More home fitness equipment (1940)

To continue the theme of keeping fit at home as started with yesterday’s post, today we take a step further back in time for a look at the types of home fitness equipment advertised to physical culture enthusiasts in the 1940s. Home weight training equipment and instructional courses were advertised for readers who hoped to build physiques like those that they saw depicted in fitness publications. The following ads were featured in the August 1940 issue of Bob Hoffman’s magazine Strength & Health. Continue reading

Home fitness equipment ads (1962)

Well, we’ve gone far too long without a look back at the history of the iron game in the mid twentieth-century. With the whole world struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, here’s hoping that you dear readers of FOUNDATIONS OF IRON and your loved ones are in good health. With businesses closed down and people everywhere having to stay home and unable to go have a workout at the local gym, there has been a huge surge in sales of home fitness equipment, to the point that many retailers and distributors are constantly running out of their stock, and consumers must keep checking their preferred sellers’ web sites frequently to see if anything new becomes available. Continue reading

Polish weightlifting team in training (Late 1970s)

Today we present some outstanding vintage documentary footage of Eastern European strength training, showing the Polish weightlifting team’s exercise regimen. During the Cold War era, Eastern European countries tended to dominate in international strength sports competitions. This video is a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into their training methods. The video reel, posted on the “Goodfoot101” Youtube channel, appears to be from the late 1970s, as it includes footage from the 1977 World Weightlifting Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. While somewhat outside the particular era generally covered here at FOUNDATIONS OF IRON, this is still a great showcase of old-school strength training.

As seen in this vintage footage, training for Olympic-style lifting involves much more than simply practicing the Olympic lifts themselves. Continue reading

How are your “External Obliques?” – Bob Hoffman (1940)

The text featured below consists of excerpts from an article by York Barbell founder Bob Hoffman, which originally appeared in the August 1940 issue of his monthly magazine “Strength and Health.” For the sake of brevity, only a few segments from the long and verbose (and often repetitive) original article could be included here.

GrimekOneHandLiftYork Barbell star John Grimek performing a one-handed lift. Click to enlarge (will open in new window/tab).

Hoffman generally promoted Olympic-style weightlifting as the primary modality for exercising with weights, rather than bodybuilding with cosmetic purposes as the primary objective, and his focus is quite evident in this article. Continue reading