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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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128 news items


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 ...


Sun, 12 Oct 2014 04:46:03 -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 ...

Culver City Observer

Culver City Observer
Tue, 14 Oct 2014 04:37:30 -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 ...

Dime Magazine

Dime Magazine
Fri, 17 Oct 2014 10:17:21 -0700

... 23 shots in 27:59 of game time, and Boozer was his next-closest teammate with 15 attempts, Bryant also led the team with four dimes; one of those assists was the pseudo no-look to Boozer before the Chicago transplant's unfortunate muscle beach moment.
Huffington Post
Mon, 13 Oct 2014 03:41:15 -0700

If you call Los Angeles home, you understand the plight of wanting to ogle delectable artworks while remaining in the sunshine at all times. Good thing there is street art, yielding all the visual thrills of a creative masterpiece and all that good ...
FOX 11 Los Angeles
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 13:18:39 -0700

Guyer has been known to spend a lot of time at Muscle Beach in Santa Monica and Muscle Beach in Venice. He is apparently well-known along the boardwalk in both cities. More recently, there is information that Guyer may be in the South Bay area, from ...

Port Huron Times Herald

Port Huron Times Herald
Fri, 10 Oct 2014 21:18:45 -0700

"Beach Party," and "Muscle Beach Party," both starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon." 25 years ago. • Building factories along a 45-acre parcel bordered by Dove Street would destroy the character of a closely knit South Park neighborhood ...


Wed, 24 Sep 2014 15:03:54 -0700

Venice Beach, which is about 12 miles from the heart of Los Angeles' Sunset Strip, is also home to the world-famous Muscle Beach, where bodybuilders come from all over the world to flex their muscles for beach-goers and tourists. Justin got into the ...

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