Whether you are a full-pledged gym rat, or just an average gym goer, a dumbbell, perhaps, is a staple in your fitness routine. It is this special accessory that makes a workout happen. And while dumbbells are relatively smaller compared to other gym equipment and exercise machines, it is safe to say that dumbbells are definitely “tiny, but mighty.” Dumbbells, basically, get the work done – they tone down your body, build muscle, burn fat, and define muscles, depending on how they are utilized.
A brief history on dumbbells
The history of dumbbells go back to ancient Greece, wherein back then, a forerunner of the dumbbell, called halteres, was used in lifting weights. These halteres were also used in the ancient Greek version of the sport long jump. Another kind of dumbbell was also used in India for hundreds of years, which is shaped like a club and was named Indian club. These clubs were properly referred to as meels and were first used by wrestlers in Ancient Persia, Egypt, and other parts of the Middle East. This practice has continued up to this day, most notably in Iran. From Persia, these meels were brought to South Asia where they were also used by wrestlers. It was until British colonist first came across Persia and erroneously referred to these meels as Indian Clubs.
The design of these Indian clubs were seen as a halfway point between a barbell and a dumbbell. Generally, these were used in pairs, during workouts most commonly by wrestlers, bodybuilders, athletes, and other people who wish to increase both their strength and muscle gain.
The dumbbell: Etymology
The roots of the term dumbbell goes all the way back in Stuart England in the 1700s. Back then, the poet Joseph Addison mentioned training with a “dumbbell” in The Spectator, a publication in England. However, the form of the first dumbbells remains unclear.
Moreover, the term dumbbell was believed to be developed in 17th century England wherein it was inspired by the clappers, or the weighted, swinging part of the bell, often found in large church bells. These clappers were essentially very heavy, and the bell-ringers would then often train using only weighted yet soundless clappers to build their strength for when they are to ring the church bell. Hence, the term “dumbbell” was born. On a later date, strongmen and other athletes began adding weight to both ends of these clappers for the purpose of strength training and conditioning, while keeping the term dumbbell. And even after centuries has past and many other styles and materials of these dumbbells changed, the name inspired by these clappers has persisted.
Dumbbells: Still a staple in the fitness industry
And fast forward to where we are now, definitely, these dumbbells, which originated as meels and silent clappers, still make an invaluable impact may it be in the field of strength training and bodybuilding. Surely, regardless of any individual’s fitness goals, dumbbells are forever going to play and keep a key role in the field of fitness.