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.

Friedrich Ludwig Jahn

Posted on Monday, April 23rd, 2018 by John Wood
The Father of gymnastics is widely regarded as Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, the German Prussian physical culture pioneer. As a commander in the Military, Jahn was shocked at the poor physical condition of the soldiers during the Napoleonic wars of the early 1800’s. As a result, Jahn devised a system of exercises and games intended to improve strength and stamina.

This gave rise to the Turnverein Movement, or gymnastic societies, which sought not only to build military readiness but also national pride through physical training pursuits.

It was Jahn who devised early models of the gymnastic equipment which are commonly today: the balance beam, horizontal bar, the parallel bars and the vaulting horse.

Russian Glute Ham Machine

Posted on Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 by John Wood
Glute Ham Machines can be found in most gyms these days but this wasn’t always the case. This movement was pioneered by the great soviet weightlifters who placed a gymnastic pommel horse near a set of Swedish Bars into which they they hooked their feet. That’s the great Alexeev shown here demonstrating the movement. This exercise didn’t make it to US shores until well into the 1980’s.
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 Ohio State Armory

Posted on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 by John Wood

Ohio State Armory - 1898

I’ve had this picture of this fantastic old gym in my collection for years and it has always been a mystery as to exactly where it was. Recently, thanks to the wonder of the internet, we have found out that this is the interior view of the gymnasium of the Ohio State Armory, in Columbus, Ohio.

This was a pretty typical gym at the time: plenty of wide open space and a variety of available gymnastic training equipment such as traveling rings, medicine balls, tumbling mats, pommel horses and climbing ropes etc. Like most gyms of the period, the training options were basic, but more than enough to obtain good results. The large and very impressive semi-circular beamed roof was specifically designed to allow in plenty of natural light.

The armory was quite a facility, It was built in 1897 and resembled a Medieval castle, turrets and all, as you can see in the exterior shot below.