The educational content has shifted considerably over the last two hundred years since its beginning in 1813. To begin with artists came to GCI, fencing was a weighty element and educational gymnastics was also practiced alone or with equipment ("machineri"). Physiotherapy also became more and more important, something that would probably not have an equivalent in any other gymnastic university.
Throughout the 1800s and well into the 1900s, teaching consisted of educational gymnastics, fencing and physiotherapy. The most famous and coherent form became educational gymnastics.
Educational gymnastics was systematised in the 1860s by Pehr Henrik Ling's son Hjalmar, who was a GCI teacher and the unknown author of Swedish school gymnastics. His highly regulated lessons, 'the Swedish gymnastics system', was taught in many parts of the civilized world well into the post-war period.
As we have already seen, fencing and physical therapy disappeared from GIH from the middle of the 1930s. Instead, sport began to take up more and more space. During the second half of the 1900s sport got the upper hand, though gymnastics continued to hold a strong position. How this happened is not studied in detail. The shift in emphasis should be seen in the context of the sports movement's triumphal march through the 1900s.
The dominance of competitive sport within the post-war physical training culture also had an impact on GIH, though not immediately.
To a large extent the sport movement's activities (branches) and forms of activity were taken over by GIH, and from there moved into schools. In particular, some popular team ball games with football in the lead enjoy a strong position. In addition, through special training for coaches and other means GIH and the sports movement led by the Swedish Sports Confederation (RF) have developed an increasing closeness.
The development from gymnastics to sports does not reflect the whole story. For example, dance and other artistic elements of gymnastics from the interwar period have supplemented the military oriented gymnastics system. Here, women have been at the forefront.
Throughout the 1900s, GIH also engaged in teaching related to outdoor activities. Mountain trips have been one of the highlights. The most important change in education is probably still on another level: in recent decades growing emphasis has been placed on theory and the link between practice and theory.
Greatest attention is given to practical physical education along with the more theoretical subjects public health, pedagogy, physiology and movement science. However, as previously mentioned, a number of other theoretical subjects also have their place on the timetable, such as history, psychology and law/economics.