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For the short documentary film, see Muscle Beach (film).
Muscle Beach
Muscle Beach sign.jpg
Location Los Angeles County, California
Coordinates 34°00′30″N 118°29′41″W / 34.0084425°N 118.494603°W / 34.0084425; -118.494603Coordinates: 34°00′30″N 118°29′41″W / 34.0084425°N 118.494603°W / 34.0084425; -118.494603
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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283 news items

Los Angeles Register
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 20:01:50 -0700

Richard Schade of Pasadena impresses the audience with his physique at the Muscle Beach Championship, a body building competition in Venice Beach on Labor Day. Shade took first place in the open men's middleweight category. ANA VENEGAS, STAFF ...
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 11:22:30 -0700

On Sunday, Nov. 30, Muscle Beach, the sexiest dance party on the sand, will feature an opening set by DJ Tristan Jaxx followed by DJ Micky Friedmann, direct from Berlin. Noche Blanca, a dance party extravaganza, produced in association with URGE Miami, ...
Los Angeles Register
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:26:15 -0700

Aesthetically, the Mustang exterior is a study in sophisticated aggression. The classic Mustang fastback is now lower, wider, more linear with understated curves that are more Mr. Olympia, less Muscle Beach. Its front is blunt nosed, its grille split ...
The West Milford Messenger
Fri, 19 Sep 2014 05:22:30 -0700

MORRISTOWN — An evening of musical memories featuring three original American idols — Frankie Avalon, Fabian and Bobby Rydell — in Dick Fox's The Golden Boys returns to Mayo Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $69 to ...
Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:20:17 -0700

The perfume bottles started as paintings on my bathroom wall, and then I turned them into a shirt. It's art that turns into fashion. Did you make any pieces just for the exhibit? PN: There are more Exsqueeze Me styles that match the muscle beach woman ...
Sporting Life Arkansas
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 06:30:00 -0700

Let's think back on the O-line stars of the past, those players who, through a combination of talent and backstory/personality, managed to capture our fancy: Steve Korte, the muscle-beach tackle; Freddie Childress, the first 300-pounder who'd be a ...

Grimsby Telegraph

Grimsby Telegraph
Tue, 09 Sep 2014 00:18:45 -0700

FORGET about Bondi beach and Muscle Beach, the super fit were strutting their stuff on the sands of Cleethorpes for a special event. The resort's first Beach Sports Festival took place at the weekend, organised by YMCA Humber and funded by Sport ...


Mon, 08 Sep 2014 17:18:53 -0700

“I might have envisioned a sculpture on Muscle Beach, or on Hollywood, the Walk of Fame, maybe my hand prints or foot prints or something like that, but not in my wildest dreams did I envision this,” he said. The portrait was done by Austrian painter ...

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