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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 of 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]


  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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The National

The National
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 12:03:45 -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 ...

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 12:45:36 -0800

He's known for his outlandish tastes, especially when it comes to his comedy style and his fashion. But Leigh Francis - who is best known as his on-screen alter-ego Keith Lemon - stripped back for day at the beach this week, trading his outrageous ...
Boing Boing
Wed, 11 Feb 2015 10:00:00 -0800

With the background of oiled bodies, bulging muscles, and wide mouthed smiles, there is Mr. O, at the ripe age of 66, who works as hard, as long, and as disciplined as any other bodybuilder at Muscle Beach in Venice, California. He commutes two hours ...
Inside Pulse
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 05:18:45 -0800

Muscle Beach Party flexed its way onto the screen. Frankie, Annette and the gang return to the beach only to discover new neighbors in the cottage next door. Instead of a college professor, they must deal with Jack Fanny (Casino's Don Rickles) and his ...

DVD Talk

DVD Talk
Sun, 22 Feb 2015 06:42:30 -0800

Muscle Beach Party is about average, with various strengths and weaknesses. AIP hadn't quite solidified the format yet, though they were well on their way. The first one, Beach Party, spent way too much time following grown-up stars Bob Cummings and ...
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 08:18:45 -0800

Through the Muscle Beach community, she got to know veteran stuntmen like Robert Chapin, who was a swordsman on the movie "Hook"; Bob Yerkes, who plunged into the Sarlacc pit as Boba Fett in "Return of the Jedi"; and Paul Anthony Scott, who is ...

Irish Mirror

Irish Mirror
Thu, 19 Feb 2015 23:01:31 -0800

UFC fighter Conor McGregor looks fighting fit as he works out on a beach in California. The 26-year-old was in peak shape as he did some impressive stretches on the aptly-named Muscle Beach in Venice, Los Angeles. Wearing just a skimpy pair of black ...
Inside Pulse
Wed, 25 Feb 2015 05:07:30 -0800

Beach Blanket Bingo is not a clone of Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach or How to Stuff A Wild Bikini. None of those movies featured sky diving or mermaid. All five films did contain plenty of good clean fun with single kids being pals at ...

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