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BAWLA Handbook Wartime Edition

BAWLA Handbook Wartime Edition refers to this reproduction of the 1942 edition of the handbook for the British Amateur Weight Lifters’ Association (i.e. BAWLA).

You may immediately think this is an odd thing to reproduce (especially for this site), but, being a bit of a history buff, there are a number of things I find fascinating about this booklet.

BAWLA Handbook Wartime Edition is from 1942, so the first thing that is quite interesting is that when it refers to the war it does so as 1939 to ? as they literally did not know when it was going to end! In spite of this inconvenience, however, remarkably little quarter is given with regards to any relaxation of the rules.

Reading about a bunch of rules and regulations for BAWLA may not sound like fun times, but I actually DID enjoy it, simply because I can imagine how horrendously ‘official’ these events must have been. Yet at the same time if you won or placed at a BAWLA event, then you could at least be damn sure you had been judged EXACTLY the right way as everyone else!

There are also more practical elements contained within BAWLA Handbook Wartime Edition, namely details and descriptions of the 42 recognised lifts, and a course of weight training and weightlifting contained in the back of the booklet.

When compared with ‘modern’ training principles, how do you think these compare:

Weight-Training and Weight-Lifting aim at:

  1. Improving the health and fitness of the individual; the use of graded resistances, working on the levers of the body, improving the functional working of the whole being (heart, lungs, respiration, circulation, etc.).
  2. Training the Neuro—Muscular system by exercises so arranged as to throw increasingly difficult work on the Neuro—Muscular system.
  3. Building an evenly developed body.
  4. Maintaining normal posture.
  5. Maintaining natural flexibility and suppleness.
  6. Building up a strong body, believing that this is the heritage of every “manly” man.
  7. Developing speed of muscular movement.

I think that’s a pretty good list of things to work on!

Finally, if you’re into numbers, the booklet contains a large chart detailing merit poundages. As it suffers from being reduced in size I’ve added it as a separate pdf download, and when you come to the section in the booklet you’ll be able to make sense of it.



Richie Neville | Director

Internal Force Fitness




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