History of the Strongman

Making of Legends

When professional athletic competition was first constructed, there were limits on what could even be considered ‘athletic’. Basic concepts like running, throwing, and lifting weights were the most common in individual sport. This is a standing tradition that holds true even today. However, back in the 19th century, a certain group of individuals focused their strength on just how much one person can lift or throw. These individuals were labeled as ‘strongman’.

During this time heavy resistance exercise had gained popularity amongst the masses and was viewed as the best way to maintain or improve health. People from all over would flock to gymnasiums to train. These structures, especially the ones in Europe, had elaborate setups where almost anyone could train individually. Today’s gyms have equipment that makes individual training even more achievable.

Strongmen in the 19th century made their livings by performing demonstrations of their strength, typically at county fairs and town theaters. It was a high form of entertainment to go see a strongman perform. According to heliograph.com, one of the most notable strongmen of the time was one, Eugene Sandow. He is most known for breaking a “test your strength machine” at a Brussels fair. Men were not the only ones to gain recognition for these kinds of feats, though. A woman by the name of Sandwina was labeled by the public as “The Strongest Most Beautiful Woman in the World”. Her strength was so well known that when she would be rumored to appear with the Ringling Bros. Circus, other strongmen would sneak out of town to avoid competing against her!

The idea behind men and women wanting to build up their body mass to lift unbelievable weight is a concept that has been around as early as the 19th century. Back in this time both men and women would perform feats like a circus act of sorts to gain acknowledgment from crowds and to show off their remarkable physique.  Competitions are still well known today for bodybuilders. However fun it may be, weightlifting even just for recreation can be dangerous without proper form and knowledge.

Join us here at Anytime Fitness to learn more on how to build up your own strength. Stop in or call at (262) 248-2422. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and Instagram!

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