To paraphrase a legendary RocknRolla quote, “there is no school like the old school, and I’m… a fan”.

Professor Edmund Desbonnet was – together with Russian Dr. Vladislav Von Krajewski and Louis Attila (teacher of Eugene Sandow and many other famous strongmen) – one of the true forefathers of the Iron Game. Wikipedia says that:

Edmond Desbonnet (1867–1953) was a French academic and photographer who championed physical culture. He made physical education fashionable in belle époque France through the publication of fitness journals and by opening a chain of exercise clubs.

Check out a cool drawing from Bill Pearl’s Getting Stronger: Weight Training for Sports, accompanied by following description:

Professor Edmund Desbonnet’s school of physical culture in Lille, France, 1885. Note the variety of exercising equipment. On the walls are posters of famous athletes.

Variety of equipment and exercises indeed, such as:

1. Pulley system exercise
2. Running around the gym
3. Stretching the pecs on a special rack
4. Wrestling
5. Heavy dumbbell swing setup
6. Pushups on inclined parallel bars
7. Light dumbbell exercise
8. Boxing
9. Light barbell group exercises
10. Heavy dumbbell swing setup
11. Heavy barbell military press
12. Bodyweight calisthenics/Super-Joints

School of physical culture indeed. 

 

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