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The University of Southampton
International Summer School

A Brief History of the Gym: from Ancient Greece to the Modern Day

Today the fitness industry is a multibillion dollar global enterprise.

International Summer School
International Summer School

Yet despite the multitude of gym memberships, equipment, clothing and supplements available, both the basic principles of training and the underlying motivations have remained the same for thousands of years. What is the story behind the modern fitness revolution? This short course will trace the story of fitness to its Ancient Greek origins, looking at competition, gyms and Greek conceptions of the aesthetic and beautiful. Discover too how the revival of interest in Greek physical culture in the nineteenth century paved the way for the today’s fitness culture and the rise of bodybuilding. This course could involve a trip to the British Museum to look at famous Greco-Roman physique sculptures, such as the famous discus thrower, ‘Discobulus’.

The academic organising this topic is Dr Alastair Paynter.

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