Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Best Ever?

In the December issue of Muscular Development they pose the question of whether or not Ronnie Coleman is the greatest bodybuilder of all time. Now, MD didn't ask me for my opinion, so I will give it to you here.

First of all, I am not sure that I even agree with the notion that there is any one best bodybuilder of all time. Each generation brings with it new competitors, new nutrition and training information and new supplements. It's sort of like comparing Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds. Nevertheless, I will play along with the premise.

It comes down to three contenders- Ronnie Coleman, Lee Haney, or Dorian Yates. But wait, you say, what about Arnold? Sure, the Australian Oak was a great bodybuilder, but there is a significant difference between Arnold and more recent Mr. Olympias. First, Arnold did not have the sort of competition that Dorian, Lee or Ronnie have had. Second, while Arnold had incredible genetics and drive, his overall development cannot compare to the other three.

So, who is the best ever? One could make an argument for any of the above, but I would pick Lee Haney. While Ronnie has now tied Lee's record of eight consecutive Mr. O's, and Ronnie is genuinely a nice guy, he just does not have the aesthetics that Lee had. Haney was a monster of mass, but still retained very pleasing lines, including one of the sport's best v-tapers.

For an absolute freak of muscle mass, Ronnie has great striations and condition, but too often he has come to shows with a bloated stomach and slightly off conditioning. This is no way is meant to take away from Ronnie, for he is a great bodybuilder. But, at least for now, Lee reigns supreme.


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