Lee Haney Criticizes Today’s Bodybuilders (And He’s NOT Wrong)

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by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN

If you’re reading this article, chances are you already know who Lee Haney is. Although the article doesn’t focus on this bodybuilding legend, if you don’t know who he is, I highly recommend you hit up Google and ask.

That being said, one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time was on a podcast where he talked about today’s bodybuilders and the look they show on stage.

What he said was not what most people expected, but what many thought would be said. It’s no industry secret that people pay to see this extraordinary show. They go to bodybuilding shows to see amazing things on stage. But when did we go too far down that road?

Look, when the great Lee Haney said that guys like Nick Walker are too big, we expect that from bodybuilders from a different era.

In fact, we have touched on this before in another article that I published on different bodybuilders at different times, giving their opinions on other eras and who had the best bodies on stage.

But, let’s have a little fireside chat on the topic of today’s bodybuilders. Some may agree, some may disagree, and some will agree to disagree.

Side note: If you want to check out the full interview with Lee Haney, go to Ron Harris’ channel.

Lee Haney Doesn’t Like the Look Today

Before people start yelling in the comments, “Take that guy out!” and all kinds of nonsense, I don’t see anything where Lee Haney is clearly beating the sport of bodybuilding or tearing down today’s bodybuilders.

Instead, what I see is a man who came from a different era with a different perspective and perspective on things. You have to remember that you come from an era when guys like Frank Zane and Arnold delivered bodies that weren’t close to today’s bodybuilders but instead delivered better lines, mid-lines, and fit.

I will not blame his opinion because he is not wrong. Today, many bodybuilders are mass freaks, and while I don’t agree with that look or direction, I fully understand that the “freak factor” is a spectacle and puts bums on seats.

If all the bodybuilders today had bodies like Zane, Nubret, Arnold, Labrada, and other greats, would we be complaining? No, because we wouldn’t know otherwise.

It seems that things started to take shape when Ronnie Coleman dominated. The reason he won was because he was feeding everyone (while bringing a complete package to the stage). So, why does he have a dress full of Sandow’s lips from the Olympia.

Ticket Sales Mean As Much As Today’s Looks

People walk, and money talks. You can’t deny the fact that Olympia sells out every year, even with many monsters being the main attraction. Could some of the audience be in other categories, such as Classic Physique? They can, and I will contact you shortly.

But with the stadiums being sold out and the judges obviously leaning towards the big boys on stage, it means everyone needs to bring the same package if they want a shot at winning the show.

Do I personally think this is good for the game? No. And it has nothing to do with giant monsters versus “classic looking” bodies. My biggest concern is the health of the athletes. I really don’t feel that many people talk about this enough.

There is absolutely nothing healthy about a 5′ 5” man who weighs 300+ pounds. People can say all they want about jab athletes, but I look at things from a heart health perspective, and being that big turns these athletes into a ticking time bomb. Their lifestyle, diet, drug use and so on have already lit the fuse. How long that fuse lasts before things blow is anyone’s guess.

So, I look at things through a different lens. I love the sport of bodybuilding. I just don’t like the exaggeration that athletes will “win at all costs.” I don’t want to see people doing irreparable damage to themselves or losing their lives because of games that, unless you’re in the top five, you can’t make a living.

Is Classic Physique the Next Main Attraction?

In fact, it’s hard to say. And as much as I enjoy watching the Classic Physique division, my fear ​​is that this group will die and lose its luster when Chris Bumstead retires and hangs up his static titles.

Let’s call it what it is… Chris owns that section and has it locked. Olympia is his for the taking. He is everything Classic Physique is. All in all, I think he’s fit for the sport.

I don’t know how many years Chris has left in him; he has done a lot for this game, but at this stage he has a good business, a beautiful wife and a child. Do you really NEED to compete? Financially, you are fine. There is no reason to put his body through all that, especially with his illness that has sidelined him a few times.

Overall, I’m a big fan of both bodybuilding and Classic Physique. I wish the Men’s Bodybuilding division would turn things around a bit. In my head, I consider guys like Andrew Jacked to be the ideal male body builder (but that shouldn’t surprise me as I’ve always loved Dexter Jackson’s body). But, who am I, right? I’m just another outside writer looking.





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