Build the Muscle Beach Hall of Fame sign now

In the 1940s and '50s, a small group of playful, courageous pioneers congregated in the Southern California area of Santa Monica and Venice Beach, where on the sand, and in basement and garage gyms, our modern culture of fitness emerged.

On the beach, thousands of spectators gaped as athletes practiced acrobatic stunts -- pyramids of bodies or flying tricks known as adagio, while others pushed and pulled weights, and squatted and lifted on the platform or in the deep California sand.

In garages a small collection of men improvised with wood and metal as they discovered how to work the muscles of the body. During their experimentation, pulleys and rigging were welded and strung together to become the first generation of modern exercise equipment, and today most households hold a fitness device inspired by these early efforts.

At the height of its popularity, the Muscle Beach gym was disbanded by the city council in a dispute with the athletes. As we now know, that didn't stop these legends from their efforts, as men like Joe Gold, Jack LaLanne and Steve Reeves went forward to create the modern health club, design gym equipment, promote healthy eating and in-home exercise programs, and use their physiques in movies and television programs to inspire tens of thousands of viewers.

The next generation of athletes was drawn by the unusual physical effort (and, of course, the glorious sun and sand) to what's now collectively known as "Muscle Beach," men such as Dave Draper, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno. These men, and their friends, in turn inspired hundreds of thousands, leading to what is today tens of millions of people worldwide who participate in regular fitness programs.

Today nearly everyone yearns for physical fitness and most understand the value of weight training, yet only fifty years ago training for fitness was universally scorned.

It's time to acknowledge the foresight and courage of the men and women of the early fitness movement with a permanent Muscle Beach Hall of Fame, a facility to house replicas and memorabilia that will attract visitors from throughout the world.

We encourage and support this effort.

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