Retro simulators

Gym on the Titanic

Passengers of the first class of the famous Titanic liner, who set off on his first and only voyage in April 1912, had access to the gym equipped with the most modern devices of his time for physical training.

"Gymnasium" provided for their services rowing machines, stationary bicycles, as well as vehicles for simulating riding a horse and a camel. Access to the gym for women and men was separate - from 9:00 am to noon and from 14:00 to 18:00, respectively.


The first sports simulator is the device called Gymnasticon, invented by the French orthopedist Nicolas Andry( Nicolas Andry) in 1741( 1)."Grandfather" of modern exercise bikes allowed using hand and foot to drive flywheels in motion.

The next stage of development is 1876, when the Swedish scientist Gustav Zander( Gustav Zander) presented a system of physical training with the help of machines( 2).A few years later, his simulators were sold in 140 countries, but they were quite expensive.

The first sports simulators

At the beginning of the XX century, the very idea of ​​practicing on special machines to maintain physical fitness looked more than strange for the average person. The problem of combating obesity, just like creating a "relief press", worried very few.

Hand-made from expensive materials simulators were used rather in the first classes of Atlantic liners, as well as in expensive SPA-resorts, available exclusively to the upper classes. There was no talk of mass domestic use.

Rebirth of fitness

The first manufacturer of modern power trainers is the American Arthur Jones( Arthur Jones), the founder of Nautilus. In the early 1970s, he introduced the Blue Monster, which allowed him to perform basic bodybuilding exercises on her( 3).

Nautilus simulators helped power exercises become a part of the popular fitness and aerobics culture that began to form exactly at that time - Jane Fonda released her first video course, and Arnold Schwarzenegger moved to the US from Austria.

Strengths of strength simulators

In his interviews, Arthur Jones mentions that he learned about the machines of Gustav Zander only many years after he invented his simulators. According to Jones, in designing simulators, he set the main task of simplifying and optimizing strength training.

The system of blocks presented by Nautilus really allowed to keep the muscle in tension throughout the entire amplitude of movement, which was revolutionary. In addition, the company invented a simulator for pullover exercises, extending the chest.

Home simulators

Joe Vader is a person who adapted simulators for home use. Founded by him company Weider widely advertised such machines through their own magazines about fitness and bodybuilding - Muscle &Fitness, Flex, Men's Fitness and Shape.

Publications were exclusively promotional, acting as a platform for promoting the company's products. It was Vader who became the first US employer of Schwarzenegger, paying him $ 100 a week for writing articles about the benefits of sports nutrition Weider.

The big sports business

Many think that for the companies-manufacturers power trainers turned out to be an excellent means of doing business, because unlike dumbbells and bars, the simulator can be patented in order to then sell for any amount. However, this is not quite true.

The high cost of modern simulators is due to the fact that companies invest in the development of huge funds. The result is the emergence of training opportunities for those who are on rehabilitation therapy, or have problems with the functions of the limbs.


Sports simulators were invented in the XVIII century in Europe, but were widely used in the 1970s in the USA.Modern simulators are very far from similar machines both in functions and in their function.

Scientific sources:

  1. Nicolas Andry, Wikipedia Article, source
  2. Gustav Zander, Wikipedia Article, source
  3. The Titanic's 1st Class Gym, source
  4. The Rise of the Machines, The New York Times, source
  5. Joe Weider, Creator of Bodybuilding Empire, Dies at 93, source