Monday, October 5, 2020

Houdini is your new fitness coach

By his own account, Houdini committed to a life of physical fitness at age 7. In his youth he was a champion runner, boxer, and swimmer. He neither drank nor smoked. And while his favorite expression was "my brain is the key that sets me free," he also attributed his success as an escape artist to his great "physical strength and dexterity." 

Now here are two terrific articles from the June 29 and July 6, 1924 Tampa Sunday Tribune it which Houdini plays fitness coach and explains several exercise techniques to strengthen abdominal muscles, shoulders, and hands. I especially like how he instructs readers to "imagine that you are trying to free yourself from a straitjacket." I also love that the photos of the fetching 1920s fitness model "were posed under the personal supervision of Houdini." He's even able to work in a dig at spiritualism. Anyway, enjoy these gems.

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"There is no limit to the things you can accomplish when your ambition is backed by strong, willing muscles."
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"Do you think you could untie a knot on your left shoulder-blade while your left hand was tied? The third exercise would help you in this situation, as it does me."
Below are a few more links related to Houdini the specimen.


  1. These are fantastic! I love his take on graceful movements. It is interesting how many of these strengthening exercises involve can’t help but speculate that HH might have enjoyed practicing yoga as part of his fitness routine.

    1. Good observation! Maybe I should have made the headline, "Houdini is your new yoga instructor." :)

  2. I could see myself trying these exercises. These are convenient in that they require no equipment, just yourself. They also look almost easy with the model, but if you think about how it would be to actually do these exercises, they'd be quite the challenge, even for the average moderately fit person.

    1. Also, I could see Houdini being a big health guru too if he were in the here and now. Might give the likes of Dr. Oz a run for their money.