Professor Desbonnet

Posted on Thursday, September 19th, 2013 by John Wood

Professor Edmond Desbonnet is often called “The Father of Modern Weightlifting” — and for good reason, there are a lot of “firsts” associated with his name. A few good examples: he was the first to compile a records table of great performances, the first to introduce referees into a weightlifting competition and the first to codify the press, snatch and jerk into competitive lifts.

Desbonnet opened several schools of physical training (including in 1900, the Halterophile Club de France) and wrote a number of incredible books and courses dealing with strength training and early physical culture. All of his books are detailed and extremely rare. His two most famous titles are Les Rois de la Lutte (The Kings of Wrestling) and Les Rois de la Force (The Kings of Strength).

The Lille Athletic Club, 1901

Posted on Saturday, March 17th, 2012 by John Wood

The Lille Athletic Club, 1901

rance was a center of physical training activity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  This was due in large part to Professor Edmond Desbonnet who founded his school of physical culture in his home town of Lille, in northern France. Here’s a look the members of the Lille Athletic Club, circa 1901, with some of their classic equipment: globe barbells and dumbbells, chest expanders and blockweights etc. Desbonnet himself is pictured at the far right.