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The world’s first Gym Machines: When Stockholm’s Doctor designed Machines for Exercise and Therapy, 1892

The use of machines for the application of exercise and therapeutics is not new. However, the proper and systematized used was first employed by Dr. Gustave Zander in 1857. It was when the world was rapidly industrializing, and the people were moving to sedentary life. Dr. Zander incorporated machinery for therapeutic, and the people were suffering from injuries, deformities, and those who want to improve their health or lose weight. He designed nearly one hundred exercise machines, and his machine helped the patients and other people.

Zander’s machines used weights and levers to target specific muscles. The lever worked as an extension of the muscle group being exercised. Sliding the weight towards the end of the lever increased resistance, thus increasing muscle workload. Moving it closer created less resistance.

These machines were similar to the machines we use today in gym clubs, hospital therapy departments and other wellness centers. Dr. Zander established his wellness institute in Stockholm in 1865. He also exhibited his machines in Brussels and Philadelphia and wrote the book ‘Zander’s medico-mechanische Gymnastik’ in 1892. He also came to New York City to establish an institute near Central Park. Dr. Zander died in Stockholm in 1920. However, his revolutionary ideas are still receiving the attention and respect they deserve.

#1 Has the day at school left you a little tired and stiff? With a little torso-stretching, you’ll soon feel revitalized.

Has the day at school left you a little tired and stiff? With a little torso-stretching, you’ll soon feel revitalized.

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#2 Your sides will get a thorough stretching in this diagonal-suspension apparatus.

Your sides will get a thorough stretching in this diagonal-suspension apparatus.

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#3 A bicep training machine.

A bicep training machine.

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#4 Are you nervous, or do you struggle with constipation? You’ll find that this vibrating massage machine will work wonders

Are you nervous, or do you struggle with constipation? You’ll find that this vibrating massage machine will work wonders

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#5 Step into the trunk-measuring apparatus and map the contours of your torso and the bends of your spine.

Step into the trunk-measuring apparatus and map the contours of your torso and the bends of your spine.

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#6 In this elegant chest-expanding machine, you can raise your pulse by increasing the flow of blood to the lungs.

In this elegant chest-expanding machine, you can raise your pulse by increasing the flow of blood to the lungs.

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#7 It may look like a velvet-topped dining room table, but you can realign imbalances in your muscles, skeleton and joints with this side-pressing apparatus.

It may look like a velvet-topped dining room table, but you can realign imbalances in your muscles, skeleton and joints with this side-pressing apparatus.

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#8 Is this something from Count Dracula’s torture chamber? No, it’s just a device for realigning your ribcage.

Is this something from Count Dracula’s torture chamber? No, it’s just a device for realigning your ribcage.

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#9 Come and get your stomach kneaded

Come and get your stomach kneaded

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#10 This boy isn’t sitting on a bar stool – it is a torso-twisting machine that is strengthening his stomach.

This boy isn’t sitting on a bar stool – it is a torso-twisting machine that is strengthening his stomach.

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#11 A pelvis-twisting machine.

A pelvis-twisting machine.

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#12 This boy in high-laced boots is benefiting from some arm-stretching while working on the balance of his torso.

This boy in high-laced boots is benefiting from some arm-stretching while working on the balance of his torso.

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#13 A velocipede-stepping apparatus.

A velocipede-stepping apparatus.

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#14 This arm-bending apparatus is good for the arms, shoulders, and back.

This arm-bending apparatus is good for the arms, shoulders, and back.

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#15 For those who are unable – or who don’t dare – to get up on horseback, this apparatus vibrates the rider’s body.

For those who are unable – or who don’t dare – to get up on horseback, this apparatus vibrates the rider’s body.

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#16 A machine to increase the strength and mobility of the arm and shoulder.

A machine to increase the strength and mobility of the arm and shoulder.

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#17 A cross-sectional measuring device to track changes to the body.

A cross-sectional measuring device to track changes to the body.

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#18 A machine to give circular massage to the lower abdomen.”

A machine to give circular massage to the lower abdomen.”

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#19 A moving mechanized saddle to train the core muscles.

A moving mechanized saddle to train the core muscles.

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#20 Increase the circulation of blood to tired and cold feet with a foot massage.”

Increase the circulation of blood to tired and cold feet with a foot massage.”

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#21 A machine for massaging the back.

A machine for massaging the back.

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Written by Benjamin Grayson

Former Bouquet seller now making a go with blogging and graphic designing. I love creating & composing history articles and lists.

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