History of the Barbell

History Of The Barbell

5-kims-gymStrength training started with the ancient Greeks. Hippocrates explained the principle behind weight lifting when he wrote “that which is used develops, and that which is not used wastes away.” Legend has it that wrestler Milo of Croton trained by carrying a newborn calf on his back every day as he ran around a barn until the calf was fully grown. That was in the 6th century BC. Think of the Quads and Calves this guy had to have. I should have done that years ago. The Greek physician Galen, described strength training exercises using a crude form of dumbells in the 2nd century AD.

Church bells hanging from a short rod was the precursor to our present dumbbells. I guess you had to be dumb to try and lift such a contraption. In the late 1800’s a longer bar was utilized and this device became known as the bar-bell. Someone came up with the idea of welding the bells to the ends of the bar, closing them and filling the ends with various substances including sand, lead shot, and water in order to vary the weight. What a pain by today’s standards.

If your interested in learning more here is a link to a book” From Milo to Milo: A History of Barbells, Dumbells, and Indian Clubs

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