arnie to Ronnie have cut their teeth in the organisation.

Created by Joe and Ben Weider, the IFBB spent the mid half of the 20th century fighting off and finally defeating Bob Hoffman’s AAU organisation thereby becoming ‘THE’ bodybuilding organisation that all the athletes wanted to be a part of for the remainder of the century. From the 1960s onward, the IFBB became a monopoly that few dared to challenge.

It came as a surprise then when Vince McMahon, a man associated more with pro-wrestling than bodybuilding, sought to overthrow the Weider’s in the early 1990s and establish his own bodybuilding federation, labelled the World Bodybuilding Federation. Whilst the WBF only lasted for two years, it diveded the bodybuilding community, bringing in reforms of varying success and making the sport somewhat more mainstream.

3 Sets x 10 Reps: The History, Logic and Reasoning

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Earlier in the week I was fortunate enough to spend time with a friend of mine who has recently qualified as a physiotherapist. Discussing the relative merits of different exercises and training protocols, my friend lamented his profession’s reliance on cookie cutter protocols for rehabbing patients. In their view, many physiotherapists tended to prescribe 10 reps x 3 sets on exercises for patients regardless of their training experience, interest or age.

Now admittedly my friend has been strength training for the better part of a decade, which perhaps explains his enthusiasm for varying rep ranges across populations. Indeed in their training lifetime, they’ve used 5 x 5, 3 x 8, 1 x 20 and a host of other schemes. Hence they’ve experienced the effects that different protocols can produce. Ruminating however on their complaints, I realised that even outside the world of physiotherapy, people can adhere to rep ranges with a quasi-religious real. After all, when was the last time you heard someone promote 4 sets x 11 reps? Sacrilege….rep ranges must be divisible by 2 in the vast majority of cases!

Indeed, it’s not just the world of physiotherapy that has become enamoured with 3 sets x 10 reps. Many beginner and advanced programmes promote likewise. Certainly when I finished my first ‘real’ programme of 5 x 5, I was encouraged by older lifters to move to 10 x 3 for an introduction into bodybuilding. So with this in mind, today’s post examines the history of ’10 x 3′, a training protocol favoured it seems by gym goers and professional clinicians alike.

Bradley J. Steiner, For Rugged Strength And Muscle Size Try This Novel “Split Routine (1972 Article)

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Weight Fitness Studio Fitness Dumbbell

I remember hesitating abut using the title that appears on the top of this page.

I can hear the “oohs!” and “aahhs!” and I can see the looks of astonishment and disappointment on your faces: “Steiner – IRON MAN’S feature-writer, advocating, a split routine? Why, this guy’s flipped his wig. He’s been hollering so much about the importance of avoiding too much exercise, and the fact the three workouts a week are plenty for gains, that I’ve been afraid to even look at a a barbell more than three times a week – for fear of over-training – and now?? – what gives? – has Steiner gone the way of the Iron Game’s more unscrupulous money-grubbers? – is he too going to blabber about quadruple-zipping and double-popping, and marathon, three-hour schedules? – Oh man! What’s going on???