History of Bodybuilding

Prem Singh

February, 2017
The Master Responds

Pehlwani originated in India in the Mughal Era. It was a blend of South Asian combat wrestling and Iranian wrestling. Many legendary pehlwans blossomed on Indian soil.

A hungry Prem Singh was once told by his mum that there’d be no meal as she’d run out of firewood. He uprooted a kikar tree to light the kitchen fire, and went on to be known as Kikar Singh from that day onwards. This 1857 born, 7 foot tall strongman, was revered as an incarnation of Bhairav - a ferocious form of Shiva.

The ‘Great’ Gama was born in a renowned wrestling family in 1878 in Amritsar. He could with ease do 3,000 pushups and 5,000 squats. He thrived on a daily diet of a pound and a half of crushed almonds in 10 litres of milk, along with fruit juice and 6 chickens. This high protein diet built his impressive muscle mass. In 1902, he awed everyone by lifting a 1200 kg stone. He challenged international pehlwans and defeated many. Martial art expert and actor Bruce Lee was greatly inspired by Gama’s strength building techniques.

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