Schwarzenegger wants to see more emphasis on symmetry, not mass.
With seven Mr. Olympia title to his name (1970-1975, 1980), few understand what it takes to stand on top of the highest mountain in bodybuilding like Arnold Schwarzenegger. While the 75-year-old is into other things besides maintaining a well-toned body these days, the man once nicknamed “The Austrian Oak” is certainly still keeping an eye on the sport that helped make him a household name.
After 2022 Mr. Olympia, Schwarzenegger participated in an interview on YouTube in 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 most notable news is Schwarzenegger placing the Men’s Open division in the crosshairs, which he believes has lost sight of what professional bodybuilding is all about.
One of Schwarzenegger’s main criticisms of the Men’s Open division was that it was pushing bodybuilding in the wrong direction. He compared the current flagship division at the Olympia back to his heyday in the late 20th century and noted that victory in the past centered on chiseled bodies and refined body proportions.
For legend, size shouldn’t mean everything.
“I think it’s crazy, in a way, to have a Classic Physique category. Just because that must be mr. Olympia. Because, what are we celebrating?” Schwarzenegger said. “… In classical days, we looked for proportion, and now we don’t give [expletive] about it? Is that what we’re talking about?”
Part of Schwarzenegger’s rationale is that he believes the current Classic Physique division captures the true spirit of bodybuilding. On the contrary, it seems that he did not appreciate the overall goal of the competitors in the modern Men’s Open category.
“I think it’s amazing that they have to literally create a Classic Physique competition to give the guy with the best quality body, the most balanced body, a trophy because he can’t compete where monsters compete,” said Schwarzenegger. “Indeed that is wrong. Like I said, bigger isn’t always better.“
Not coincidentally, Schwarzenegger is a big fan of the reigning four-time champion of Classic Physique (2019-2022) Chris Bumstead, because he seems to believe that he follows the ideal body.
“I’ve always felt that insiders have their own favorites, and then there’s the audience, the viewers, the fans… [Bumstead] the most famous when you think about it,” Schwarzenegger said. “He is the most famous bodybuilder today. What does that say? That said everyone out there is saying, ‘That’s the body type I want’.“
Looking ahead to the March 2023 Arnold Classic, Schwarzenegger maintained that he would like to see Bumstead make his first competitive appearance at the competition because he thinks the superstar will put on a show.
“I think he is [Bumstead] can win [at the Arnold Classic]. There’s no two ways about that,” Schwarzenegger said. “I told Chris that. Chris, as you know, is a huge fan of the Arnold Classic. He came there, and he was very nice to all the fans. He signed autographs and all that. I hope he competes because I think he has a good chance of winning that.”
Always a steward of the sport, Schwarzenegger seems concerned about where bodybuilding is headed in the future. Perhaps, down the line, his wish to see the Classic Physique division promoted front and center may come true. At the very least, his desire to see Bumstead continue to excel, perhaps even at the 2023 Arnold Classic, may have a strong chance to shine.
Featured image: @cbum on Instagram