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Bob Hoffman Biography


Bob Hoffman The Father of American Weightlifting

The story of Bob Hoffman is a story that tells us a lot about how bodybuilding started. Bob was born as Robert Collins Hoffman in November 9, 1898 at Tifton, Georgia, USA. He started off as a weightlifter and always believed that building muscles was a waste of time and energy.

Bob said that just building muscles on your body is a waste of time if you cannot use those muscles for a specific reason, which is why he was a committed weightlifter. It took Bob awhile to realize that the growing sport of bodybuilding was something that would only get bigger and bigger.

In the days when the public first started to see muscular bodies like Eugen Sandow it took Bob a few years to realize that for every man that ever wanted to be as strong as Sandow there were a thousand men out there who wanted to simply look like him.

Bob did a lot for the sport of weightlifting and was responsible for the American weightlifting team taking on the Soviet Union, in the 1940s and '50s. The result was that weightlifting and bodybuilding started going on a different course.

Bob strongly believed that the only way to get stronger was to practice lifting heavier weights while Joe and Ben Weider said openly in their promotions in their magazines at the time to "train for shape, and strength will follow".

But Bob quickly saw where the mass appeal was going and started a very successful magazine called Muscular Development in 1964. This was to cater for bodybuilders and was filled with muscle development articles and obviously supplements which was turning into a big money spinner.

Although Bob obviously did not agree or like bodybuilding, as much as weightlifting, he quickly realized the return he could get from promoting bodybuilders and bodybuilding supplements. With the bodybuilder John Grimek appointed as the editor who was both a weightlifter and a bodybuilder the course was set.

Bob became a successful American entrepreneur, which started with the purchase of the York Barbell Club in York, Pennsylvania in 1932. He purchased the club from the bankrupted Milo Barbell Company, which happened three years after he started the club.

He was not only the founder of the Muscular Development magazine but also a successful bodybuilding magazine called Strength and Health, which promoted a lot of bodybuilding supplements. Bob Hoffman also was involved with the promotion of bodybuilders like John Grimek and Sigmund Klein.

Bob was a busy man as he was also the head of the American weightlifting team and made a permanent mark with his influence in weightlifting and bodybuilding. He died at the age of 86 on July 18, 1985 in his gym where he spent most of his life in York, Pennsylvania, United States.


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