Eugen Sandow is considered by many to be the father of modern day bodybuilding. But what do you actually know of this man? His history may surprise you or at least interest you a little bit if you are into that sport.
Eugen Sandow’s Beginnings
Eugen was born Friedrich Wilhelm Müller in what is now known as Kaliningrad, Russia to a German father and a Russian mother. To escape military service Eugen started to travel all around Europe and joined a circus in order to pay the bills. Eugen Sandow was his stage name at the time but eventually he adopted it as his real name.
Eventually Friedrich or Eugen joined a group of other strongmen in London and refined this sport to become what we know as Bodybuilding. In fact in 1901 in London the very first competition took place and this started the whole fitness craze we know today.
The Grecian Ideal
The whole premise of this sport was to sculpt your body into the Grecian ideal that you will find on many statues and sculptures all throughout Europe. By studying the proportions and measuring these statues a formula was devised as to what is the ideal shape for a man. This ideal is still somewhat used today although the proportions of today’s bodybuilders are by far larger than they were in the beginning of the 20th century.
Sandow’s Fundamental Teachings in print
Sandow did publish several books while he was pursuing his sport. The ideals and principles in these books can still find echoes in our modern day health magazines and websites. If you are interested in reading his books then you should read the following titles:
- Sandow’s System of Physical Training
- The construction and reconstruction of the human body
- Strength and how to obtain it
- Life is movement
- Strength and health
While many of the aspects of Sandow’s teaching still are being taught the advancement in sports training is rapidly discovering better techniques to improve muscle growth and performance. Bodybuilding as a sport comprises a multi-billion dollar industry and there are many stores and jobs that are created and maintained due to the work of this one man.
Today when someone wins the Mr. Olympia competition a bronze statue of Eugen Sandow is awarded as a recognition of his legacy and as valued prize to the contestants. Clearly the legacy of this one man lives on in many families today. People will alter their entire lifestyle in order to sculpt the perfect body.
Eventually death did overcome this man and he died of a stroke at the age of 58 in London, England on October 14th, 1925. The grave was left unmarked at the request of his wife, Blanche Brooks, for many years. That was later changed as an admirer bought a black headstone to mark the place where the founder of bodybuilding lay resting in peace. Then in 2008 the grave was bought by the great grandson of Sandow and a giant monument was left there to replace the headstone.