Post-Saddam, Bodybuilders Let 'Er Ripple

Pumping iron is hugely popular among Iraqis, despite dangers
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2008 12:21 PM CDT
Security outside of a Baghdad gym.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Iraqi bodybuilders have long needed nerves of steel to pump iron. Under Saddam, only officially connected Iraqis could join gyms, and the average weightlifter was forced to use makeshift equipment. But after Saddam, a flood of Iraqis seeking lucrative security jobs hit the gyms. The result? Extremists began targeting bulging biceps for working for Americans.

Iraqis have continued to pursue the sport, and despite the dangers, have opened many more gyms—including a few named after none other than the Terminator. And business is pumping. "Even if there are mortars, even if there are sandstorms, people come in and exercise," said a personal trainer.