The evolution of the dumbbell in terms of its design and function has made the dumbell a vital part of the human experience for decades, yet its history remains shrouded in mystery.
In this new documentary series, Al Jazeera’s Sarah Shaw and I will explore how the dumbels of the twentieth century changed the way we interact with each other, from their origins to the rise of the modern-day gym.
We will hear from some of the leading figures in the industry, from inventors like Ernie Ball to the pioneers of the sport, like Bill Gomel.
We’ll explore the history of the design of the original dumbbell, from the evolution of its form in the mid-1800s to the creation of the “new dumbbell”, a new form of exercise that emerged in the 1960s.
We are also joined by two world-class athletes, who have been working on the development of new forms of exercise for decades.
The filmmakers also ask whether the dumb-bell has become too synonymous with strength training and endurance.
The answers are a mixed bag.
Our series, Dumbbell History, airs on Al Jazeera in two parts on Monday and Tuesday, with each episode highlighting the evolution and design of a dumbbell.