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For the short documentary film, see Muscle Beach (film).
Muscle Beach
Muscle Beach sign.jpg
Location Los Angeles County, California
Founded 1934
Governing body California Department of Parks and Recreation

Muscle Beach refers to either the Original Muscle Beach on the south side of the Santa Monica Pier, or Muscle Beach Venice, located two blocks north of Venice Boulevard on Ocean Front Walk in Venice, California. Muscle Beach derives its name from the strength required to practice acrobatics and bodybuilding.[1]

Original Muscle Beach[edit]

A man performs a handstand on a high bar at the original Muscle Beach, 1955.

Muscle Beach dates back to the 1930s when the Works Progress Administration (WPA) installed exercise equipment immediately south of the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California.[2][3] Popular gymnastic and acrobatic exhibitions were routinely held there on city-provided equipment. A platform on the beach with weight lifting equipment provided a workout area for such famous bodybuilders as Vic Tanny, Jack LaLanne, and Joe Gold.[4] Muscle House was a "crashpad" just off the beach where many bodybuilders would live for cheap rent and convenient access to the beach. It was a common waypoint for bodybuilders such as Chet Yorton, Steve Reeves, Vince Edwards, Jack Delinger, George Eiferman, and Dave Draper.

The site of Muscle Beach Venice has inherited the modern fame and attention that was initially generated by the original Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, as the tumbling platform from this earlier facility had been removed by the City of Santa Monica due to difficulties in the day-to-day maintenance and supervision of the original Muscle Beach site in 1959. Yet the original regulars of Muscle Beach in Santa Monica continued to congregate at the world-famous setting with an emphasis on gymnastics events, acrobatics and adagio training and performances.

In 1989, the City of Santa Monica officially rededicated the original Muscle Beach and today it serves gymnasts, acrobats and youth with an extensive gymnastics training area. Meanwhile, the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department has continued the primary barbell, weightlifting and bodybuilding aspects and events of the original Muscle Beach fame at the Venice weight pen. In 1987, the City of Los Angeles officially dedicated "Muscle Beach Venice" with the added word of 'Venice' in the title to distinguish it from the original "Muscle Beach" in Santa Monica.

Muscle Beach Venice[edit]

Muscle Beach, Venice

After the closing of the original Muscle Beach, bodybuilding attention shifted south to the somewhat lesser-known Venice Beach Weight Pen, operated by the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department. A small spartan weight pen was built near Windward Avenue in 1952, later replaced by the large current facility (33°59′08″N 118°28′21″W / 33.9854557°N 118.4725901°W / 33.9854557; -118.4725901) during a complete renovation and Muscle Beach Venice redevelopment effort in 1990, which sports a huge concrete barbell on the roof and bleachers for spectators.

Today it is an open playground with a gated area that encloses weight lifting equipment, the second area is a sand box with gymnastic, rope climbing, and acrobatic bars.

Muscle Beach, August 2012

By extension, Muscle Beach Venice refers also to a high concentration of weightlifting and fitness businesses in the area. Dave Draper, Larry Scott, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny Trejo, and Crips co-founder Stanley Tookie Williams used to be regulars, among many famous bodybuilders and actors who have trained there. Chet Yorton trained at Muscle Beach Venice in the early to mid-1960s to prepare for his victory over Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1966 NABBA Mr. Universe contest.

An episode of the television series Baywatch featured Hulk Hogan training on Muscle Beach Venice.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harvey, Steve (30 March 1986). "Mussel or Muscle: Whatever You Call It, It's a Beach That's Not Forgotten by It's Many Devotees". Los Angeles Times. 
  2. ^ Knapp, Dan (28 November 2005). "New Acquisition Pumps USC Up". USC News. 
  3. ^ Matzer, Marla (22 February 1998). "The Venus of Muscle Beach". Los Angeles Times. 
  4. ^ Chowder, Ken (November 1998). "Muscle Beach". Smithsonian (magazine). 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle_Beach — Please support Wikipedia.
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138 news items

Charlotte Observer
Sat, 25 Oct 2014 21:02:09 -0700

A. I've never lifted weights at Muscle Beach. I've lifted and trained at a place called the Yard in Hermosa Beach. It's almost on the water. It's more of a modern, real training facility. A lot of the L.A. King players (train) there. ... But I've been ...


Thu, 02 Oct 2014 12:17:32 -0700

Muscle Beach appropriately hosted the Wednesday night premiere of “Kingdom,” a brutal and beefed up new MMA-centered drama from DirecTV's Audience Network. Creator/EP Byron Balasco talked about how his MMA fandom, even before the sport ...

Military Times (blog)

Military Times (blog)
Mon, 27 Oct 2014 12:51:37 -0700

Which way to muscle beach? It's not through the chow hall. If you're wondering how Chief Warrant Officer 2 Truman Ward built his body, he says it's the result of eating right and a pretty basic — yet grueling — workout routine.


Mon, 27 Oct 2014 07:52:56 -0700

Auction Artwork donated by Marcelo Pico, Dale Stine, Muscle Beach Tickets, Body Details treatements & much more to bid on, or simply donate whatever you can! Open Tequila & Wine Bar, light fare and great friends. WILL YOU CONSIDER DONATING ...
Sun, 26 Oct 2014 17:11:15 -0700

The storage facility is a few blocks from the neighborhood's crowded oceanfront promenade lined with vendors, performers and artists, and well-viewed Southern California hangouts such as Muscle Beach. Five of the eight firefighters injured with minor ...

WABE 90.1 FM

WABE 90.1 FM
Sun, 12 Oct 2014 05:13:50 -0700

But an outdoor fitness club, a kind of Muscle Beach Freetown, is open. Under the palm trees there are thick rusted barbells and a wooden bench press sitting in the sand. Four pairs of breathless young women are running through self-defense drills. It ...

The Boxing Tribune

The Boxing Tribune
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 02:12:45 -0700

A 1988 training camp did both men plenty of good, and a field trip for inspiration to Muscle Beach had the intended effect. When the time came to actually fight, it was a brawl. Both men, filled with the racial animus of a bygone age, fought with ...

Culver City Observer

Culver City Observer
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 20:19:28 -0700

A certified and highly experienced fitness professional, her "first 'sparks' into fitness were Jack LaLanne, 'the eternal master of health and fitness,' and Muscle Beach, Santa Monica." Doing exercises as a child with her mother while watching LaLanne ...

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