Arnold Schwarzenegger, is by far, the most known and influential bodybuilder of all time. He may not have been the best from a physique perspective in terms of modern standards, but a lot of debate continues as to whether this was a result of the advances of today. Would Arnold be as big as modern day bodybuilders? Would he still maintain his aesthetics? Here’s a list of some of the most influential factors that would differ between his time and now.
Advances in Exercise Science and Nutrition
There are many training and nutrition techniques that we look at back in the day that are outdated and plain inefficient. Back then, many bodybuilders trained way too long with too much volume. There wasn’t as vast of an exercise selection and more importantly, there wasn’t as much knowledge about nutrition and the human body. There is no doubt Arnold would have maximized the modern day advances in both and would have a different physique from that alone.
Steroids and Other Drugs
Without a doubt, many bodybuilders today rely way too heavily on drugs such as anabolic steroids, insulin, growth hormone, and more. Back in the “golden era”, many bodybuilders would only take testosterone and maybe some oral dianabol on the side, and would take less amounts than your average gym rat that barely looks like he lifts. It’s unfortunate to say, but the drugs may be the biggest separator to someone like Arnold that has his training discipline and nutrition down. His physique would look slightly different since carrying more weight will inevitably increase the waist size a little bit, but if we look at pictures of Arnold at his biggest, his legs also had a level of fullness that he only had at higher bodyweights. Since his legs were one of his weaknesses and they weren’t a weakness at higher bodyweights, I believe he would be able to maintain a physique similar to IFBB pro Cedric McMillan. He would not need to use high amounts of growth hormone and insulin, and would likely not use such in fear of a blocky physique.
A Higher Standard
Many times, bodybuilders would purposely limit themselves back in the golden era simply because that’s what the judges were looking for. There are several pictures of Arnold being much fuller while maintaining conditioning in the off season. Their legs weren’t as big because it wasn’t stressed as much for overall aesthetics. With Arnold’s mindset alone, it is likely he would overcome and adapt to whatever is required to win with modern standards.
It is in my honest prediction that with Arnold’s mindset alone, he would still be able to be a top-10 Mr. Olympian, just like Cedric Mcmillan has the capability of doing when he comes in shape. His work ethic and champion demeanor would have him adapting and being ahead of the curve regardless of the generation. I would imagine him competing at about 260-280 lbs on stage, while maybe not being the biggest, he would have the most aesthetic physique of the big guys and would still sport arms that were bigger than everyone else’s as well as his chest.