Meet Eugen Sandow, father of modern-day bodybuilding:
In the Victorian era, Eugen Sandow must have physically appeared godly. While professional strongmen existed long before Sandow appeared, none possessed such a chiselled physique previously. [...]
He was initially known for his impressive barbell routines and for breaking a chain locked around his chest. However audiences quickly became far more fascinated by Eugen Sandow's bulging muscles than by the amount of weight he was able to hoist. As a result, Sandow developed and performed poses. He dubbed these displays ‘muscle display performances’ and the routine was a precursor to the bodybuilding competition posses we see today. [...]
In training, Sandow actually measured the marble artworks in museums. He viewed them as ‘The Grecian Ideal’ and as a formula for the ‘perfect physique’. Sandow eventually built his physique to the exact proportions of Greek and Roman Sculpture and, in the process, became one of the first athletes to intentionally develop his musculature to pre-determined dimensions. Today he is considered by many to be ‘The Father of Bodybuilding’.
Here's a video of Sandow performing in 1894, as recorded by none other than Thomas Edison himself:
Note: We've actually written about Sandow previously on
Neatorama, as part of this post, The
Wonderful World of Early Photography