One of them was Eugen Sandow , a German-born bodybuilder who appeared to be carved from marble. While not all the advice was salient, Sandow did have a grasp of fitness principles that magazines and coaches have gone on to repeat for decades. The prevalent idea is that muscular exercise of any active kind, for a young girl, coarsens and makes a boy of her. The idea is a delusion; mischievous, indeed, when we realize the value to a growing girl of gymnastics, in their milder form of calisthenics; and its evil results are seen not only in the ailments, among many others, to which we have just referred; but also in the absence of comeliness, grace, and that beauty and shapeliness of physical contour which we associate with a perfectly-formed and finely-conditioned woman.
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Inspired by the Greek and Roman statues, the frail and sickly Sandow was determined to become strong like the heroes cast in marble. No one in the modern age had come close to possessing the Greek-ideal, yet Sandow believed it was possible. Because he is the first person to build their body to pre-determined measurements, he is considered the father of modern body-building.
Keep in mind that he accomplished all of this without any special diet considerations, except not eating to satiation. Below are a number of exercises Sandow developed to become strong. The goal is not to push yourself to the max, tearing muscles and taking every supplement under the sun to repair them, but to gain practical strength over a long period of time by mastering an exercise and slowly increasing the weight. He does mention that a lot of his strength training comes from preparing for and during the strong-man shows for which he was famous.
The can be performed in repetitions and sets. Depending on the exercise, I use either 12 lb. Note: I have given names or used the popular names of these exercises in the illustrations below. However, terms such as Bicep or Push-up did not exist in his day. Also, with every exercise there are a few things Sandow was adamant about: Nasal Breathing — Should be practiced all the time, especially when exercising Bent Knees — Always keep the knees bent a little as this aids in blood flow Alternate Sides — By working one side, then the other, the body has better blood circulation Fresh Air — Whenever possible, exercise in fresh air open windows, out-of-doors Put Your Mind Into It — Focus on the muscles being used and the desired outcome!
Your standard bicep curl, alternating sides. Reverse Bicep Curl Palms facing the ground, then do a curl. Single-arm Shoulder Press Alternate pressing the weights over the head, ensuring good posture. Lateral Shoulder Raise Simultaneously lift the weights from the side of the body to level with the shoulders. Round the back, and alternate bringing each weight to eye height. It feels a bit awkward because you are punching forward with the hand opposite the foremost leg.
Give a bit of a twist to bring the body fully front. Start in a fighting stance. Lunge forward on the foremost leg and punch forward with the opposite arm. Chest Expansion Butterfly This is essentially the standing butterfly. Open the arms wide and then close to the front of the chest as if clapping. Holding Exercise As Sandow was a strong-man, feats of strength often required stamina as well as raw power.
Hold the weights out horizontally for as long as possible. The Push-up It appears he may be on a decline in the photo, but I think it may just be the leopard skin. The Bent Press This is a classic old-time strong-man move. Start the bent press by lifting the weight from the ground to the chest. Continue pressing upwards, bending to the side and supporting yourself via the hand and thigh.
The Full Sit-up If you use a heavier weight here, you can get a nice pull-over to build the lats. Start by lying down flat, using a barbell or couch if necessary to hold the legs. Using the abdomen muscles, sit up, keeping the arms extended. Swing from Ground With the weight between the legs, and just behind you, reach down and swing it up over the head. Repeat with the opposite arm. Standing Chest Press With one leg slightly behind the other, press the barbell or dumbbells over the head, looking skyward and taking a larger step back for support.
Final Thoughts Sandow was a true innovator and showed us what is truly possible with the human body. Keep in mind, he created unbelievable strength and physique without the aid of steroids or massive food intake.
Be inspired and press on! More on Sandow Read more on Eugen Sandow in the books he published. Most, if not all, are available on Kindle for a small fee, though you can find many of them in PDF for free, online.
Eugen Sandow | Bio, Quotes, Death, Bodybulding, Workout and Diet
His father regularly took him to Italy in the hope that a change of scenery would benefit his health. And it did—while there, seeing muscular figures in the sculptures and paintings of the Old Masters—he resolved to become a strongman. In , he left Prussia to avoid military service and became a circus athlete. After taking first place, he gained wider recognition for his strength—and soon his career as a bodybuilding superstar catapulted. He married Blanche Brooks in , and they had two daughters, Helen and Lorraine. On the 14th of October , Eugen Sandow passed away at the age of 58 after suffering a brain hemorrhage. Several years prior, he had a road accident and strained himself by lifting his car out of a ditch.
Eugen Sandow: Part 4 – Sandow’s Exercise Routine
Train like a Sandow!
15 Fitness Tips From 1800s Bodybuilder Eugen Sandow That Are Still Good Today