The History of Bodybuilding

Let’s start the tour in the history of bodybuilding, believe me it will be very exciting. Interest in the harmonious development of the body was observed in Ancient Greece. Exercise was built here in the cult. With their help, thousands of Greeks perfected his body, making it proportional, flexible, fast and strong. As a result, in 776 BC at the temple of Zeus on mount Olympia hosted the first Olympic Games of antiquity. For more than four hundred years they remained the largest sporting events of the time. Its peak the cult of the body made up in Sparta, after which the interest was undeserved, but steadily to fall. And for many centuries, until the end of the nineteenth century a harmonious, healthy body was sidelined.

Since the end of last century, interest in the special build muscles began to grow again. Powerful strong body became a symbol of the violent and controversial of the twentieth century. People gradually returned to the ancient Greek ideal of harmonious development of the body.

Significant impact athletic training acquired in the United States in connection with their impact on health. The rapid growth of megacities, mass migration of people from villages to big cities, appearance of car, phone, radio, all this could not appear on the way of life. It also becomes less flexible. The increased use of low quality products from the distribution new technologies for their processing. To this we must add life in conditions of constant stress.

The first stars of the nascent sport of bodybuilding, steel Eugen Sandow (Professor of physical culture to His Majesty) and the “Russian Lion” George Hackenschmidt. In addition to the magnificent bodies of these people possessed a remarkable mind: Gakkenshmidt, for example, led to the equal debate with such intellectuals of the time, like George Bernard Shaw and albert Einstein.

There were others, and they with the help of physical exercises kept until the end of life, fine form and good spirits. One of them, obsessed with the health of businessman-publisher Bernard Macfadden. He founded the journal “Physical culture” and until his death, 75 years old, walked for several kilometers to his office barefoot and bare-chested. Thereby, the admiration of the ladies and envy of men.


The first competition for the title of “the man with the most perfect physique” was held in 1903 in new York. The winner received a prize of $ 1,000. However, until 1940 the sport was still unrecognized by the international community. That year was the first real competition in bodybuilding “Mr. America”. Their winner was John Grimek proved the fallacy of the claim that those who train with weights, “swing muscles for muscles”. In their speeches, he showed not only extraordinary strength, but also extraordinary flexibility and coordination.

Bodybuilding its peak reached in the early 70-ies, when the competition was held worldwide, and the stars of bodybuilding in popularity surpassed even Hollywood movie stars. However, it was still a sport for the elite.

Currently, the bodybuilding one of the most popular sports on earth. In such a sport country as America is to the gym go at least once a week 40 million Americans. Immortal leader of Amateur physical culture since 1987 – bike receded into the background. The curious thing is that the increase in the number of student has occurred mainly at the expense of women. It is neither more nor less than forty percent of all visitors to the gym.

Athleticism involved for keeping fit, health, creating feelings of confidence and better presentation of himself. In recent history of bodybuilding, the athletics received a boost to development in the late 19th century. It was then that he began to encounter increased interest in special muscle growth. And powerful muscles were considered not so much a means of survival or self-protection, as the return to the ancient Greek ideal of harmonious development of the human body. Interest in the development of power manifested in connection with its influence on health. Against this background, and were supporters of the physical culture and healthy lifestyle, which began to fight for overall health and physical improvement. They advocated moderation and balance in all aspects of life. Of course, their ideal wasn’t pot-bellied strongmen – beer lovers. They needed a role model, a man whose figure embodies the ideas that they promoted. Such a man they found in the person of Eugen Sandow – superstars of physical culture at the turn of the century. Sandow was a professional strongman in Europe, where he successfully competed with other athletes, excelling them all in their crown tricks. But above all he was distinguished by the beauty and harmony of their physique.


Sandow without a doubt was great. He loved to show himself, and he liked it when people looked at his body and admired the power stunts. This celebration of the aesthetic qualities of the male body represented something completely new. Sandow had amazing charm, due to its popularity it has created an entire industry selling books and magazines. Were held competitions, which measured and compared physical characteristics of rivals, and Sandow as a reward awarded to the winners of the gold statuette. The same statues are awarded and the winners of Olympia.

Of course, the emergence of bodybuilding – the merit not only Sandow, in the process of establishing bodybuilding as a sport took part many famous people of his era, but he was first and his contribution cannot be overestimated.

If we consider bodybuilding in its modern sense, the history of bodybuilding of its origin is closely connected with the names of Canadians Ben and Joe Vader – President and Vice-President of the International Federation of Bodybuilders.


It all began in 1946 when Joe played for one of the Montreal weightlifting clubs and was considered a member of the Amateur athletic Union, an organization that then ruled alone in weightlifting. Bodybuilding was also under her wing, however, the rights are not beloved stepson. Contests bodybuilders are usually carried out by closing the curtain of the athletic show, so to speak, for a snack. Once competition athletes unexpectedly delayed. In two hours from the platform went to the last party. And then it turned out that the lease of the hall expired. Bodybuilders driven in a close room backstage, where the ceiling lights dim bulb. To conduct the judging of the athletes made to get to the finder then more humiliation for people who are preparing for competitions over six months, it was impossible to think of. As he says Joe Vader, the scene broke the camel’s back of his patience. He and his brother Ben decided to spend in Montreal is “clean” bodybuilding competitions where bodybuilders were full owners. They received permission from your local canadian branch of the Amateur athletic Union to host the tournament and engaged in organizational Affairs.

15 minutes before the beginning of the preliminary judging, where the athletes already lined up, the courier handed Joe a telegram from the headquarters of the LAS in the United States. The President forbade the holding for bodybuilders competitions and obliged to inform athletes that all who take part in them, will be disqualified and forever banned from Las. After reading the telegram aloud, Joe and Ben announced that neither in any way does not cancel the tournament. Moreover, there on the spot they decided to create their own organization, bodybuilders and announced it to the audience. Then everyone had to decide for himself shoulder workouts bodybuilding, were free either to leave or to stay. Neither the bodybuilder left the room. So there was IFBB is the first organization which began to defend the interests history of bodybuilding and bodybuilding as a sport. All other Federation that emerged later, was only trying to copy someone else’s idea or take away from, IFBB some part of its influence.

Now, IFBB the largest organization of bodybuilders, with headquarters in 174 countries around the world, and recently bodybuilding (according to IFB) received the status of an Olympic sport.

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