The Gymnasium of the Romania College of Physical Education

Posted on Sunday, January 20th, 2013 by John Wood
The Gymnasium of the Romania College of Physical Education
Here’s a quick look at The Gymnasium of the College of Physical Education in Bucharest, Romania. Their most well-known graduate is the famed gymnastic coach Bela Karolyi.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Sandow’s Somersault

Posted on Sunday, July 29th, 2012 by John Wood
Sandow's Somersault

Here’s one you probably haven’t seen before… Behold, one of the few images of the great physique star Eugen Sandow doing something athletic: performing a back somersault. Sandow used to do a back somersault was often the exclamation point to finish his act, showing the audience that his muscles weren’t just for show. In fact, many people are more impressed by a back somersault than lifting a heavy weight.

Sandow could perform a back somersault with a 56 pound dumbbell in each hand which is pretty amazing when you think about it.

Like many early strongmen, Sandow’s early training consisted of basic gymnastics movements, calisthenics and hand balancing — all of which continued to serve him well throughout his career.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

The William J. Herrmann Institute of Physical Culture

Posted on Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 by John Wood
Herrmann's Gym
William J. Herrmann was a very knowledgeable physical culturist who taugh and heavily influenced Alan Calvert (in fact, Calvert’s classic book “Super Strength” is dedicated to him.)

Herrmann’s gym, once located at 1325 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was one of the popular hangouts for many of the strength stars of the early 20th century, most notably Sig Klein and Milo Steinborn, who performed a number of strength feats there. Sandow trained at Herrmann’s place whenever he visited the US. At Hermann’s, classes were taught in boxing, wrestling, fencing, body-building, calisthenics, Indian Clubs, gymnastics and acrobatics.

This picture was taken in 1931 and shows Milo Steinborn getting in a quick workout on the newly added open-air section of the gym (used for hand ball and training in the fresh air and sun shine, among other pursuits.) Herrmann’s son (also named William) won the bronze medal in tumbling at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

George Brosius and The Frankfurt Squad

Posted on Friday, May 11th, 2012 by John Wood

George Brosius and his Frankfurt Squad

George Brosius (far right) is shown here with his famous “Frankfurt Squad.” This seven member team was composed of the most talented individuals from the Milwaukee Turnverein of which Brosius was the long time teacher.

Against thousands of the best athletes that Europe had to offer, Brosius’ team shocked the world in 1880 by winning five out of twenty-two prizes at the international gymnastic competition held at Frankfurt, Germany. They also took first place in a separate German wrestling competition.

From left to right: Hermann J. Koehler(2nd prize, also Brosius’ nephew, FYI) , Anton Schaefer (4th prize), Friedrich Kasten, Carl Paul (21st prize), Wilhelm Lachenmaier, Otto Wagner (3rd prize), Carl Mueller (5th prize), George Brosius (director)

Also of note is the bust of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn looking down from above.

The Myrtle Street Gymnasium, 1865

Posted on Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 by John Wood

The Myrtle Street Gymnasium, Liverpool

Liverpool Gymnasium
A look at two rare engravings of the front and interior the Myrtle Street Gymnasium in Liverpool, England, which officially opened on November 6th, 1865.
This facility was the finest in the world at the time, and offered training in the British, Swedish, German and American gymnastic systems as well as fencing, rowing, swimming, cycling and other athletic pursuits.

Look closely and you will see climbing ropes and ladders, wall pulleys, barbell and dumbbell lifting, wall pulleys and a variety of other interesting methods of training (including a live horse!)

The “Gymnasiarch” of this facility was Mr. John Hulley, who was one of the co-founders of the Liverpool Athletic Club and who helped organize the first Olympic Festivals. These early athletic contests gave rise to the “Modern” Olympic games.

Club Swinging for Health by Tom Burrows

Posted on Friday, October 7th, 2011 by John Wood

Club Swinging for Health by Tom Burrows

Here’s a real treat: an extremely rare Indian Club training course from Tom Burrows, published in an issue of Health and Strength in 1905.  Burrows was a champion in boxing, wrestling, fencing, gymnastics, the broad jump, the long jump, the hundred yard dash and the mile run — in fact, he won whole track meets by himself.

It was Burrows’ feeling was that swinging Indian Clubs was the finest all around exercise for health and strength.

In this particular course, Exercise 1 is for chest expansion, balance and leg development…  Exercise 2 is for building the waist and arms… Exercise 3 works the trunk… Exercise 4 develops the shoulders and thigh muscles… Exercise 5 is for the abdominals… Exercise 6 works the arms, legs, trunk and thighs… Exercise 7 is for chest development and Exercise 8 is for arms, legs and trunk development.