True ‘body building’ — F. Sanfilippo (1962)

So far, FOUNDATIONS OF IRON has primarily featured examples of historic physical culture from the US, and occasionally England. Now we take a step outside of the Anglosphere for a look at the physical culture of France, with a translation of an article from the January 1962 issue of La Culture Physique, a monthly fitness magazine that seems to have been in publication for several decades from the early to mid twentieth century.

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The cover masthead of La Culture Physique. Click to enlarge (will appear in new window/tab).

In the history of physical fitness, it has been common for certain individuals to enter the limelight and be lauded as teachers and gurus. French physical culture was no exception. La Culture Physique was the official publication of physical culturist Edmond Desbonnet. Even five years after Desbonnet passed away in 1957, praise for the “Desbonnet method” and for Desbonnet himself still appeared throughout this magazine, including the article below.

This article calls for a more holistic and healthful approach to physical culture, in the face of a rising trend of what the author considered to be bodybuilding purely for muscular development. Continue reading