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The Classic Bodybuilding Physique

When thinking about the "classic" bodybuilding physique, my mind drifts back to the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane or Samir Bannout who arguably produced some of the greatest physiques with perfect body symmetry and balance.

Jumping forward a few years, overall size and mass seemed to take a more prominent stance in the bodybuilding world with the likes of Lee Haney, Dorian Yates and Ronnie Coleman, showing that a big muscle mass physique can also be very well conditioned.

So the question still stands: What is the classic bodybuilding physique? The easy answer is that the classic physique is arguably the most desired one at the time therefore the classic physique changes or at least has changed over time and during the evolution of bodybuilding and body sculpting.

Thinking of more recent Mr Olympia champions such as Jay Cutler, it can be argued that it was his overall muscle mass and size that earned him his first victory in 2006 and again he seemed physically larger when we won back the title from Dexter Jackson in 2009.

Now we come to the present day and the huge bodybuilders in the form of Kai Greene and Phil Heath. Both of which are monsters of men, carry huge muscle mass in height and width of muscles both in the upper and lower body.

Bodybuilding Evolution

How has bodybuilding changed and why? Are bodybuilders getting bigger? Ultimately, in my mind the answer to both of these questions is "yes", to the question of why, I think we need to dive a little deeper than just using photographic evidence to judge.

You could say that biology and bodybuilding diets are better understood therefore athletes are able to harness fuel quicker and more easily meaning the fuel to workout is more available, this could assist in two aspects a) to train harder and b) to be able to recover faster. Depending on what level you're competing at there are a number of supplements available that are designed and created purely with the objective to boost energy, boost power and boost recover etc.

There are many training techniques being adapted and improved all the time by professionals who are experts in the bodybuilding arena. Constantly improving these techniques and with the power of social media and the internet, this information is more readily available for the like of you and me to access and use. Thus being able to improve ourselves further.

My Opinion

Is there a right a wrong answer here? Truthfully no, because bodybuilding is a very personal activity and everyone's results will be different dependant on their training, diet, genetic build etc. Is there a desired look that we all aspire to? Arguably yes. We all want to build and develop muscle mass whilst staying ripped and lean. The ultimate questions really are: How big do you want to get? How much symmetry do you want? What is your body fat percentage? Is your physique manageable and maintainable?

This is where we really start to differentiate ourselves from each other as everyone (almost everyone) will have a different answer, and this is what makes bodybuilding so interesting and exciting. Is bigger better? Is better symmetry better? Can you have both? Modern professional bodybuilders will argue yes, and with perfect evidence coming in the form of numerous world championships and awards.

What I can state categorically is that to become a bodybuilder, you first need to get yourself mentally ready and in the correct mind-set. Let's not kid ourselves, bodybuilding isn't easy and to progress on the larger scale you have to dedicate yourself to the sport to even put yourself in the bracket of "I'm a bodybuilder".

About the Author

Kevin Hodges has a goal to help other fitness and bodybuilding enthusiast to achieve greatness and to be the best they possible can be. How does he do this? Through coaching and guidance and through fitness blogging from offering skills and wisdom he's picked up during his many trial and error experiments. Is he an expert? Probably not, but he does practise what he preaches and will help anyone who needs a little guidance along their journey.

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