Schwarzenegger would like to place more emphasis on symmetry and not on mass.
With seven Mr. Olympia titles (1970-1975, 1980), few understand better than Arnold Schwarzenegger what it takes to stand on bodybuilding’s highest peak. While the 75-year-old has other things to do these days than maintain a finely tuned physique, the man nicknamed ‘The Austrian Oak’ still keeps an eye on the sport that helped make him a household name name became.
After the 2022 Mr. Olympia, Schwarzenegger participated in a YouTube interview with Nick’s Strength and Power, where the legend shared some of his thoughts on the competition and the current state of the sport. Among the more notable tidbits was Schwarzenegger targeting the men’s Open division, who he believes has lost sight of what professional bodybuilding should be about.
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One of Schwarzenegger’s main criticisms of the Men’s Open Division is that it took bodybuilding in the wrong direction. He compared the Olympia’s current flagship division back to its heyday in the late 20th century and found that victory used to be about a shredded physique and refined body proportions.
For the legend, size shouldn’t mean everything.
“I think it’s kind of crazy to have a Classic Physique category. Simply because that was supposed to be the Mr. Olympia. Because what are we celebrating?” said Schwarzenegger. “…In classic days we looked for proportions, and now we don’t specify any [expletive] more about that? Is that what we say?”
Part of Schwarzenegger’s rationale is that he believes the current Classic Physique division captures the true spirit of bodybuilding. In contrast, he didn’t seem to appreciate the general aim of the competitors in the Modern Men’s Open category.
“I find it strange that they literally had to create a Classic Physique competition to give a trophy to the person with the best physique, the most balanced physique, because they couldn’t compete where the monsters competed,” said Schwarzenegger . “That’s actually wrong. As I said, bigger is not always better.”
It’s no coincidence that Schwarzenegger is a big fan of reigning four-time Classic Physique champion (2019-2022) Chris Bumstead, as he seems to think he’s mimicking the ideal physique.
“I always feel like the insiders have their own favorites, and then there’s the viewers, the viewers, the fans… and he has them [Bumstead] the most popular when you think about it,” Schwarzenegger said. “He is currently the most popular bodybuilder. What is written there? That means everyone out there is saying, “This is the kind of body I want.”“
Looking ahead to the Arnold Classic in March 2023, Schwarzenegger claimed he would like to see Bumstead make his debut competitive appearance at the competition because he believes the superstar would put on a show.
“I think he [Bumstead] could win [at the Arnold Classic]. There are no two options,” said Schwarzenegger. “I told Chris that. As you know, Chris is a big fan of the Arnold Classic. He comes there and is very, very nice to all the fans. He’s signing autographs and all that stuff. I hope he competes because I think he has a great chance of winning that.”
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Always a supporter of the sport, Schwarzenegger seems concerned about where bodybuilding is headed in the future. Perhaps his desire to see the Classic Physique division highlighted front and center could be granted across the board. At the very least, his desire to continue to surpass Bumstead, perhaps even at the 2023 Arnold Classic, could have a strong chance to prevail.
Featured image: @cbum on Instagram