Two years ago, I went for the first time to the famous Santa Monica Pier. It was a nice hot sunny day so my family and I decided to walk along the beach for a bit. As we walked south of the pier, we found what looked to be a child’s playground on steroids. From the sign shown in the picture above, it is now obvious that we have stumbled upon Santa Monica’s Muscle Beach.
Yesterday on February 11th, I went to visit the pier again. This time however I made the conscious decision to sit and enjoy the awkward view of semi naked rippled women and men of all sorts and kinds climb up and down on ropes and rings and such.
This landmark really began when America’s interest in physical fitness was on the rise. In 1934, gymnast activities began to take place in the area known at the time as Santa Monica Beach Playground where the Works Progress Administration had placed several outdoor exercise equipment. Six years later in 1940, Santa Monica Beach Playground became Muscle Beach. This name change was said to be influenced by the first opening of a chain of weightlifting gyms by Vic Tanny. This gym was only located two blocks from the beach and was also home to many famous bodybuilders and strength lifters. Because this beach had a platform for weight lifting equipment (which was the only need of the bodybuilders), many of them would just crash at the Muscle House nearby. No need to travel any further away. Unfortunately in 1959 the platform was removed due to maintenance issues, but the acrobatic equipment remained. This is really what we see today.