Lee Labrada comments on the state of modern bodybuilding.
Bodybuilding legend Lee Labrada got candid in a recent interview speaking on the state of modern bodybuilding and the lack of emphasis on posing in the judging criteria. Labrada believes the focus of bodybuilding has changed drastically since the Golden Era of the sport. During his heyday Labrada and his contemporaries focused far more on posing and symmetry than massive muscle size. However, things have shifted during the modern era.
Gone are the days where symmetry and posing were the main scoring criteria. These days if you’re not tipping the scales at a massive weight like the likes of two-time Mr. Olympia Big Ramy, then having a chance to win is slim to none. Mass monsters have been all the rage since the era of Dorian Yates and Ronnie Coleman. Packing on as much muscle as possible onto your frame became the main criteria of Men’s Open Bodybuilding. Symmetry and aesthetics are not enough to become Mr. Olympia these days. Without a massive frame then it’s unlikely that you’ll achieve glory.
Modern vs Old School Bodybuilding
And it’s that very fact that Lee Labrada pointed out in his interview with Terrence Ruffin. The two bodybuilders spoke on a number of topics. One of the subjects is the idea that the judging criteria changed after Dorian Yates dominated scene.
“AS MUCH AS I BELIEVE THAT POSING WAS REFINED THROUGH THE 70S UNTIL THE 80S, I DO BELIEVE THAT IT REACHED A PINNACLE IN THE LATE 80S AND EARLY 90S BEFORE THE DORIAN YATES ERA,” SAID LEE LABRADA. “THEN, BODYBUILDING SEEMED TO GO IN THE DIRECTION OF WHAT I CALL MASS-BUILDING, NOT SO MUCH BODYBUILDING.
“A LOT OF THAT STUFF [SYMMETRY, BALANCE, AND PROPORTIONS] STARTED GETTING TOSSED TO THE SIDE. AND I THINK THAT WE’RE STILL IN DANGER OF SOME OF THAT IN THE MEN’S OPEN BODYBUILDING TODAY. AGAIN, IT COMES DOWN TO THE JUDGING CRITERIA. I THINK THE BODYBUILDERS ARE GOING TO DO WHATEVER THEY ARE AWARDED FOR.”
Mass vs Posing
Lee Labrada went on to speak on the realities of judging and how presentation isn’t weighed nearly as much as past eras. This has in turn led to bodybuilders putting less emphasis on posing.
“FOR THE LONGEST TIME THEY’VE NOT BEEN REWARDED FOR HAVING EXCELLENT DISPLAY,” SAID LEE LABRADA. “THEY ARE AWARDED FOR DOING THE MANDATORY POSES WHICH COME IN THE PREJUDGING AND THE LIKE AND IT’S PRETTY MUCH SET ON FROM THAT POINT THAT POSING IS AN AFTERTHOUGHT.
“IF THERE’S NO INCENTIVE TO POSE WELL, THEN YOU’RE GOING TO BE SEEING A LOT OF WHAT YOU’VE BEEN SEEING THE LAST FEW YEARS. THEY LOOK LIKE TANKS BASICALLY CLUNKING BETWEEN STATIC POSE AND STATIC POSE WITH VERY LITTLE ON THE TRANSITION.”
It appears that Lee Labrada is stating that the art of posing has become an afterthought. With what we’ve seen in recent years, the legendary bodybuilder could have a point. Ironically his son Hunter Labrada has been able to combine both the modern and classic bodybuilding styles together.
See the full interview here.
Do you agree with Lee Labrada on the state of modern bodybuilding?