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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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1393 news items

Sat, 19 Jul 2014 08:06:45 -0700

071914_alex_pettyfer_launch Alex Pettyfer pissed off a group of jacked up dudes working out at Muscle Beach in Venice ... and we got video of their heated exchange. Pettyfer was passing the famous weight lifting hangout when he asked the guys working ...

Yahoo Sports

Yahoo Sports
Thu, 03 Jul 2014 19:45:03 -0700

RIO DE JANEIRO – James Thomas came to Brazil on a budget. He's staying with friends he met through a study abroad program in Denmark, and he's sleeping on the floor in one rented apartment. But he's from Santa Monica and, like so many Southern ...
Showbiz Spy
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 19:16:00 -0700

“Magic Mike” star Alex Pettyfer royally pissed off the wrong guys — some muscle-bound dudes at world famous Muscle Beach in Venice, CA. Watch this … it's a safe bet AP will never again ask another dude with 8-pack abs and 38DD pecs about his… WWW.
Westword (blog)
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:18:33 -0700

It would be easy to drift off into a dream world listening to Hollow Talk at low volume, but that's not really an issue. The Denver-based shoegaze/psych band features members of Endpoint, Guilt and Good Riddance, bands known less for their subtlety and ...
Royal Gazette
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 04:17:22 -0700

After being named the winner in last month's Muscle Beach National Bikini Competition in California for the second year in a row, Ms Wright went on to win first place in her category at the Mr & Ms Muscle Beach Competition on July 4th. A trainer with ...
Santa Monica Daily Press
Sat, 26 Jul 2014 08:45:00 -0700

These hour-long tours feature fascinating stories about the apartments above the Merry Go-Round, hidden nooks and crannies of the Pier, the original Muscle Beach, celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin and even a certain fishing boat ...
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 03:56:21 -0700

She attempted to make all at Fairyhouse but lost her action and stumbled slightly though she wasn't beaten far behind Muscle Beach who has won subsequently. The lightly-raced Right First has some improvement in her and could prove best of the remainder ...
The Lookout News
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:52:30 -0700

July 25, 2014 -- Q: What do Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Muscle Beach and Popeye have in common? A: The Santa Monica Pier. Visitors to the historic wooden structure can get the stories behind the famous names during free docent-led historical ...

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