From the art of gymnastics (1569) to bodybuilding and the first organized competition (1904). The emergence of bodybuilding?

By Jacques Gleyse

The history of bodybuilding could be limited to the history of a physical practice that starts from the moment in time when the term was first formulated. The practice itself, however, cannot be limited to this conception. Indeed, it is likely that since Ancient Greek and Roman times, physical practices involving the use of additional weights, and geared towards physical form, have been implemented by actors or even proposed and analyzed by theorists. It seems, however, that it was at the end of the Renaissance or the Classical Age, with the birth of modernity, that this practice became both theorized and systematized on a methodological level. However, it became a competitive practice only at the beginning of the contemporary period by increasingly taking the name of bodybuilding, replacing the French word “culturisme.”


  • physical practice
  • culturisme
  • bodybuilding
  • history
  • modernity
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