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Difference in Conditioning at the Pro Level

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  • Difference in Conditioning at the Pro Level

    I have spoken about this before and wanted to point this out after seeing a picture of Brandon Curry a few days ago on social media.

    I am going to preface this with the fact that I think Brandon Curry has an incredible physique and represents the sport very well. I am in no way trying to take anything away from him. I am simply trying to point out something that I have discussed before on the Blood Sweat and Gear podcast but have been unable to explain without a visual of what I am talking about.

    In this pic of Brandon doing a back double biceps shot, it is my opinion that if you really break down his conditioning, he does not have the paper-thin skin that so many people in the amateur ranks strive for. Phil Heath was a lot like this (at times) and so are other bodybuilders like Victor Martinez.

    I use this as an example to point out that even though he is in great condition, he would not qualify as being as ripped as someone with paper-thin skin. If you look closely (and I am not sure you can blow up the pic or not), he has small skin folds on the lower lats, there are almost zero veins showing and I would go so far as to say that I see no real "striations" in that his body fat isn't so low that you can see that "grainy" detail of the muscle.

    He is god damn full as a house, though.

    I have said this NUMEROUS times over the years and pictures like this prove what I am saying: in the pro ranks, they tend to err on the side of fullness vs. being grainy or shredded while in the amateur ranks, TYPICALLY people err on the side of being shredded vs. being absurdly full.

    I can't even say this is necessarily "bad" but it is obviously different because you can't find even one vein on his upper body or a striation, anywhere. Yes, he's damn pretty, damn full, round bellies and he is very clearly a genetically gifted physique -- NO QUESTION. However, if you or I showed up in this condition at our shows we would not be lean enough because we don't look that pretty.

    Phil Heath used to do the same thing when he competed in Colorado. He wasn't shredded but he was so far above and beyond everyone else that you knew you had no chance to even come close.

    Now, it didn't used to be like this in the pro ranks. If you go back to the 90s, those guys were dry and shredded. Times have changed and I wonder what you guys feel about the different look now vs. then?

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  • #2
    Skip, I could not agree more with you. I always say I would probably be a bad bodybuilding judge because I look at the photos of contests each year and can't seem to see what everyone else does. I think the conditioning is shit in comparison to the '90s. To me it looks like everyone is holding water. Some of these guys look insane days and weeks before the show, but then on the day of the show something goes wrong. And it's not just with one or two guys; it's all of them.

    Dusty and Ron Partlow had Chris Aceto on their podcast a while ago and before it they asked people to submit questions and mine was "what are the differences in prep from the '90s to now that is causing the decline in conditioning?" They never touched on it though as I'm sure they got hundreds of DM's from their IG followers.

    I think I heard somewhere that Yates said guys don't really suffer in those final days anymore. They're eating really high amounts of carbs close to the show and then using compounds to try and get away with it.

    Not a pro show, but this is the '91 Junior Nationals. Nobody has this conditioning anymore.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUJRqPyBWas

    Priest at the '99 Olympia, insane
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eytNmp4vl8g

    Yates always had good conditioning as well, but in '92 his skin looked so tight it might rip.

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    • #3
      I noticed this at the 2019 Lee Haney. The guy that won the overall was huge and full but almost lacked abs. The most conditioned and really complete guy was smaller but looked unreal and he took 3rd. These were guys competing for a pro card so they weren’t even in the upper ranks yet.
      It’s all down to what the judges are rewarding really.
      I don’t think we will ever see another Andreas Munzer or even Yates level of conditioning because as bad as it sucks it doesn’t really win.

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      • #4
        I'm waiting to get slammed by someone who disagrees. lol

        Skip


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        • #5
          Skip what do you look for to tell the difference between someone who just needed to diet harder vs someone who spilled or is just holding water?

          6/22/13 - 2013 NPC VICTORY CLASSIC
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          • #6
            Originally posted by LKQSJH View Post
            Skip what do you look for to tell the difference between someone who just needed to diet harder vs someone who spilled or is just holding water?
            Sometimes it is hard to tell if all you have is a visual on one day.

            Anyone can spill but the more fat someone is holding, the more water they are able to hold subq, too. So, this is just one more reason that the leaner you are, the less likely you are to water over and have it completely ruin your physique vs. adding just a small film of water.

            To be more clear: If you are holding a lot of water, you almost certainly weren't lean enough.

            Skip


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            • #7
              I could not agree with you more , the physiques are pretty nowadays. But damn, just watch that video posted above, Kevin and Paul were plain out freaky looking.

              Being an Ameteur bodybuilder myself, the condition I see at National Shows here in Canada are crazy. Now I am a SHW & Masters Competitor and I must say us Masters guy's can still bring it. (plug to the podcast I just watched this AM with you and Scott about competing over 30)...

              - PacMan

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              • #8
                Masters guys can still bring it BUT... at least here in the US, the condition is great at the top of the class and then it falls off of a cliff. lol

                Skip

                Originally posted by PacMan View Post
                I could not agree with you more , the physiques are pretty nowadays. But damn, just watch that video posted above, Kevin and Paul were plain out freaky looking.

                Being an Ameteur bodybuilder myself, the condition I see at National Shows here in Canada are crazy. Now I am a SHW & Masters Competitor and I must say us Masters guy's can still bring it. (plug to the podcast I just watched this AM with you and Scott about competing over 30)...

                - PacMan


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                • #9
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xws4PjFalPA

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42SmYeOWizs

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Idsn3N8TnRk
                  Last edited by FK86; 02-12-2020, 08:43 PM.

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                  • #10
                    I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees this huge disparity between the eras.

                    I admit to laughing at Ronnie's response but I agree with Flex that they all deserve respect for what they have accomplished because the expectations are different now vs. then. In fact, coming in diced and dry as hell MIGHT actually go against someone right now when the rest of the field is coming in with absurd fullness.

                    Flex showed huge respect when he said it doesn't matter because 2 of them have Mr Olympia titles and I don't even have one. Well said.

                    Skip



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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ds3317 View Post
                      I noticed this at the 2019 Lee Haney. The guy that won the overall was huge and full but almost lacked abs. The most conditioned and really complete guy was smaller but looked unreal and he took 3rd. These were guys competing for a pro card so they weren’t even in the upper ranks yet.
                      It’s all down to what the judges are rewarding really.
                      I don’t think we will ever see another Andreas Munzer or even Yates level of conditioning because as bad as it sucks it doesn’t really win.
                      I judged that show. The heavy and super weren't the most conditioned but had good overall quality. As a judge it isn't who's the most conditioned or who's the biggest. I have guys onstage that are shredded but no muscle. So it's just what's the best overall at that time. Same with the pros now. The standard now is what it is. Big and full is being rewarded so guys gravitate to that look. As a judge you pick what's the best onstage. I don't believe though that this is all the time. This Olympia was different but Heath doesn't lack for quality when on point
                      Carlos Rodriguez
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                      • #12
                        I am purely speculating here, but I imagine this has a lot to do with guys using insulin close to the show to fill up. It's a trade off between being full and having some spillover. You would know more than I do. Simply an educated guess here.
                        I do not condone the use of anabolic steroids or any illegal drug, any information discussed is for educational purposes only.

                        "Every goal has a price if you are willing to pay it"

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bigp3 View Post
                          I am purely speculating here, but I imagine this has a lot to do with guys using insulin close to the show to fill up. It's a trade off between being full and having some spillover. You would know more than I do. Simply an educated guess here.
                          I can't say that it doesn't play a part but I don't think it's the insulin, directly, as much as it is the concept of just plain being fuller and not as concerned about being dry. I think if you take insulin completely out of the picture for a minute and just have everyone push fullness over dryness, you would have the same look on stage (or at least very close). Insulin forces fullness so it can play a part but I still think it's just the idea that this era has shifted to fullness over dryness and that hard, grainy look.

                          Skip


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ken "Skip" Hill View Post

                            I can't say that it doesn't play a part but I don't think it's the insulin, directly, as much as it is the concept of just plain being fuller and not as concerned about being dry. I think if you take insulin completely out of the picture for a minute and just have everyone push fullness over dryness, you would have the same look on stage (or at least very close). Insulin forces fullness so it can play a part but I still think it's just the idea that this era has shifted to fullness over dryness and that hard, grainy look.

                            Skip
                            do you think its because of the higher use of diuretics in the '90s and early 2000s, i mean Lasix was even combined with other protocols, now they were different genetic beasts but the protocols that they had before were also crazy pre-show.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Kaaha View Post

                              do you think its because of the higher use of diuretics in the '90s and early 2000s, i mean Lasix was even combined with other protocols, now they were different genetic beasts but the protocols that they had before were also crazy pre-show.
                              They are clearly not using diuretics like they did back then, correct. Still, no one in the industry at that level has ever shied away from taking risks. Still, they just aren't as LEAN as they used to be, either. You used to be able to outwork some people by simply getting shredded but now that doesn't happen. If you aren't full as shit, you are out of luck.

                              Skip


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