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What's Old Is New Again

  • Written by Doug Schneider

In April, we did something we’ve never done before – we took a break from our regular publishing schedule in order to better prepare the SeriousAboutMuscle.com site for the rest of this year and beyond. As a result, there was no new cover, articles, or “Iron Shot” or “Hot Shot” photos. Instead, we worked behind the scenes.

What we were mostly doing was working on a site redesign that you’ll see unveiled in the next couple of months. This new site will allow us to produce even better event and competitor coverage than we do now, particularly when it comes to providing photos – it’ll display many times the number of photos we current show. Soon, this old site (it’s been about five years since our last redesign) will turn into something new and very exciting for physique fans

Speaking of old and new, one thing we did when did when we were working on the redesign was go through our entire photo archive to see exactly what we have. When we did that, we noticed a very exciting trend – many of the Physique Canada bodybuilders are implementing old-school type posing into their onstage presentations. I’m talking about real classic-type poses reminiscent of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Larry Scott, and Frank Zane, among others. In fact, Denis Pedneault based his 2013 Canadian Championships routine around poses inspired by the legends of the sport, which he explained in a video we produced that featured him that you can watch on YouTube. And nowhere was this old-school trend more evident recently than with Physique Canada Tier 1 Pro Alexandre Villeneuve, who can be seen on this month’s cover doing a vacuum pose at the 2016 Canadian Championships – a pose that comes from way, way back. He, like Denis, strikes many poses that were popular in the past, but the vacuum has become his signature one, since he does it so well.

Alexandre VilleneuveAlexandre Villeneuve

The cover photo was taken by Dave Paul, while the photo above, with his arms outstretched, was taken by me. That certainly wasn’t the first time Alexandre had done that pose – he’s done it at every Physique Canada competition he’s been in. But we got the best pictures of him at the 2016 Canadians because, after photographing Alexandre’s posing routines a few times now, we were anticipating that this pose would happen and we were ready for it.

The vacuum pose used to be popular among the best competitors in the 1960s and ’70s; however, in the ’80s it was dying out, and by the 1990s, it was pretty much gone from the stage. Why did that happen? Most blame it on the enormous amounts of drugs that the top competitors were taking in the 1990s, which allowed them to get massive beyond belief, but also made their bellies hang out like Santa Claus’s. As a result, they couldn’t even do the vacuum pose even if they wanted to. I’m not kidding, either! What’s more, the ’roid guts were so bad for so many years that some people began calling bodybuilding belly-building instead.

Not much has changed in the drug-fueled competitions. Although some of today’s leading competitors in non-drug-tested competitions are able to keep their guts in check to a respectable degree, many still have them hanging out as if they were pregnant. Of those with reasonably tight waistlines, I have yet to see a credible vacuum pose from one of them – certainly nothing like Frank Zane was doing in the 1970s, or Alexandre is doing right now.

Frank ZaneFrank Zane

I credit Physique Canada’s strict drug testing policies for allowing competitors like Alexandre to do the vacuum pose. Quite simply, you can’t get a ’roid belly without using steroids. But I also credit the mindset that many of the Physique Canada bodybuilding competitors have. Physique Canada is now in its sixth year of competitions, and from what I’ve seen, the competitors generally don’t have the big-as-possible, win-at-all-costs attitudes that so many elsewhere have. Instead, they take a thoughtful approach to bodybuilding, thinking not only about size, but also shape, symmetry, definition, and, of course, posing and presentation, which is just like the bodybuilders did decades ago. So when it comes to bodybuilding in Physique Canada, I think it’s safe to say that what’s old is new again – and that’s a very good thing for building the credibility of the sport back up to where it once was.

Doug Schneider
SeriousAboutMuscle.com Founder and Publisher

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2016 Canadian Competitions

April 2 – SAF Spring Spectacular (women’s categories only)

June 10-11 - SAF Summer Spectacular (women's categories only)

June 11 - Physique Canada National Classic (men's and women's categories)

October 21-22 - SAF Fall Spectacular (women's categories only)

October 22 - Physique Canada Canadian Championships (men's and women's categories)

Note: Competitions and dates subject to change without notice

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SeriousAboutMuscle.com logoPublisher: Doug Schneider

Art director: Karen Fanas

Contributors: Denis Pedneault, Dave Paul, Steve Duperre, Francois Beauregard, Erik Alstrup, Al Kabia

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