Arnold Schwarzenegger - Encyclopedia of Modern Body Building.pdf

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Introduction
to
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Bodybuilding
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H
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1
Evolution and History
A
T THE END
of the nineteenth century a new interest in muscle-
building arose, not muscle just as a means of survival or of defending one-
self; there was a return to the Greek ideal-muscular
development as a
celebration of the human body.
This was the era when the ancient tradition of stone-lifting evolved
into the modern sport of weightlifting. As the sport developed, it took on
different aspects in different cultures. In Europe, weightlifting was a form
of entertainment
from which professional strongmen emerged-men
who made their living by how much weight they could lift or support. How
their physiques looked didn't matter to them or to their audience. The re-
sult was that they tended to develop beefy, ponderous bodies.
In America at this time, a considerable interest in strength in relation
to its effect on health developed. The adherents of physical culture
stressed the need for eating natural, unprocessed foods-an idea that took
root in response to the increasing use of new food-processing techniques.
Americans were beginning to move from farms and small towns to the
cities; the automobile provided a new mobility. But at the same time, life
was becoming increasingly sedentary, and the health problems that arise
when a population eats too much of the wrong food, doesn't get enough
exercise, and exists in constant conditions of stress were just becoming ap-
parent.
The physical culturists were battling this trend with a belief in overall
health and physical conditioning, advocating moderation and balance in
all aspects of life. The beer-drinking, pot-bellied strongmen of Europe
were certainly not their ideal. What they needed was a model whose
physique embodied the ideas they were trying to disseminate, someone
who more closely resembled the idealized statues of ancient Greek ath-
letes than the Bavarian beer hall bulls of Europe. They found such a man
4
Eugen Sandow
in the person of Eugen Sandow, a turn-of-the-century
physical culture
superstar.
Sandow made his reputation in Europe as a professional strongman,
successfully challenging other strongmen and outdoing them at their own
stunts. He came to America in the 1890s and was promoted by Florenz
Ziegfeld, who billed him as "The World's Strongest Man" and put him on
tour. But what really set Sandow apart was the aesthetic quality of his
physique.
Sandow was beautiful, no doubt about it. He was an exhibitionist and
enjoyed having people look at his body as well as admire his strongman
stunts. He would step into a glass case and pose, wearing nothing but a fig
leaf, while the audience stared and the women oohed and aahed at the
beauty and symmetry of his muscular development. This celebration of
the aesthetic qualities of the male physique was something very new. Dur-
II
I
ing the Victorian age men had covered themselves in confining clothing,
and very few artists used the male nude as a subject for their paintings.
This is what made Sandow's appeal so amazing.
Due largely to Sandow's popularity, sales of barbells and dumbbells
skyrocketed. Sandow earned thousands of dollars a week and created a
whole industry around himself through the sale of books and magazines.
Contests were held in which the physical measurements of the competi-
tors were compared, then Sandow awarded a gold-plated statue of himself
to the winners. But, ultimately, he fell victim to his own macho mystique.
It is said that one day his car ran off the road and he felt compelled to
demonstrate his strength by single-handedly hauling it out of a ditch. As a
result the man whom King George of England had appointed "Professor
of Scientific Physical Culture to His Majesty" suffered a brain hemorrhage
that ended his life.
Around the same time George Hackenschmidt
earned the title "The
Eugen Sandow
TIlE
EXIUBITS
HIS
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Arthur Saxon
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