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Bodybuilding uses progressive resistance exercise to develop and control one’s musculature. The culture of muscle building has attracted people for many years, long before it became the competitive bodybuilding sport that we know it as today. 


Bodybuilding became popular in the 1890s, however, the general athletic activity of weight training was practiced in ancient Egyptian and Gree societies. To gain strength and measure power, people in those societies would use various sized stones as weights to aid in their body’s transformation. Of course, it was a Greek ideal that the human body be celebrated though it’s muscular development.


In the 16th century, in India, gyms were commonplace as people desired the ability to develop their bodies, overcome challenges of daily life, and enhance their health and stamina. In fact, during that time in India, weight training was thought of as the national pastime.


By the end of the 19th-century weight training had taken on a whole new meaning for many people. The practice of stone lifting by Egyptians and Greeks founded a new system of training with new goals. Weightlifting for the purpose of entertainment began emerging throughout Europe and the new physical culture arrived.


Professional strongmen thrilled audiences with their feats of strength. Many view weightlifting as a natural evolution coming from the primitive practice of stone-lifting. Strongmen would issue challenges to fellow participants, seeing who could outlift who and traveling from town to town to perform for crowds.


The public loved to watch the strongmen compete, however, the physiques were not on display as much at the time, as were the displays of physical prowess. A few of the competitive practices including things such as lifting animals and pulling carts.


Eugene Sandow, born in 1867 became the very first famous bodybuilder and eventually, the father of modern bodybuilding. His muscle quality and strength were unprecedented and viewed as a phenomenon. Even in today’s climate, Sandows is viewed as one of the greatest in bodybuilding.


The first bodybuilding show was staged in 1891. It was created and promoted by Eugene Sandow who popularized the sport through strength exhibitions. The contest was advertised in advance for three years and further spread the idea of physical display and pride in one’s physique.  In fact, the Sandow trophy is awarded each year to the winner of the biggest bodybuilding contest, the Mr. Olympia.