on a recent episode of VPX Shotgun Radio, with John Romano and Lee Priest, the hosts discussed a new judging criteria which seeks to mark down Men's Physique competitors with "overly muscular calves." This is serious cause for alarm, as the men that compete here (unlike the Women in the counterpart WPD) are already hiding their quads, glutes, and hamstrings with loose-fitting boadshorts that span the body from waist to knees. It's bad enough that most guys nowadays don't do squats, much less stiff leg deadlifts or lunges! This Division is essentially telling guys it's ok not to have legs and to walk around looking like lawndarts (a pretty accurate comparison, made by John Romano, former senior editor of Muscular Development Magazine.
So what's the deal with Men's Physique anyways? Is it possible the mainstream public doesn't relate to guys like 4x Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler's physique? Might it be that 202 Bodybuilding has been such a hit, that the 210 Class is about to take off? Could it be the IFBB may want lighter physiques, possibly more natural looking (naturally without going 'natural' -- what's that anyways?).
But sure, I could see Men's Physique really doing well with the mainstream public, but feeding into the ignorance of training chest and arms everyday, with no attention to lower back/hams and quads, what is are the IFBB and NPC looking to accomplish.
And what do the athletes have to say? In a recent video shot by Bill Comstock for RxMuscle.com, titled "A Day in Venice," IFBB Mens Physique Pro Steve Cook expressed some very heartfelt concerns. For eleven minutes, the viewer is treated/punished to watching IFBB Pro Jerome Fergueson, the self-proclaimed guru trainer for the new division, do everything in his power to keep Steve exhausted and out of breath. Interestingly, when Fergueson gets lost, maybe to make another Planet Fitness commercial where he can make a mockery of the sport of bodybuilding, Steve Cook wastes no time to speak from the heart. He said the following:
I really hope John & Lee give their thoughts. The first chance this Pro gets, all he wants is to be able to train hard, showcase his legs, be allowed to pose more, and basically, truly present a MAN's physique. John & Lee have never attacked the athletes - and they are 100% for the fans, but these judges, and the drummer(s) they march to, are implementing all sorts of ridiculous policies that quite frankly leave me at a loss for words. John & Lee are the only ones to hold certain parties ACCOUNTABLE. I mean, am I the only one that's left asking why on Earth Steve Cook would end such a statement asking for such BASIC, COMMON SENSE requests with -- IF IT'S ALLOWED TO BE DONE. For a Pro Athlete in a Division that I have socks older than, you gotta wonder just how BLATANT the control is and just how warped the reasoning behind it is.
"One thing I'd really like to see in the next three years as Men's Physique really evolves, is a standardized short... that would show off the legs, show off the hamstrings, the glutes; just give the judges more to judge on. That and maybe allowing us to pose a little bit. Then I could see this Men's Physique thing really taking off, IF IT'S ALLOWED TO BE DONE." (11:54 - 12:30)
Watch the video on RxMuscle.com
The NPC/IFBB should have the integrity to recognize that the lawndart look is not going to appeal to the mainstream, and if it does, it goes agains tall of the Weider Principles that speak to a full body's worth of muscle. Arnold & Lou, Franco & Zane, they all hit legs, they had hamstrings, glutes, and CALVES! What the HELL are they smoking to first cover the largest muscle in the body and then to have the AUDACITY to suggest they'll mark done OVERLY muscular calves?"
It's a disservice to the kids/guys in the gym, it's a disservice to the fans -- who like muscle, and seemingly, it's a disservice to the athletes themselves -- who are troubled by there not being a uniform suit, guys that want to train within the specified SIZE and SYMMETRY requirements of the new class, and who want to showcase a strong, healthy, streamlined physique.
I wonder what Bob Cicherillo would have to say about Steve Cook's comments? I personally applaud the MPD Pro, who I think has SICK back development, incredible core strength, and has the looks to be the next Bob Paris and/or Gary Strydom for the sport. I just hope he doesn't get blackballed because he spoke his mind during a video where he was mostly subjected to ridiculous exercises that guys with muscular physiques rarely do -- juiced or natural. Anyone care to wager how many box jumps Jay Cutler could do? Lol