Body Building – The History of Body Building

Bodybuilding: The process of developing the musculature of the body through specific types of diet and physical exercise, such as weightlifting, especially for competitive exhibition. In competitive bodybuilding, bodybuilders display their physiques to a panel of judges, who assign points based on their aesthetic appearance. Many public figures worldwide have bodybuilding to thank for their success, e.g. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Bodybuilding (the art of displaying the muscles of the physical body) is considered to have started between 1880 and 1930. It was promoted in the late 19th century by a man named Eugen Sandow. Sandow, who was from Prussia, is now referred to as “The Father of Modern Bodybuilding”. Sandow was a pioneer in the sport and later created several businesses around his fame.

Sandow took the phrase “looking like a Greek god” to heart and was a strong advocate of “the Grecian Ideal”. This was a standard where a mathematical “ideal” was set up and the “perfect physique” was close to the proportions of ancient Greek and Roman statues from classical Testosterone Replacement Therapy times. Sandow shaped his physique to this philosophy and men were judged by how closely they matched these “ideal” proportions.

The very first bodybuilding contest took place on 14 September 1901 in the Royal Albert Hall, London, UK. It was organised by Sandow and judged by himself, Sir Charles Lawes, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The contest was a huge success and sold out! The prize winner was handed with a trophy which was a bronze statue of Sandow himself, sculpted by Frederick Pomeroy. Today this contest still exists as Mr Olympia and since 1977, the winner has been presented with the same bronze statue of Sandow, he himself presented to the winner, William L. Murray of Nottingham, England, at the first contest. This contest was called the “Great Competition”.

The first large-scale bodybuilding contest took place on 16 January 1904 at Madison Square Garden, New York City. Al Treloar won the contest and was named “The Most Perfectly Developed Man in the World”. He won a cash prize of $1000 which was a substantial amount at the time. Thomas Edison made a film of Al Treloar’s posting routine, 2 weeks later. He also made two films of Sandow a few years prior, which made him the man who made the first three motion pictures featuring a bodybuilder.