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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 the exclusive Santa Monica location of the birthplace of the physical fitness boom in the US during the 20th century, started in 1934 with predominantly gymnastics activities on the south side of the Santa Monica Pier.[1] Muscle Beach Venice is the contemporary title of the outdoor weightlifting platform constructed in Venice, California, 18 years after Muscle Beach was established. Muscle Beach Venice was officially titled in 1987 by the City of Los Angeles with the distinguishing name 'Venice' added to the location to honor the original Santa Monica site.[2] The contemporary Muscle Beach Venice is located two blocks north of Venice Boulevard on Ocean Front Walk in Venice, California. Santa Monica's "Muscle Beach" landmark derives its name from the growing local and national reputation of gymnastics and strength athletes who congregated at what was first known simply as the "Santa Monica Beach Playground", with the 'muscle' term gaining momentum by 1940. The 1940 opening of the first of an eventual nationwide chain of weightlifting gyms by famed pioneer gym chain operator, Vic Tanny, only two city blocks from Muscle Beach in Santa Monica is commonly considered a key contributor to the increasing attraction of bodybuilders and strength lifters to Muscle Beach from across the nation. By the 1950s Muscle Beach established worldwide fame and helped to popularize and bring legitimacy to physical culture with acrobatics and bodybuilding[3] and contribute to a nationwide health and fitness movement continuing into the 21st century.

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.[4][5] 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.[6] 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 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.[2]

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]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pool, Bob (2 October 1999). "Santa Monica Shows Off a Restored Muscle Beach". Los Angeles Times. 
  2. ^ a b Harvey, Steve (1 June 1987). "A Banished Beach Works Out in Venice". Los Angeles Times. 
  3. ^ Harvey, Steve (30 March 1986). "Mussel or Muscle : Whatever You Call It, It's a Beach That's Not Forgotten by Its Many Devotees". Los Angeles Times. 
  4. ^ Knapp, Dan (28 November 2005). "New Acquisition Pumps USC Up". USC News. 
  5. ^ Matzer, Marla (22 February 1998). "The Venus of Muscle Beach". Los Angeles Times. 
  6. ^ Chowder, Ken (1 November 1998). "Muscle Beach". Smithsonian. ISSN 0037-7333. 

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle_Beach — Please support Wikipedia.
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Muscle Beach

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Hi-Desert Star

Hi-Desert Star
Wed, 22 Jul 2015 20:11:15 -0700

VENICE BEACH— Three years ago a 2008 Yucca Valley High School graduate started his journey toward becoming the 2015 Mr. Muscle Beach Open Champion in men's physique. On Independence Day, 25-year-old Dywane Green was introduced as a ...

South Carolina SC (press release) (blog)

South Carolina SC (press release) (blog)
Sat, 18 Jul 2015 15:41:15 -0700

No wonder Denise Welch looks happy. As she walks past Los Angeles' Muscle Beach, something appeared to have caught her attention. And hysterical Denise was so taken by the hunk in that she stopped to take a picture. Splash News Seen something you ...

Knoxville News Sentinel

Knoxville News Sentinel
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 04:37:30 -0700

Brazilian athlete Daniel Souza shares a laugh with yoga instructor Denise Waling at Original Muscle Beach on July 22 in Santa Monica, Calif. Kent Nishimura. Copyright 2015 Journal Media Group. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, ...

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Sat, 25 Jul 2015 12:30:00 -0700

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Sat, 25 Jul 2015 04:00:04 -0700

It is the bespectacled nerd at the Muscle Beach of excuses! Apple is almost begging us to kick sand in its face. Jobs's Apple reported the sales of the first iPhone… And, thus, Apple should break out unit sales of all products in perpetuity. Uh, no ...

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Fri, 22 May 2015 09:27:27 -0700

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Wed, 22 Jul 2015 14:32:20 -0700

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Patrick Schwarzenegger wears a Reagen-Bush sweatshirt while out for lunch with his family at the Brentwood Country Mart on Saturday (April 25) in Santa Monica, Calif. Earlier in the day, the 21-year-old actor and model did a workout at Muscle Beach ...
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