The Pommel Horse

Posted on Wednesday, August 29th, 2018 by John Wood
Like most gymnastic events, the Pommel Horse has its roots in military training. In this case approximating mounting and dismounting a real horse. Early pommel horses actually looked like a horse although once it was adopted into physical training the pommel horse became much more symmetrical, thereby allowing for more elaborate moves. It has been said that the pommel horse is one of the most difficult and technically demanding of all the gymnastic events. This shot was taken at the 1896 Olympics.

By the way, the athlete shown here is Carl Schuhmann who won four Olympic Gold Medals in gymnastics and wrestling in Athens. Schuhmann’s first opponent in wrestling was actually Launceston Elliot and beat him handily. Schuhmann also competed in the weightlifting event, finishing fourth.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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.

Heavy Training for French Soldiers

Posted on Friday, November 18th, 2016 by John Wood

“The making of men taken from civilian life into well-trained soldiers has been a problem in England as in France. Business hours left the Frenchman with little time for exercise. Their training in the manner here shown quickly made them fit, and soon after leaving the counter, lathe, or desk they have proved themselves able to undertake with endurance the long marches and successful offensives against the common enemy with complete success. Every Frenchman entering the army undergoes a preparation in gymnastics and rope climbing as here shown.”

National Geographic Magazine

April, 1917

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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 Swedish Bars

Posted on Sunday, August 19th, 2012 by John Wood

The Swedish Bars

You have no doubt seen these along the walls in Classic Gyms but didn’t know what they were – so now you do. The Swedish Bars (also called Stall Bars or Gymnastic Bars) were created by the Swedish physical training pioneer Pehr Henrik Ling back in the 1800’s (a derivation of the climbing ladder).

They soon became a standard piece of gymnastic training equipment in physical culture gymnasiums, YMCAs and especially in the military. The Swedish Bars are used to build flexibility as well as to perform a variety of exercises, most notably abdominal work by hanging from them and performing leg lifts, etc..

Cannon Lifting

Posted on Thursday, March 15th, 2012 by John Wood

Cannon Lifting

“Don’t have a weight set? …just lift a cannon!” That’s what Steve Justa would have said if he had been born a century earlier…

Sensing potential threats invading from the Alpine border, back in the late 1800’s, the French Military formed a special brigade devoted specifically to mountain warfare  Their cannon were often transported by mules,  yet there were many places where the mules were not able to travel so these soldiers did what they had to do in order to be prepared, and that often meant putting their cannons on their backs and carrying them themselves.

As these kinds of things often do, it became a sense of pride to see who could lift the heaviest cannon.  One of the highest compliments that could be said for a member of these battalions was that “he can do the work of two (or three) mules.” The cannon that the gentleman above is shown carrying was listed as weighing 280 kg — that’s over 600 pounds!

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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.