Cover of Physical Culture magazine showing a female doing the squat exercise.

A few years ago, I wrote about the ‘culture’ in Physical Culture (learn more here) and explored ideas such as the Romantic thinking of the late 1700-early 1800’s and how Physical Culture was more than moving/strengthening bodies and expanded into areas such as society, customs, science and the creative arts (Maloney, 2018). Such a discussion …read more

Sandow and Pilates

Posted on February 27, 2020 by Movement Health in ,
Eugen Sandow performing an abdominal exercise holding light dummbells.

When you explore the Physical Culture Movement of the late 1800’s-early 1900’s you can start to develop a picture of some of Joseph Pilates influences. One influence of particular interest is Strongman Physical Culturist Eugen Sandow. Eugen Sandow (1867-1925) Born Friedreich Müller in Konigsburg, Prussia (Germany) in 1867, Sandow is considered the, ‘Father of modern …read more

Indian Clubs

Posted on January 3, 2020 by Movement Health in
A drawing depicting a man swinging an Indian Club taken from Sim Kenoe's book 'The Indian Club Exercise'.

Indian Club history As per their name Indian Clubs originated on the Indian subcontinent. Some of the earliest references to clubs can be found in Hindu epics prepared between 400BC and 400AD, these texts referred to a style of club called the Gada (Heffernan, 2017). The Gada is a single mace-like weapon that consists of …read more

The Physical Culture Movement and modern Massage

Posted on November 20, 2018 by Movement Health in
Swedish gymnasts learn massage at the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics in Stockholm showing the relationship between physical culture and massage.

When I studied Remedial Massage we were told the origins of the profession were to be found in the Swedish Gymnastics system created by Pehr Henrik Ling (1776-1839) (learn more here). Following this we learnt a Massage style called Swedish Massage and the associated techniques Effleurage, Petrissage, Tapotment, Friction and Vibration. Upon hearing these terms …read more

Joseph Pilates and the Physical Culture Movement

Posted on October 31, 2018 by Movement Health in ,
Joseph Pilates teaching the teaser exercise to a group of dancers outdoors

Pilates gave us his wonderful method of physical and mental conditioning, however some of his ideas were informed by the times and the Physical Culture Movement represents those times. The Physical Culture Movement followed a timeline that started in Europe, moved on to England and expanded in to the United States; Pilates life followed a …read more

Physiologists v Pharmacologists

Posted on August 31, 2018 by Movement Health in
Pehr Henrik Ling creator of Swedish Gymnastics

During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the Swedish Gymnasts full of pride for their system began questioning the prevailing health practises of the time. Thus a rivalry with Physicians practising Pharmacological medicine devloped that was called the, ‘Physiologists v Pharmacologists’. Students of Swedish Gymnastics (learn more about Swedish Gymnastics here) at the Royal Central …read more

The Strongman Physical Culturists

Posted on July 29, 2018 by Movement Health in
Eugen Sandow one of the Strongman Physical Culturists posing with a dumbbell

The Strongman Physical Culturists (learn more about the Physical Culture Movement here) emerged around the mid-1800’s (Watson et al. 2005); they blended the systematic approach of the European Gymnasts with traditional Viking and Highland events such as the shot-put and are credited with inventing the Barbell. The Strongman athletes were touring entertainers who performed shows …read more

A group of men stretching on the Swedish bars at the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics

The European Gymnast Physical Culturists played a substantial role in the beginnings of Exercise Science and Physical Education. Swedish Gymnastics and the German Turnen organisations were a foundation from which the scientific discipline of Sport and Exercise Science and the Physical Education profession emerged. In 1813 with government support Pehr Henrik Ling founder of Swedish …read more

Swedish Gymnastics: A brief history

Posted on May 31, 2018 by Movement Health in
A group of women do a Swedish Gymnastics class at the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics

Swedish Gymnastics (also known as the Swedish Movement Cure) was founded in the early 1800’s by poet, student of theology and European languages Pehr Henrik Ling (1776-1839). There were two experiences that brought Ling to the world of Physical Culture. Firstly, as a response to Sweden losing territory to Russia during the Napoleonic Wars, Ling …read more

German Turnen Gymnastics: A brief history

Posted on April 27, 2018 by Movement Health in
Postage stamp showing a Turnplatz commemorating Friedrich Jahn founder of the German Turnen Gymnastics movement

Founded by Prussian educator Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852) in the early 1800’s, German Turnen Gymnastics began as groups of boys from a Berlin grammar school undertaking outdoor physical education under Jahn’s supervision. These classes consisted of Gymnastics plus traditional games (running, swimming, wrestling, climbing, lifting, jumping, fencing) combined with progressive German political philosophy via patriotic …read more

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