For me a bodybuilder without
symmetry, proportion and fine lines that flow from one body
part to another, isn't really a bodybuilder in the finest
sense of that word. A power
lifter, shot-putter or lumberjack is big and powerful.
To me, the whole goal is to create a work of art out of flesh.
The bodybuilders on this page
represent to me the apex of what the sport is all about.
Not enough can be said
about Steve Reeves. He had an almost god-like effect on all
who came in his presence. Men and women were awestruck by the
beauty of his face and body. He just exuded star-like quality
that would eventually lead to him being the number one
box-office attraction in 1959. The bottom line is that he
inspired a whole generation of bodybuilders and average
citizens in the 1960s which resulted in a boom in the fitness
industry. Every male wanted to be him and every female wanted
to have him.
Bill Pearl is not often
mentioned when discussions of symmetry and proportion are
the topic of conversation, but in my book Pearl is one of
the most proportioned physiques I have ever seen in person.
His physique is a real work of art with no glaring weakness,
a physique in which all parts flow to create one impressive
whole. At 5'11" Bill remains one of the taller
bodybuilders who was proportioned from head to toe.
The amazing thing is that Bill was always self-conscious
about his large head, when, in fact, his large head on that
huge body gave him an all-over proportioned physique that
most tall men could never achieve because they all look like
bodybuilder who exemplified the ideal package of symmetry,
size, and aesthetic appeal that I think bodybuilding should
be about was Lee Labrada. His shocking win of the
1986 Night of Champions over taller and heavier bodybuilders
was a welcome respite from the direction bodybuilding seemed
to be taking at the time. Though Lee would go on to
win many more pro bodybuilding contests, many of us would
have liked to have seen him win the Mr. Olympia.
No doubt his 5'6" height was his greatest nemesis.
To witness Lebrada's
symmetry in action watch this amazing video!
although also only 5'6", was able to win the 1982 Mr.
Olympia, thus becoming the greatest bodybuilder on the
planet for at least that year. Chris is a real
iconoclast since he remains the oldest man to win the Mr.
Olympia (43) and the first black Mr. America, having won
that prestigious event in 1970. Having some of
the greatest calves in the history of bodybuilding when most
competitors neglected that muscle, he also had an
outstanding back, and despite weak arms, his physique just
flowed with an aesthetic grace that is missing from the
current competitive arena.
Another David among the
modern Goliaths, Makkawy was one of the few bodybuilders able to defeat Lee
Haney, as he did in the 1983 England, Sweden, Switzerland
Grand Prix and World Pro Championships. An outstanding
poser, it was difficult to find a flaw in Makkawy's
At 5'9" Zane was another
wonderfully proportioned athlete who consistently defeated
larger competitors by the sheer elegance of his physique and
posing. Those who only see pictures of him will never
understand the impact of Frank's stunning muscularity and
stage presence that made the other bodybuilders look like
amateurs. His three Mr. Olympia wins say it all.
razor-sharp, dense, and full muscularity in Greek-god like
proportion, Benfatto is clearly one of the most
aesthetically pleasing physiques to ever grace the posing
dais. Only his oversized head mars the perfection he
presents in his quest for physical excellence.
As probably the most
gifted bodybuilder to ever mount the competitive stage, Flex
Wheeler had the perfect bone structure with volumes of
muscle exploding out of small joints in amazing eye-pleasing
proportion. Unfortunately, Flex's gifts were to be
ruined by the drugs necessary to compete in today's pro
bodybuilding contests so that he ruined his proportions and
almost died with failed kidneys. Nevertheless, Flex
Wheeler was a joy to behold at his peak.
Anibal Lopez never weighed more than the upper 160s to
lower 170s but displayed such physical perfection that he
was able to win the WBBG Pro Mr. America and the WBBG Mr.
World. As with these other men, it is truly difficult
to spot flaws in Anibal's physique or his presentation of
that physique. He was another work of art in motion!