ancient strength training ancient strength training


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There is a misconception among many people that strength training using external equipment is a modern development in fitness. Nothing could be further from the truth. Physical culture is an ancient practice. Wars were fought and there was a need for warriors to be in top shape. Of course bodyweight exercises were used. Chin ups, pushups, Squats, etc were and continue to be very important in athletics. But they realized back then just as they do now that there are benefits to using external weights and specialized strength equipment.


In ancient Greece, athletes trained using weights made of stone or metal. One of the most famous Greek strength athletes was Milo of Croton, a wrestler who lived in the 6th century BCE. Milo is said to have trained by carrying a calf on his shoulders every day until it grew into a full-grown bull. I don't know if that's true, but it does show that they understood the concept of progressive resistance.


In ancient China and other Asian countries, strength training was a vital component of martial arts training. Warriors developed specialized exercises to build strength, speed, and agility. In addition to equipment such as early forms of dumbbells and barbells, training with weapons such as staffs, spears, swords, and axes were also done and continue to be practiced by traditional martial artists to this day. Indian strength training equipment such as macebells and clubs continue to be used today also.


Roman gladiators were not only amazing fighters, but it was big business! The gladiator schools invested a lot of time and money into their fighters. This included training with weapons, bodyweight training, and weight training. When they uncovered the gladiator barracks at Pompeii, they found all kinds of things such as arnour, weapons, and strength training equipment.


During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, strength training took on new forms as knights and soldiers trained for battle. Weightlifting and other strength exercises were still used, but with the added focus on building functional strength and agility for use in combat. After all, they wore full body armour which was unlike armour worn before then. There was a well known German knight and fencing master named Joachim Meyer who wrote about the benefits of strength training for sword fighting. In his book "The Art of Combat," he emphasized the importance of strength and fitness for success in battle. He pointed out the need for both bodyweight and weight training.


The modern era of strength training began in the 19th century with the start of organized weightlifting competitions. In 1896, weightlifting was included in the first modern Olympic Games, and has been an important part of the games ever since. During the early 20th century, strength training became increasingly popular among athletes, with many using weightlifting and other forms of strength training to improve their performance in sports like football, track and field, and wrestling. One of the most famous athletes of this era was Eugene Sandow, a British bodybuilder who is often referred to as the "father of modern bodybuilding." He was known not only for his strength, but for his impressive physique. This was very important for physical culture as the concept of shaping and building your body specifically for appearance began to catch on. Later in the 20th century, people like Steve Reeves and Arnold Schwarzenegger helped bring weight training and bodybuilding to the mainstream.


Nowadays, most people understand the importance and benefits of strength training both with bodyweight and weight exercises. Our lives have become much more sedentary and people also live longer than they did in ancient times. It's no longer just for warriors or competitive athletes. Seniors use it to maintain their muscle mass as they age. Its used in rehab programs and countless other things. It's easy to think these are modern inventions, but if it hadn't been for those ancient warriors, the world today would be very different to say the least!