In Pursuit of a New Golden Era of Bodybuilding, Part 1: Time For a Renaissance
By Admin | Friday, March 19, 2010 11:03:04 AM America/New_York
I suspect there comes a time in every person's career when your perspective becomes part of a distant past to which few people can relate. The " iron game" reached that stage for me a number of years ago. Indeed, many commonplace realities of the present day barely resemble the past I remember, a time when notions of "strength" and "health"were the objective in every facet of life. That is not to say the present day is damned, but there are a number of radical differences from the gritty, fraternal world of the weight rooms of the past that need to be restored, in my opinion.
Far beyond training measures and dungeon-like settings where set after callous-splitting set was ground out, there was an undercurrent of athleticism and of " physical culture" that permeated every corner of the sect. The six a.m. crowd, ready to kick the door down if the gym owner was a moment late, not only was ready to dig into the squat racks and chalk up on the platform, it lived and breathed every moment in a shared comraderie.
Looking strictly at modern bodybuilding, it is far removed from its ancestral heritage of strength athletes in pursuit of the ultimate male physique. The artistic notion of the chiseled warrior such as Ancient Rome's Galata Morente or the work of fifth / fourth century B.C. sculpter Polykleitos of Greece, was firmly in the minds of the pioneering bodybuilders at the turn of the last century. Slowly building through to the "golden era" of the 1950s and 60s, it stayed true to form as bodybuilders were not only fine quality athletes who considered the classic artistic model but also devoted to a healthy lifestyle that would put the best in the present-day fitness industry to shame. That mindset however took a major turn in the ensuing decades and while competitors took on epic physical proportions, they have lost the link to classic proportions of art, lack crossover appeal to the majority of the public, and no longer serve as an example of healthy living, Needless to say, they have also lost the camaraderie that once permeated the discipline.
Bodybuilding is in dire need of a renaissance, one in which its history emerges and shows the public the simple yet rich lessons "the iron" can provide, while also achieving mainstream growth. Though those on the business side of bodybuilding will not appreciate such comments, bodybuilding's current lack of connection to the classic image of artistic form is why it has stayed on the outskirts of society. Ironically, if the discipline, including regulatory bodies within competition, restores these ideas, its growth will be exponential and the market will grow far beyond the imagination of the most optimistic. The question now is this: Can modern bodybuilding restore its heritage and classic vision of the perfect physique? The answer is of course affirmative but with a number of qualifications.
It should be noted that this is not a condemnation of the present competitive world but a realization that goals can differ within individuals without being "wrong." However, this new interpretation of the classic model recognizes historical fact, which ultimately will relate to the overwhelming majority but serve a greater good of overall societal health.
Though I have the luxury of borrowing upon a past history which includes training alongside some legends of the iron game in my own early-teen years, the young lifter of today faces many roadblocks. While quality supplementation and nutritional knowledge has moved light years from the days of cycling hyper dosages of desiccated liver and a concoction of oils and unique food products, the exercise front has not advanced in the same manner.
Possibly, this is because of the growth of the business side of the exercise world or a by-product of the disappearance of gym camaraderie and the unique training measures that were once common knowledge. Whether it is understanding the use of varying tempo, adjusting tension, unique lifts or even hand position, gems of knowledge that were passed down in the gritty weight rooms of yesterday have been lost to the modern world. It is a situation akin to the master finishing cabinet maker of another era, with his time tested hand tools, proving superior to a modern world filled with technical gadgetry.
In consideration of this, with a good friend needing little coercion to step on the stage, we decided to resurrect these time-tasted measures and notions of the classic form with the extraordinary supplementation choices of today and pass them on for bodybuilding's renaissance.
Stay tuned for step one in the iron game's return.