1/04/2010

A Brief History of Bodybuilding

As a sport of aesthetics, bodybuilding can be traced back to the 11th century in India where athletes created their own dumbells (called Nals) out of stone and wood. There is also evidence that they created first kind of gyms around this period.
Early Years
Bodybuilding did not really gain popularity until the late 19th century, when the sport was promoted by the German Eugen Sandow - who is now often referred to as the "Father of modern bodybuilding". He is credited with inventing and selling the first machine made dumbells.
Sandow also organised the first ever bodybuilding contest on September 14, 1901 called the "Great Competition" and held in the Royal Albert Hall. Judged by himself, Sir Charles Lawes, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the contest was a huge success and was a sell-out with hundreds of fans turned away. The trophy presented to the winner was a bronze statue of Sandow himself sculpted by Frederick Pomeroy. This statue (known as "The Sandow") has been presented to the Mr. Olympia winner since 1977.
In the early 20th century, Bernarr Macfadden and Charles Atlas, continued to promote bodybuilding across the world.

1940 - 1970
The period of 1940 to 1970 is often referred to as the "Golden Age" of bodybuilding. It was during this time that training techniques improved, more publications hit the shelves, and more contests were held. In this time, bodybuilding was typified by Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, California, US.
Due to the rise in popularity, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) added a bodybuilding competition to their existing weightlifting contest in 1939 - the next year this competition was named AAU Mr America.
Around the mid-1940s most bodybuilders became dissatisfied with the AAU as they only allowed amateur competitors and placed more focus on the Olympic sport of weightlifting. This caused brothers Ben and Joe Weider to form the International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB), organising the IFBB Mr America which was open to professional athletes.
In 1950, another organisation, the National Amateur Bodybuilders Association (NABBA) started their NABBA Mr Universe contest in England. Another major contest, Mr. Olympia, was first held in 1965 - this is currently the most prestigious title in bodybuilding.
Initially contests were for men only, but the NABBA added Miss Universe in 1965 and Miss Olympia was started in 1980.
1970s Onwards
In the 1970s, bodybuilding had major publicity thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger and the 1977 film Pumping Iron. By this time the IFBB dominated the sport.
This period also saw the rise of anabolic steroids both in bodybuilding and many other sports. To combat this, and to be allowed to be an IOC member, the IFBB introduced strict doping tests for steriods and other banned substances.
The IFBB is currently attempting to make bodybuilding an Olympic sport. It obtained full IOC membership in 2000 and is attempting to get a demonstration event at the Olympics which would hopefully lead to it being added as a full contest. This remains controversial since some argue that bodybuilding is not a sport since the actual contest does not involve athletic effort. However, proponents argue that the posing routine requires skill and preparation