Checkley's Natural Method of Physical Training

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John e. Peterson
John e. Peterson wrote...
about Checkley's Natural Method of Physical Training

Throughout his life, Edwin Checkley embodied all the best elements that the physical culture movement sought to promote. In fact, when he passed away prematurely at age 75 (after suffering a fatal dose of gas poisoning), the physician attending him was so impressed with his physique that he declared that Checkley had the body of a much younger man. The photo of Checkley on the title page of this book was taken when the author was 45 years old. But those who knew him said that it could have been a representation of him at 75.

Of course, that was because Checkley had spent his life in perfecting a strategy for fitness training that relied on the body, and nothing else—no weights, machines, or other apparatus.

One informed observer stated: “To me, the most interesting points of Checkley’s physical equipment were his lungs and his back. I have seen him box, wrestle, run, jump for protracted periods. I have seen him lift and carry hundreds of pounds of live and dead weight, but never once have I seen him pant for breath. At his lectures, I have seen him demonstrate the capabilities of some muscle groups by performing feats of strength beyond the power of most professional strong men, and a second later resume his talk without the slightest catch in his breath.”

This classic book, entitled Checkley’s Natural Method of Physical Training, published in 1921 after Checkley’s death, will give you a good sense of what makes him—and other strongmen and physical culturalists of his era—excellent examples for us to follow today. They were not merely body builders. They were students of the art of strength and fitness, which is what physical culture is all about. They were devoted to effectively combining the physical, mental, and spiritual elements of their beings, so that they could be in every way the individuals that God had created them to be.

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michaeldon wrote...
Mar 25 2010
I doubt he could have made it to 75 if he died in 1921 as most places on the web show his birth as 1855.
G.D. Devine
G.D. Devine wrote...
"Edwin E. Checkley"
Jul 27 2008
I have read this book several times. It was first published in 1890 and republished several times before the 1922 edition My family and i have several copies of the ...
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... book.
I am very happy to see that the power of the internet
has finally allowed access to the complete volume.
I am also very proud to report that
Edwin Checkley is my Grandfather.
For the purpose of Genealogy I have been
doing research on him for over 10 years.
Much information has been gathered.
His methods were so sensible and were acclaimed all over the world.
His method of "costal" breathing is an issue that needs
further study even in todays world.
He was a close associate to Alan calvert and was
friends with the son of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Julian. Julian Hawthorne was a author also
and Julian wrote a piece on Checkley called "The Secret of Checkley" which was published by Alan Calvert. Serious advocates of my grandfather will be able to find additional information at the University of Texas at Austin. The source will be "The Todd-McLean Physical Culture Collection

Andy62 wrote...
"Great book"
Apr 13 2008
This is a great book by one of the most influencial pioneers of early American Physical Culture and natural, non apparatus strength and body building. His memory has not ...
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... received the credit that it deserves due to the fact that he has had no commercial interest promoting him. During his era Checkley's influence was so strong that he convinced Alan Calvert, the founding father of US Weightlifting, creator of the plate barbell, founder of the Milo Barbell Company in 1902 and "Strength" Magazine in 1910 to give up weight lifting and become an enthusiastic promoter of Checkley's natural method of training.

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