A dusty, leather-bound book written in 1861 by Gustav Ernst, describes in detail a portable gymnasium for any Victorian gentleman or lady looking to keep in trim.
The manual was recently unearthed in the archives of of London’s Wellcome Library and shows women in full skirts, crinolines and tightly laced bodices attempting activities such as leg extensions, downward traction, jumping exercises and chest expansions.
The men are equally resplendent in long coats, shirts and accompanying neckties, looking remarkably cool and dignified as they go through their routines.
Having said that, today’s gym bunnies would be familiar with many of the exercises and terminology used in the book even if there’s not a hint of Lycra in sight.
Source: Wellcome Library