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The history of weight lifting

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A brief history of the development of weightlifting

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The history of weight lifting

  1. 1. A brief historical account of the development of modern day weight lifting
  2. 2. Approximately 5000 years ago…  According to USA Weightlifting, a 5000 year old Chinese drawing depicts soldiers being required to pass a lifting test.  Throughout human history many historical documents point out man’s infatuation with strength and the ability to lift heavy objects.  Strength has always been a necessary part of human culture. It is woven into the very fabric of our existence.
  3. 3. Ancient Greece…Circa 129AD  Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus 129AD – 216AD, also known as Galen of Pergamon, was well known as a physician, philosopher and surgeon. In John Scarborough’s historical revised account of Galenus’ publications, he describes many training techniques of the ancient gladiators including the practice of lifting weights that were made of stone also known as ‘halteres’.
  4. 4. 1862 Massachusetts  George Barker Windship (3 January 1834—12 September 1876), was a Boston physician most noted for his promotion of weight lifting.  He was most well known for inventing the first adjustable dumbbell and the forerunners of several modern exercise machines.  He believed that exercise transferred to other areas of his life and he found he had gained the ability to resist and overcome bad habits as well as ailments of the body, from which he coined the slogan "Strength is Health".  Harvard College. (1894) Report of the Class of 1854. Boston: Geo. H. Ellis, pp. 55-6
  5. 5. 1896 Athens  In 1896, the Olympics introduced weightlifting as an official event.  The one-hand snatch and the two-hand clean and jerk formed the program for six athletes from five different countries.
  6. 6. 1902 Phillidelphia  Alan Calvert forms a company called ‘Milo Barbell Company’.  He also created ‘Strength’ magazine in order to promote and advertise his products  Later in the 1920’s his organization began to sponsor exhibitions and competitions that lead to the formation of standards and uniformity within the sport of weight lifting  Encyclopedia Britannica, article written by John D. Fair
  7. 7. 1935 Pittsburg  Bob Hoffman transforms his company ‘The York Oil Burner Corporation’ into ‘The York Barbell Corporation’ and funds his own magazine called ‘Strength and Health’  Bob Hoffman, an avid weight lifter and cunning business man capitalized on the ability to sell hope to the public. He promoted weight lifting as an activity that created its own benefit- a benefit that produced a healthier and better life overall.  John D. Fair, "America's Mecca For Muscle Builders," Pennsylvania Heritage 25:2 (Spring, 1999): 24-31.
  8. 8. 1970 Nebraska  Boyd Epley, strength and conditioning coach at the University of Nebraska, forms the National Strength Coaches Association which would later be called National Strength Conditioning Association.  During this time, Epley invented the following strength training machines: -The Leg Sled -The Jammer -The Rack -The Transformer  Weight Training for Strength and Fitness By L. Jay Silvester
  9. 9. 1975 Pretoria, South Africa  Arnold Swartzeneggar competes and wins the Mr. Olympia Bodybuilding competition. He attributes his success to his training regime which is documented and released as a motion picture entitled, ‘Pumping Iron’  The film, along with Arnolds impressive resume as a 14 time international champion bodybuilder creates overwhelming popularity for weight lifting world wide.  Schwarzenegger, Arnold (1977). Arnold: Developing a Mr. Universe Physique. Schwarzenegger.
  10. 10. 2000 Sydney, Autralia  Women’s weight lifting is debuted as an official event of the 2000 Olympics.  Research and Reference Service / Olympic Studies Centre /
  11. 11. Present Day  Weightlifting is a staple in modern day fitness and is prevalent in almost every country in the world.  It has been widely researched and documented as an effective means of developing strength and athletic ability.  It will be interesting to see what future developments unravel in the culture of weightlifting.