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How Much Sport is there in Sport Physiology?: Practice and Ideas in the Stockholm School of Physiology at GCI, 1941–1969
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science and Technology (name changed 20120201).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2914-4476
2013 (English)In: International Journal of the History of Sport, ISSN 0952-3367, E-ISSN 1743-9035, Vol. 30, no 8, 892-913 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The physiology research at the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics (Swedish acronym: GCI) in Stockholm was never primarily focused on sports, but has made significant contributions to sport and exercise physiology. Changing ideas about the human body (from form to motor) during the early twentieth century led to criticism towards the posture-oriented Ling gymnastics. The rationalisation movement of the 1930s and onwards also paved the way for a rationalistic physiology research. GCI recruited Eric Hohwü Christensen (1904–1996) from Copenhagen for the new position as professor in physiology in 1941. Christensen built his research programme on the ideas of the Copenhagen School, focusing on basic research, bodily limits and rationalisation of exercise. The majority of research at GCI focused on basic physiology, and the main goal was to rationalise the exercise of the entire population, which was in line with the ambitions of the emerging Swedish welfare state.

But applications in elite sports became a claim to fame for GCI through names such as Per-Olof Åstrand and Bengt Saltin. This article aims at showing how the research programme was outlined during Christensen’s professorship, 1941–1969. How does a scientific environment focused on basic, physiological research become famous for its impact in sports?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Routledge, 2013. Vol. 30, no 8, 892-913 p.
Keyword [en]
rational training; exercise physiology; Eric Hohwü Christensen; GCI; Sweden; welfare state
National Category
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-122973DOI: 10.1080/09523367.2013.784274ISI: 000319377400005Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84878742688OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-122973DiVA: diva2:624136
Projects
Rationell träning. Vetenskapliggörandet av träning för längdskidåkning
Funder
Swedish National Centre for Research in Sports
Note

QC 20130603

Available from: 2013-05-30 Created: 2013-05-30 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Scientizing performance in endurance sports: The emergence of ‘rational training’ in cross-country skiing, 1930-1980
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Scientizing performance in endurance sports: The emergence of ‘rational training’ in cross-country skiing, 1930-1980
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Vetenskapliggörandet av prestation inom konditionsidrott : Framväxten av 'rationell träning' för längdskidåkning, 1930-1980
Abstract [en]

Elite athletes of today use specialized, scientific training methods and the increasing role of science in sports is undeniable. Scientific methods and equipment has even found its way into the practice of everyday exercisers, a testament to the impact of sport science. From the experiential, personal training regimes of the first half of the 20th century to the scientific training theories of the 1970s, the ideas about training and the athletic body shifted.

The rationalization process started in endurance sports in the 1940s. It was part of a struggle between two models of training; natural training and rational training. Physiologists wanted to rid training of individual and local variations and create a universal model of rational, scientific training. The rationalization of training and training landscapes is here understood as an aspect of sportification, a theory commonly used to describe similar developments in sports where increasing regimentation, specialization and rationalization are among the main criteria. This dissertation adds the concept of technologies of sportification to explain the role that micro-technologies and practices (such as training logs, training camps and scientific tests) have in the scientization of training.

This thesis thus sets out to analyze the role that science has played in training during the 20th century. It is a history about the rationalization of training, but also about larger issues regarding the role of personal, experiential knowledge and scientific knowledge. The main conclusions are that the process of scientization never managed to rid training of components from natural, experiential training, and that the effort by Swedish physiologists to introduce rational training was part of the larger rationalization movement at the time. In the end, training knowledge was a co-production between practitioners and theoreticians, skiers and scientists.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. 65 p.
Series
TRITA-HOT, ISSN 0349-2842 ; 2072
Keyword
History, environmental history, history of science, history of technology, landscape studies, cross-country skiing, Nordic skiing, endurance physiology, sport history, sportification, scientization, sport physiology, sport science, Sweden
National Category
History and Archaeology
Research subject
History of Science, Technology and Environment
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-195830 (URN)978-91-7729-205-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-12-09, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Rationell träning: vetenskapliggörandet äv träning för längdskidåkning
Funder
Swedish National Centre for Research in SportsMistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental ResearchSwedish Environmental Protection Agency
Note

QC 20161114

Available from: 2016-11-14 Created: 2016-11-10 Last updated: 2016-11-15Bibliographically approved

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Svensson, Daniel

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