Joe, what do you think about the bodybuilders of today when you compare them with guys like Steve Reeves, Larry Scott and even Arnold? They are obviously a lot bigger now, but do you think they’re also better?
While there are a lot of terrific young bodybuilders competing today, as a whole I feel that the sport of bodybuilding has lost its way since the days of Arnold et al.
All too often in recent years I’ve seen big bellies where there should be trim waistlines, lumps and bumps where I’m accustomed to seeing contours and curves. While a slight degree of vascularity (the bodybuilding term for veinyness) used to indicate that a bodybuilder was in shape, today I’ll see men and women with undulating veins streaming across their torsos and limbs in a distracting and unattractive pattern.
They say you can’t stop progress but I’m afraid unbridled growth isn’t progress in my book. I’m all for bodybuilders adding as much lean muscle as they can, so long as they stay true to the aesthetic ideals set forth in classic depictions of the male form by artists like Michelangelo and DaVinci.
The original goal of bodybuilding was for men to create a larger, stronger and more ideally proportioned version of the common man. Nowadays we certainly have the larger and stronger part down pat, but I’m afraid the more ideally proportioned part isn’t always recognized. Fortunately our current Mr. Olympia, Dexter Jackson, embodies bodybuilding’s original spirit quite well. I hope that others use him as a model on which to build their own physiques.