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Muscle Beach, Venice


Muscle Beach refers to either Muscle Beach Venice, an area in Venicemarker, Californiamarker, United Statesmarker, on Ocean Front Walk two blocks north of Venice Boulevard or to Original Muscle Beach, the actual and original location of "Muscle Beach", located on the beach two miles north of Venice, just south of Santa Monica Piermarker.

Original Muscle Beach

Original Muscle Beach sign
From the 1930s till the present the original Muscle Beach is located in Santa Monicamarker immediately south of the Santa Monica Piermarker. Popular gymnastic and acrobatic exhibitions were routinely held there on city-provided equipment. However, in the late fifties, the crowds of spectators reportedly got too big for the City to deal with, and it wanted to turn the space into parking lots. It was also rumored that the owners of the Ocean Park Pier were upset that the free shows were drawing their paying customers away from the Pier, and the owners of the Surf Rider Hotel found the entire scene offensive. Outcry over an alleged rape (bodybuilders were caught partying with underage girls) near the site led the city to shut it down in 1959, and re-open in 1960 without the tumbling platform.

The site of Muscle Beach Venice has inherited the modern fame and attention that was initially generated by the original Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, as the tumbling platform from this earlier facility had been removed by the City of Santa Monica due to difficulties in the day-to-day maintenance and supervision of the original Muscle Beach site in 1959. Yet the original regulars of Muscle Beach in Santa Monica continued to congregate at the world-famous setting with an emphasis on gymnastics events, acrobatics and adagio training and performances.

In 1989, the City of Santa Monicamarker officially rededicated the original Muscle Beach and today it serves gymnasts, acrobats and youth with an extensive gymnastics training area. Meanwhile, the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department has continued the primary barbell, weightlifting and bodybuilding aspects and events of the original Muscle Beach fame at the Venice weight pen. In 1987, the City of Los Angeles officially dedicated "Muscle Beach Venice" with the added word of 'Venice' in the title to distinguish it from the original "Muscle Beach" in Santa Monica.

Muscle Beach Venice

After the closing of the original Muscle Beach, the bodybuilding attention shifted south to the somewhat lesser-known Venice Beach Weight Pen, operated by the Los Angelesmarker Recreation and Parks Department. A small, spartan weight pen was built near Windward in 1952, later replaced by the large current facility during a complete renovation and Muscle Beach Venice redevelopment effort in 1990, which sports a huge concrete barbell on the roof and bleachers for spectators.

Today it is an open playground with a gated area that encloses weight lifting equipment, the second area is a sand box with gymnastic, rope climbing, and acrobatic bars.

By extension, it refers also to a high concentration of weightlifting and fitness businesses in the area.

Dave Draper, Eddie Deezen, Larry Scott, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny Trejo and Crips Co-founder Stanley Tookie Williams used to be regulars, among many famous bodybuilders and actors who have trained there.

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