Lately I've been curious about some of the names of old school fitness equipment.
Treadmill: Originated in England Prisons as almost a type of water wheel. It had vertical bars to separate prisoners and give them isolation. The apparatus would turn and the prisoner was forced to take one step up and keep at this for shifts of up to 8 hours. The power that was generated would be used in plants and mills. Hence the name tread-mill. (no wonder these feel like torture to me)
Medicine Ball: The ancient Greeks wrote about the use of weighted balls for exercise and health. Health and Medicine were one in the same in context back then. Gladiators were known to use them in their training. Claudius Galen a physician in ancient times would choose "therapeutic exercise" to bring his patients health back. He would often have them whip the ball back and forth. Since this was how they used "medicine," the medicine ball was born.
Kettlebell and Dumbell: Back in ancient times church bells, often weighing up to several tons, were rung by several men. To practice different tones and get proper sequencing, the person would practice on non clanging bells. Hence the name "dumb-bells" because they were quite. According to a Scottish legend, Kettlebells came about from old kettles that were leaky. They were then filled up with sand or shot and used as strength training. Russians used them as counterbalances and then would often show their strength by pressing them up in the air or by juggling.
Olympic barbell: A German invented the adjustable bar to allow different weights to go on. It debuted in the 1928 Olympics. Hence the Olympic barbell.