Uniqueness is missing from Pro Bodybuilding Physiques today
Tony Pearson picks his top 5 bodybuilders of all time and laments the lack of uniqueness in modern bodybuilding physiques.
What started as a discussion of the greatest bodybuilder physiques of all time has morphed into a conversation about modern bodybuilding versus eras past. Tony Pearson struggles to pick the top 5 greatest bodybuilders of all time because so many classic bodybuilding legends had truly unique physiques. It’s a kind of stamp of originality that Pearson doesn’t see as much in professional bodybuilding physiques today. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Tony Pearson discusses how uniqueness is the missing X factor in modern bodybuilding.
During our chat with Tony Pearson, we asked him to list his 5 favorite bodybuilding physiques of all time. He started listing names like Sergio Oliva, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane and Franco Columbu. We noticed a common thread in his list – they were all Golden Era bodybuilders with a greater emphasis on aesthetics rather than mass-monster size.
We pointed him out and asked him about more modern legends like Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates and Phil Heath. Tony Pearson acknowledges that they are true legends – but perhaps due to competing primarily in the 70s and 80s, Pearson has a particular taste for the more aesthetic Golden Age.
That being said, he also thinks there is a certain x-factor missing in the most current era of bodybuilding. Tony Pearson isn’t criticizing the work ethic or skills of modern bodybuilding. On the contrary, he thinks there is simply a lack of uniqueness in the professional bodybuilding physiques we see on stage today.
“I mean you can’t tell who the top five is because everyone is unique,” Tony Pearson says in our interview. He keeps on:
“And that’s what we’re missing, I think today – it’s the uniqueness of the pros. Because in this era you can cover your face and hold a picture – you know who it is. You You know who’s back. You know who biceps. You know who those legs belong to. You know. You know, it’s abs. Who makes that vacuum. We know. And that’s unique. You’re a unique work.
Tony Pearson goes on to mention Kai Greene, apparently the most recent professional bodybuilder he can think of who felt unique in his physique as well as his pose. In fact, a lot of uniqueness can also come in the form of a pose. Something that modern bodybuilders live in the shadow of previous legends.
Tony Pearson doesn’t seem to blame today’s professional bodybuilders for their lack of effort. When it comes to posing, modern bodybuilding simply suffers from being compared to so much that has come before it. He explains:
“Everyone is copying everyone now. Classic Physique guys – I can say oh it’s Shawn Ray’s pose or it’s Flex Wheeler’s pose or it’s Zane’s pose. I can recognize all of them. the poses of guys from the old days”
Tony Pearson has an interesting point. Now there are reference points to other famous coachbuilders. For example, Nick Walker is often compared to Dorian Yates and even Ronnie Coleman for his similar gigantic physique. He’s not just “Nick Walker: The One and Only”. It’s “Nick Walker: The Second Coming of Dorian Yates”. It changes the conversation and perspective on today’s athletes.
Tony Pearson recognizes this. “It’s hard work,” he continues in our interview. It is in some ways harder work than older generations. The Golden Era pioneered bodybuilding as we know it today. Is there room for something really new in the sport? Or will today’s athletes always be compared in some way to a previous legend?
You can watch Tony Pearson go into detail on this subject by watching our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above!