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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, Calif., 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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2338 news items

Santa Monica Mirror

Santa Monica Mirror
Fri, 22 May 2015 09:27:27 -0700

Sandwiched between a cement walkway and Muscle Beach's eclectic collection of workout structures is a patch of newly laid grass that has at least one man scratching his head asking why it's there following the City urging residents to get rid of lawns ...

Just Jared

Just Jared
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 15:41:15 -0700

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 ...

LA Magazine

LA Magazine
Tue, 12 May 2015 08:11:15 -0700

Finally a clue. I drove from my home in Northeast L.A. to Muscle Beach. I combed the crowd of bodybuilders pumping iron inside a chain-link compound just steps from the sand. None looked familiar. At the L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks shack ...

Truthdig

Truthdig
Fri, 22 May 2015 09:33:52 -0700

The freedom and pleasure he found on the West Coast infuse the early chapters of “On the Move” with a delicious freshness: We hear of boisterous weightlifting contests at Muscle Beach in Venice, where he was nicknamed “Dr. Squat” after lifting an ...

OregonLive.com

OregonLive.com
Thu, 21 May 2015 12:25:15 -0700

Think of him as a skinny guy on Salem's muscle beach. Yet his "Free the Pill" proposal is elbowing its way toward passage. It survived a setback in committee and a diversion to a work group to re-emerge this week through a legislative maneuver known as ...
 
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Tue, 12 May 2015 08:39:45 -0700

DAKAR, Senegal — No headphones needed. The sound of waves serves as a playlist for hundreds of fit, sport loving Senegalese who swarm to the beach daily in Dakar. It isn't Muscle Beach in Venice, California. It's Fann Beach in Senegal's capital.
 
Santa Monica Daily Press
Mon, 18 May 2015 12:30:00 -0700

City Hall owns the land on which Hot Dog on a Stick operates. The shack opened near Muscle Beach in 1946 and became the first Hot Dog on Stick when it changed ownership in 1948. It is the most successful location of the nationwide chain, Meister said.

The National

The National
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 07:56:15 -0800

DUBAI // Body beautiful fitness fans can now work up a sweat at a fully-equipped outdoor gym that aims to rival Los Angeles' famous Muscle Beach. The gym, at The Beach at Jumeirah Beach Residence, is one of several wellness initiatives in Dubai that ...
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