|Ronnie Coleman at the 2001 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic
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Ronnie Coleman at the 2001 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic!
Below are some pictures of Ronnie Coleman at the 2001 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic - he won the show and many declared it to be Ronnie's best ever shape. A shape which he later tried to repeat at the 2002 Mr. Olympia, but failed at. Others have argued that Ronnie's best ever was the 2003 Mr. Olympia Contest.
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This first picture is evidence of Ronnie's incredible conditioning. One thing to note is that even at a lower body weight, Ronnie still had some problems with stomach distention. People always yap on and on abou "GH gut" or "roid gut" and although I don't deny the possibility that GH use can cause stomach distentionl, some other factors to consider are genetics and diet - specifically, eating thousands and thousands of calories each day to maintain and gain the amount of muscle mass to maintain competitive. Some pros have perfectly flat stomachs at upwards of 300 pounds in contest shape (Gunter Schlierkamp being a notable example). So there is more to it then speculating about GH use alone. The reality is - Ronnie will have a distended stomach at any body weight, so the best thing for him to do is to try to minimize it in contest as much as possible. The 2003 Mr. Olympia was a great example of Ronnie doing just that - in no photographs that I saw did I notice any problems with Ronnie's stomach (save for any of the pictures of him exhaling backstage). If Ronnie controls his stomach (which he can), the topic shouldn't be an issue.
Despite all the complaining about Ronnie's stomach - check out his WAIST in this picture. Ronnie without question has a genetically superior waist to shoulder / chest ratio which seems to remain as he gains more and more mass. While Jay Cutler has no problematic stomach distention to deal with, Jay's waist to shoulders / chest ratio is not as pronounced. Ronnie's waist has always been very small given his overall size.
Talk about shredded! Any bodybuilder at this size and in this condition is sure to win. If a person walked on stage today next to Ronnie (say at the 2004 Mr. Olympia), they would either come first or second. Even Ronnie at 295 pounds might not be able to defeat this version of himself, although that is debatable. Personally, I think Ronnie's new look is most dominant, and the two looks are sort of "apples and oranges" but it could be argued either way.
Stomach or no stomach, in some poses it can be hidden so well that it simply isn't even worth questioning. Ronnie will never be able to do a vacuum, but as long as he can keep his stomach sucked in and under control, it is a non issue in competition.
This is another testament to Ronnie's remarkable conditioning. He looks especially good in the most muscular pose (always has - always will).
Ronnie's legs were in perfect proportion with his upper body on the day of the contest and also shredded. One thing I found particularly impressive about Ronnie at 296 pounds in 2004 was that his quads were just as separated and striated as they had ever been - very impressive for a man just shy of 300 pounds.
Another picture showing that Ronnie had it all - great balance and proportions - especially his arms which have near perfect development for both his biceps and triceps. His delts are full and round, and his conditioning overall is obviously first rate.
Another picture of Ronnie looking just excellent - in a side chest pose. Check out THIS PICTURE of Ronnie from the 2002 Mr. Olympia contest...yikes. Talk about flat and depleted. And he was around the same body weight too! The difference would have only been a few pounds or so. Conditioning and fullness made the difference. Now check out THIS PICTURE of Ronnie Coleman at the 2003 Mr. Olympia. Wow - that's a world of difference!
Nothing needs to be said about Ronnie's back development or how Ronnie looks in any given back pose - he always looks fantastic as he possesses arguably the best back in the history of bodybuilding - some would say Dorian Yates owns that back, but I would give the edge to Ronnie.
Ronnie owns the most muscular pose at any body weight. The only other bodybuilder to ever come close is Markus Ruhl - and even with Markus Ruhl, I would give the edge to Ronnie (due to Ronnie's superior conditioning).
And as always, it's lights out when Ronnie turns around. He has a phenomenal back and tremendous conditioning. You can tell this man has been eating his wheaties (and doing his heavy deadlifts).
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