Health and Fitness

The 'Ideal' Male Body Wasn't Always Huge and Ripped

Arnold Schwarzenegger has a lot to answer for.

Graphic artist Nickolay Lamm has amassed a stash of photos from as early as the 1870s to re-create how the perfect male body has evolved over the last 150 years, because men weren't always spornosexuals, you know?

In fact, in the late 1800s it was obesity that actually represented social statusthere were even popular "fat men's clubs" that celebrated weight and girth.

It wasn't even that long ago in the 1930s, 40s and 50s that Hollywood actors started to set the precedent for slimmer bodies and muscle tone.

But by the time the 1960s rolled round, rebellion kicked in and men started to grow out their hair and the gym wasn't exactly a top priority.

That was until the 1970s and 80s when being ripped became the aim of the game, as men like Arnold Schwarzenegger made body building popular.

In the 1990s, however, this hyper masculine vision of the male body began to wane and an "everyman's body" took overas lean but not overly muscular became the ideal.


Something which has not changed to this day according to Lamm. Watch the full evolution below.

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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