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2010 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Report





The 2010 Arnold Classic was a great show and showed why the Arnold Classic is the second greatest bodybuilding contest in the world after the Mr. Olympia contest.

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2010 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic - RESULTS! WINNER: KAI GREENE

2. Phil Heath *
3. Branch Warren
4. Dexter Jackson
5. Toney Freeman *
6. Ronny Rockel
7. Egberton Etienne-Winklaar
8. Hidetada Yamagishi    山岸秀匡
9. Melvin Anthony
10. Robert Piotrkowicz
11. Tarek El Setouhi
12. Johnnie Jackson
13. Sergey Shelestov

*Note: Top five qualify for 2010 Mr. Olympia contest.

Now I will make detailed comments below for each athlete:

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1st: Kai Greene

Based on photos and video clips that I have seen, I must state that I do not agree with Kai's victory at this contest both in terms of my assessment of his physique and based on historical judging precedent. I believe that Phil Heath [discussed below] was in much better condition and was the clear victor between the two. I think in most cases, it would have gone down as Phil in first place and Kai in second place. However, based on another form of judging precedent one could argue that the bodybuilder with the best back is the winner of the contest and I believe that most everyone would accept the assertion that Kai had the best back - both the widest in the show and even more easily the thickest. In fact, the thickness of Kai's lower back is like nothing that I have ever seen before. Phil and Kai were definitely the top two bodybuilders at this contest, but as I said I would have reversed the orders. With that said, Kai being no less than second place is perfectly understandable to me although I disagree on him winning the contest. I believe that if he was in 100% conditioning that it may have been closer and I also think that Kai and Phil are the future of bodybuilding!

2nd: Phil Heath

Phil Heath was the clear winner in my opinion. After reviewing his photos and seeing his prejudging footage I felt that he was absolutely the clear winner. While I would put Kai Greene in second place, I did not feel it was close between the two. I felt that Phil was the clear victor and that Kai was the clear runner up. With that said, the argument that I discussed above was that Kai won on the basis of his superior back, both in terms of width and even more notably, thickness. It can also be argued that Kai's hamstrings were larger and Kai is by no means small - anywhere. However, Phil's conditioning was the best in the show in my opinion and was enough to put him in a clear first place. But this is not how the chips fell. I believe that Kai's victory and Phil's #2 spot is evidence to show that judges do not discriminate on the basis of magazine contracts, race, or even personal choices. In terms of physique, I feel that Phil won. In terms of politics, Phil also has a cleaner record than Kai and in my opinion, few people would have lodged a complaint if he won.

3rd: Branch Warren

Branch Warren looked very good at this contest, but in my view he did not look as good as he did at the 2009 Mr. Olympia contest. If I was the judge and Branch had showed up in his best shape, I believe that Phil would still have won this contest but I would argue it would be a fight for second place between Branch and Kai in the shape Kai showed up in for this contest. I would say most would argue that Kai deserved to beat Branch given the way Kai looked at this contest even if Branch showed up in his best ever form circa the 2009 Mr. Olympia. With all three in their best shape, I believe the order would be Phil or Kai with Branch in third place. Phil and Kai are very close, but I believe that both are clearly better than Branch. I think it is safe to say that all three men are in the top six in the world with everyone at their best shape, but there are some extremely good bodybuilders out there today.

4th: Dexter Jackson

Reading posts on the message boards about Dexter Jackson's showing for this contest, some people had him winning the show. When I analyzed the pictures I did not feel that Dexter was the winner or even particularly close to it. I believe that fourth place was perfectly fair, perhaps even generous. I definitely do not think that Dexter deserved to be higher than fourth place. I think that Dexter is simply showing the effects of aging which has resulted in a slight but noticeable decline, while Phil continues to get better and better and Kai and Branch also getting better although not at the same pace as Dexter. I also think that it is quite possible that if Phil and Kai continue to improve that both may prove to have just as successful a bodybuilding career as Dexter. With that said, even at age 40 Dexter looked amazing and Dexter always looks amazing. Even being "off" [due to age], Dexter still looks phenomenal. I think that Dexter could probably compete until he is 50 and remain in the top six. Whether I am right or wrong about that I am not sure. Whether that would be a good idea for other reasons I am not sure. With this said, Dexter does not have any type of backup plan in place for his financial survival so I imagine he will continue to compete for quite some time.

5th: Toney Freeman

Toney Freeman is actually three years older than Dexter Jackson, yet Toney does not seem to be showing any level of decline in his physique and it is quite possible that at age 44, he will show up at the Mr. Olympia contest in 2010 in his best shape ever. Why? Because he took six years off due to a car accident and is therefore more "fresh" for the rigors of bodybuilding competition in my opinion. He is another bodybuilder who I think can remain competitive until he is 50 - by competitive I would say he will definitely be able to qualify for and compete in the Mr. Olympia each year until that year. Whether he has the longevity that Dexter Jackson does, I am not sure. While Toney is not showing the same signs of age that Dexter is so far, I must point out once again that he did take some time off so it makes predicting his longevity slightly more difficult. Dexter's decline has been very, very slight. Toney is still somewhat fresh to the rigors of top level bodybuilding competition as I have said [despite being an amateur for years] and I think he will continue to improve for a while, but that time may be soon and how he declines from there is anyone's guess. He looked great at this contest but it was a stiff competition and his placing was fair.

6th: Ronny Rockel

Ronny Rockel is another bodybuilder who has been doing very well lately. He proved that he was among the world's top 10 best bodybuilders at the 2009 Mr. Olympia. At this contest, Ronny was seven pounds heavier than he was at the Olympia and his conditioning was just as good as far as I could tell. I would say that this contest had a deep lineup and Ronny Rockel confirmed that he is among the top 10 best in the world. I can't really pick a particular flaw in Ronny's physique although I would recommend he continue to improve as best as he can and not push it too far or else he may see a problem with stomach distention arise. To put on seven pounds in the brief period between the 2009 Mr. Olympia contest and the 2010 Arnold Classic is a pretty remarkable feat and if he continues such quick progress at this stage in the game I can only assume that he will begin to see problems with his stomach.

7th: Egberton "Roelly" Etienne-Winklaar

Egberton "Roelly" Etienne-Winklaar competed in his first professional contest here at the 2010 Arnold Classic after winning the Super-Heavyweight and Overall divisions at the 2009 Arnold Amateur contest last year. In his "weeks out" photos I felt that Roelly was a viable threat for the top 6-10 and he proved it here by placing 7th. I don't think mass or conditioning will be issues for Roelly. I think the only consideration would be his structure which of course he has no control over. As such, I do think he will be able to continue to improve but I do not feel it is likely that he will be able to place higher than pros such as Phil Heath and Kai Greene who have slightly more stature than Roelly does [Roelly is around 5'6 and 1/2] and superior structures but bring in at least the same level of size and muscularity. I do think that Roelly's performance in this contest indicates to me that he is already quite likely a top 10 bodybuilder in the world. In fact, only Jay Cutler, Victor Martinez, and Moe El Moussawi who are verifiably in the top 10 in the world based on the results of the 2009 Mr. Olympia contest were not in this contest and only Jay and Victor would beat Roelly with great certainty, so one could argue that Roelly already proved himself to be a top 10 competitor in the world by placing 7th at this contest. I highly doubt that Roelly is finished yet and I predict big things from him in the future. Only time will tell of course, but I see no reason why he won't be able to continue to improve and quite possibly become a legitimate threat to the top six in the world.

8th: Hidetada Yamagishi    山岸秀匡

Hidetada beat Toney Freeman recently at the 2010 Phoenix Pro show so some may be surprised to learn that Toney beat him here, but I think this was due to the timing of both of their respective peaks. While Hide peaked at the Phoenix Pro, Toney chose to peak at this show which I believe was a better idea since the Arnold is more lucrative. In any case, I would say that Toney is the overall better bodybuilder than Hidetada, but that Hide is close enough to beat Toney in the case that Hide nails his peak and Toney shows up a little bit off as was the case in Phoenix. Sometimes rather slight regression makes a big difference and to be honest, I think Hide looked very shredded at this contest but was perhaps slightly less full than he was in Phoenix. I would argue that this may even be due to lighting and oil/color. Sometimes the very smallest details can go a long way and Hide may have times his carb load for the show slightly imperfectly which may have resulted in being slightly flatter here than at the Phoenix where it seemed that he was fuller/larger but in the same conditioning. I would not say he spilled over but rather slighly lacked the fullness required to place a little higher. I would say that at his best, it could be argued that Hide may have made the top six, although that is also questionable because both Ronny Rockel and Roelly Winklaar were looking very well at this contest.

9th: Melvin Anthony

Melvin Anthony was not quite at the level that he was at when he competed at the 2010 Phoenix Pro last week. I carefully reviewed the pictures and I have to say that he was pretty close and so his slide to 9th place from 1st place is rather surprising, but he was clearly both fuller and drier in Phoenix. With that said, it is shocking that such a small disparity [in my opinion] can result in such a big disparity in contest placing. With that said, you also had six competitors who did not compete in Phoenix who may have full well beaten him there. Only two other competitors - Toney Freeman and Hidetada Yamagishi - competed at the Arnold as well as Phoenix. I am not surprised that Toney beat Melvin this time and some argued that Toney should have won in Phoenix. The surprise to me is how Hidetada beat Melvin at this show because in my opinion, both bodybuilders regressed at this contest from their most recent showing in Phoenix and if Melvin was good enough to beat a very good Hide in Phoenix, I don't see why a slightly off Melvin could not beat an even more off Hide at this show. Otherwise, Melvin's placing makes sense to me here and I would not have personally placed him any higher than eighth. Still not bad - I think it is fair to say that Melvin is in the top 15 of bodybuilders in the entire world and possibly in the top 12. Nothing to scoff at.

10th: Robert Piotrkowicz

Robert Piotrkowicz is a bodybuilder who I would say few people could have told you about last year, yet here he is placing in the top 10 in the second biggest and best bodybuilding contest in the world! Robert hails from Poland, the birthplace of Mariusz Pudzianowski, the FIVE TIME World's Strongest Man. Poland has a proud and rich heritage and it is not surprising to me that Poland has produced these two great champions. Although Robert and Mariusz are competing in two separate fields, I think a comparison here is acceptable. With that said, it would take a lot for Robert to emulate in the bodybuilding world the success that Mariusz had in strength sports. After reviewing photos of Robert, I think it is clear that he was dry from head to toe, everywhere from the striations in his shoulders in the crab most muscular pose to his striated glutes in the back poses. I had read recently that Robert suffered a chest injury to his left pec while bench pressing a tremendous amount of weight recently, but based on his side chest pose which he performed on the left side, I see no evidence of such an injury so I am led to believe that whatever injury Robert may have suffered has healed completely. I think his colour and oil at this contest was perfect and was a similar shade as that which Jay Cutler had at the 2001 Mr. Olympia contest where he placed 2nd. My only critique about Robert would be that his waist and stomach are slighly large in comparison to his quads. He can offset this flaw in one of two ways [or both]: [1] by reducing the size of his stomach which I have heard other bodybuilders have been able to do either through diet or posing practice, or [2] increasing the size of his thighs to create the illusion of having a smaller waist. Since this flaw is extremely common amongst pros at Robert's level, I am not particularly concerned about it. My major advice to Robert would basically to just keep doing what he is already doing although I would be slightly concerned with the massive weight he lifts as that may result in an injury which would not be a positive thing since chest injuries like tears are extremely hard for bodybuilding competitors to get over.

11th: Tarek El Setouhi

I have to admit that Tarek El Setouhi is not a bodybuilder whom I had heard very much about before reviewing this contest. Having gone over the pictures of him at this show I would say that he is definitely a viable pro and someone who we can expect to see at some of the better bodybuilding shows today and possibly someone who will be able to qualify to compete at the Mr. Olympia contest at some point in the future. I would lodge one critique about Tarek and once again it is a common one: I would say his waist is a little too large which makes his arms in particular look smaller than they actually are. Either that or his arms need to be brought up, which make his waist look large. Some of these measurements are objective and at other times they are visual illusions. And other times still, they are a combination of both. It could be argued that Tarek could stand to improve the conditioning in his legs including his glutes, but overall I am not particularly concerned with that issue as that can be improved with the correct contest diet I would say. However, bringing up his arms could be the difference between him placing 11th in his contest as he was this year or being in the top 6-10. Since he was only one place away from being in the top 10 at this contest, I believe it is fair to say that with larger arms he could have catapulted his placing upwards with more mass in his arms.

12th: Johnnie Jackson

As far as I could tell, Johnnie looked better at this contest than he did just recently at the 2010 Phoenix Pro. With that said, I think it is quite possible that Johnnie's love for powerlifting is preventing him from doing the particular kinds of exercises that would induce muscle hypertrophy and I think this has always been true for Johnnie as he has great love for powerlifting and clearly cannot stay away from powerlifting training for long. This is evidenced in his incredible lifts including a deadlift of over 800 pounds. Realistically, it was Johnnie's conditioning which cost him at the contest as I think he has the type of physique where he needs to bring his conditioning in at his best in order to offset the flaws which I pointed out in his physique above - i.e., lacking the mass in certain areas in comparison to some of his competitors. For example, while Johnnie has far stronger legs than Phil Heath, Phil's thighs are clearly larger. With top conditioning the disparity between the quality of the two is not as noticeable, but with Johnnie coming in off, it is not close between the two. While I do think that Johnnie improved for this contest, I do not think that it was enough to perform better than his placing here indicated and I do believe that his placing was fair. His powerlifting background has produced incredible density but density alone will not launch a bodybuilder in the top 10 in every contest. At 39 years old I do not imagine that Johnnie will be putting on more mass at this stage in the game, so I think his focus should be on bringing his conditioning in 100%. If he can do that he can still place higher in contests than he did here and qualify for the Mr. Olympia competition, possibly into his forties as other successful bodybuilders have been able to do.

13th: Sergey Shelestov

Sergey Shelestov is quite the large bodybuilder who competes at 6'1 and around 280 pounds. With that said, I can see why he placed where he did at this contest and it was primary due to his conditioning which was not 100%. I would say that in his upper body in particular, his weak conditioning [in comparison to the other competitors] was displayed. His quads were certainly shredded as were his calves - in fact, the vascularity in his calves as seen from the front was the best in the show, although one strength such as that is not enough to make a huge difference at a show of the caliber of the Arnold Classic. His hamstrings were shredded and his entire lower body can be said to be in ideal condition and quite superior to his upper body. I would say that upper body conditioning catches the eye more than lower body conditioning does and being 6'1, Sergey may be considered "lanky" even at Sergey and a shorter bodybuilder who is lighter will still appear to be thicker. I do think that Sergey is a viable pro, but I think improving his conditioning will be the place to start. Once his conditioning is improved upon, he can reevaluate his contest placings and go from there.

Overall Review:

Overall, I felt that this contest was for the most part fairly judged with a few exceptions. I still maintain that Phil Heath should have won this contest with Kai Greene in second despite Kai's superiority in the back and hamstrings. I think Phil's upper body size and structure as well as his overall better conditioning was enough to beat Kai, who I believe are very close bodybuilders. In fact, I think with both showing up 100% it would be very difficult for me to decide which one should win and which one should come in second and at that point I would concede it would simply come down to personal preference as objectively speaking they would be so close at that level that it would be difficult to discern the two in terms of placing. Other than the positions of Kai and Phil at this contest, I think that the contest was mostly judged fairly, although Hidetada Yamagishi beating Melvin Anthony is odd to me considering that a very similar Melvin beat a better Hide just last week at the 2010 Phoenix Pro. Lastly, this contest was a very good one with only a few of the best bodybuilders in the world sitting out - notably Jay Cutler and Victor Martinez and also Dennis Wolf who some have written off but who I think is still among the top six best bodybuilders in the world. Despite my feelings on the show, I wish to congratulate Kai Greene for his victory and wish Phil Heath the best in his future contests where I think he can easily dominate one pro show after the next. Both have a bright future ahead of them as well as the other competitors in this contest and I look forward to seeing those here who will be at the 2010 Mr. Olympia contest.

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Take care,

Matt Canning

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