2022 Texas Pro Bodybuilding Results — Andrew Jacked Wins Men’s Open Title – BarBend

The 2022 Texas Pro bodybuilding show is in the history books, and the Men’s Open contest was one of the closest shows of the 2022 season. The top four contenders in the lineup — Chinedu Andrew Obiekea (also known by his preferred name, Andrew Jacked), Steve KucloKamal Elgargni, and Martin Fitzwater were neck-in-neck and trading places on the stage throughout the evening of Aug. 14, 2022, in Irving, TX. 

The top 10 for the men’s open are below:

2022 Texas Pro Bodybuilding Show Results

  1. Andrew Jacked
  2. Martin Fitzwater
  3. Steve Kuclo
  4. Kamal Elgargni
  5. Quinton Eriya
  6. Jephte Cherenfant
  7. Carlos Emmanuel Longoria Rodriguez
  8. Phil Clahar
  9. Joe Mackey
  10. Eddie Bracamontes

In the end, Jacked was declared the champion. Fitzwater came in second in what was considered just as big of a surprise, and Kuclo finished in third place.

[Related: Reigning Ms. Olympia Andrea Shaw Breaks Down Her Off-Season Workout Program]

Winner — Andrew Jacked

There are very few people that can outsize Kuclo, but Jacked certainly did. At 6’2”, he was the tallest man in the lineup, and he appeared to have as much muscle as the “King Snake,” if not more. The 2022 Arnold Amateur winner made his pro debut, and he joins a list of champions such as Hunter Labrada, Sergio Oliva Jr, Phil Heath, and Flex Wheeler as athletes who won their first shows in their first contests. He will also go to the 2022 Olympia as a competitor for the first time, but he’s already committed to competing in the Arnold Classic UK contest before that.

Second Place — Martin Fitzwater

Fitzwater didn’t have the size that Jacked on Kuclo did, but he was ripped and holding little water underneath his skin. This is his highest placing as a pro, and it’s boosted his confidence that he beat more experienced veterans in this lineup. If he does another show this year, he will be a threat to win a title and move on to the Olympia as well.

Third Place — Steve Kuclo

The home state contender had his fans behind him at this show. This is the second straight year that Kuclo was considered the favorite going into the contest but was unable to convert the victory. The judges had him squarely in third for both rounds of judging. As was the case in 2021, the men that placed ahead of him this year were simply on their A games. There is no word on if or when Kuclo will compete again.

Other Division Winners

Over 100 IFBB Pro League competitors faced the judges in Irving. The winners of each of the eight divisions are all moving on to the 2022 Olympia, while the second through fifth place finishers will earn Tier 4 points in the Olympia Qualification System.

  • Second – four points
  • Third – three points
  • Fourth – two points
  • Fifth – one point

The top 10 final standings for the other seven divisions are below. 

212 Division

  1. Kerrith Bajjo
  2. Cody Drobot
  3. Jordan Janowitz
  4. Ricky Moten Jr.
  5. Martin Gomez
  6. Ahmed Elwardany
  7. Stephen Didoshak
  8. Carlos A. Rodriguez Hernandez
  9. David Robinson
  10. Kevin Johnson

Classic Physique

  1. Courage Opara
  2. Valentin Petrov
  3. Jorge Luis Guerrero Gallagos
  4. John Le
  5. Florian Poirson
  6. Ashwin Lucas
  7. Jared Thompson
  8. Vincent Krause
  9. Matt Maldonado
  10. Adam Thomas

Men’s Physique

  1. Daniel Ammons
  2. Andrei Lincan
  3. Charjo Grant
  4. Jeremiah Maxey
  5. Jeremy Coleman
  6. Stan Morrison
  7. Micah Thomas Jr.
  8. George Brown
  9. Anthony Gilkes
  10. Zach Savole

Women’s Physique

  1. Melissa Teich
  2. Pamela Canfield
  3. Ana Harias
  4. Ashley Jones
  5. Gessica Campbell
  6. DeSunka Dawson
  7. Heather Grace
  8. Ashlynn Richardson
  9. Rulying Bian
  10. Michele Steeves


  1. Jessica Reyes Padilla
  2. Autumn Cleveland
  3. Tamera Barrett
  4. Felisha Livezey
  5. Jennifer Zienart
  6. Jessica L. Kendrick
  7. Larhannah Robinson
  8. Ashley Felperin
  9. Amie Mock
  10. Martina Yabekova


  1. Daraja Hill
  2. Jodie Yuncker
  3. Roxana Marquez
  4. Jordan Brannon
  5. Shelby Pierce
  6. Anya Nicholson
  7. Hope Castelli
  8. Tamekla Carter
  9. Carla Garthwaite
  10. Monica Rubio


  1. Devyn Cambre
  2. Lili Dong
  3. Amanda Burnett
  4. Diana Laura Verduzco Carreno
  5. Jen Scarborough Zollars
  6. Priscilla Lynd
  7. Haley Johnson
  8. Brooke Donnelly
  9. Daniela Esquivel Castillo
  10. Celeste Morales

Featured image: @andrewjacked | photo by Will Wittmann (@w_wittmannphoto on Instagram)

Steroids Vs. Natural Bodybuilding — Mike O’Hearn Addresses Viral Interview With KENNY KO – BarBend

The 11th episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show presented Generation Iron kicked off with a bang. The episode’s cold open was a montage of people saying various things to the effect of O’Hearn being unwilling to admit that he is not a natural bodybuilder and takes anabolic steroids to help achieve his lean muscular physique.

The series of commentators speculating about whether or not O’Hearn takes steroids resulted from a presumably spontaneous interview he did during an appearance at Iris Kyle‘s Powerhouse Gym in Las Vegas, NV. The interviewer, KENNY KO, asked O’Hearn if he took TRT (testosterone replacement therapy), and while O’Hearn didn’t directly answer, he said, “What would be the point?” The two argued whether or not science suggests that testosterone levels dip as people age.

Check out O’Hearn’s discussion of that interview with Vlad Yudin in the video below, courtesy of Generation Iron‘s YouTube channel. But first, for context, here is O’Hearn’s interview with KO:

[Related: Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay Weighs 336 Pounds 18 Weeks Out From the 2022 Mr. Olympia]

In the interview, O’Hearn blasted KO for stating information to his 610,000 YouTube subscribers that O’Hearn didn’t believe was true. Before explaining his position, O’Hearn called over Figure competitor Mona Muresan, 46, to show off her abs and compare them to KO’s. Muresan’s ab reveal was how O’Hearn tried to disprove the narrative he sees disseminated amongst the fitness industry regarding aging and the physical derailment that supposedly accompanies it.

You guys go, “No matter what, you’re destroyed by 40.” That’s the idea that’s pushed, is it not?

KO agreed with O’Hearn’s assessment. O’Hearn then assumed the position that at 15 years old, O’Hearn was stronger than KO has ever been. While O’Hearn appeared combative, both O’Hearn and KO clarified that they have mutual respect.

KO reiterated his question if O’Hearn was a natural bodybuilder or not. O’Hearn didn’t say “yes” or “no.”

How could I compete throughout my entire career — doing drug tests — and doing TV shows…drug tested…”

It wasn’t clear where or why O’Hearn interpreted the question through the lens of strength. He questioned KO again regarding his strength compared to a female bodybuilder in her mid-40s. KO seemed content to concede that he isn’t “a strong individual,” noting that “gear doesn’t work for him.” “Gear” is another way of saying steroids.

Eventually, O’Hearn found a more targeted point: he wants those like KO with large audiences not to pedal the notion that to acquire an elite physique like O’Hearn’s, one needs to take drugs like TRT or other steroids. KO clarifies that he believes his message is supporting the furtherance of physiques drug-free. For reference, KO has previously admitted to using steroids in a video published on his YouTube in 2017.

[Related: Hunter Labrada Discusses Training Frequency, Carb Selection, and How to Become a Bodybuilder]

KO contended how much influence genetics have on one’s physique and how well one responds to steroids. O’Hearn seemed to bat that idea away, suggesting that a committed lifestyle of hard work in the gym ultimately leads to success. While there may have been room to agree that genetics and a committed lifestyle of hard work in the gym have significant roles in strength and aesthetics, they didn’t find it.

I will never be the guy that says, “I have genetics.”

O’Hearn hoped that people who watched the video would give feedback about it. The video has received nearly 165,000 views at the time of this article’s publication. KO’s pinned comment on the video stated, “I’ll let Mike’s body language and question avoidance do the work,” in response to “comments of people upset [KO] didn’t “pressure” Mike more.”

O’Hearn responds to KO’s video and gives his reaction to its virality in the video below:

[Related: Who Does 4-Time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler Expect In the Top Five of the 2022 Mr. Olympia Contest?]

Following the cold open, episode 11 of The Mike O’Hearn show opened with O’Hearn expressing his understanding that KO intends to get views on his videos as that’s how he makes a living as a “tabloid YouTuber.” 

Their fanbase are the guys that want excuses.

O’Hearn gave some ground to the KO’s notion of genetics having significant influence, telling Yudin, “everybody at the top level has some kind of genetics.” Yudin believed engaging with KO fueled the tabloids, which he considered “a waste of time.” Yudin’s suggestion changed O’Hearn’s stance from a few moments prior.

I stand corrected. Is it a waste of time? It really is because they’ve already made up their minds.

O’Hearn had B-roll one of his recent training videos and one of a session of him in the 90s to compare which version of himself Yudin thought was stronger. O’Hearn intended to prove that his strength has remained steady for decades, though his muscle density has visibly improved.

[Related: Watch Brett Wilkin Train Back With Bodybuilder Martin Fitzwater Before the 2022 Texas Pro]

O’Hearn seemed hopeful that KO and similar platforms would share the pros and cons of using steroids and the implications that they could have on health. He wrapped up episode 11 to further address the question of “was it a waste of time” to engage with KO. O’Hearn reverted to his original position that it was not.

O’Hearn urged those in the fitness industry who “talk about the other side of bodybuilding — the chemical part of it” to speak up. While he didn’t name anyone specifically, he feels they need to give “justice” to what good nutrition and training can do without using steroids.

Featured image: @kennykoooo on Instagram

Why Marcus Filly Created the Functional Bodybuilding Method – Men’s Health

MARCUS FILLY DOESN’T want you pounding out rounds of EMOM thrusters until your shoulders can barely move, and he doesn’t want you going so hard during Murph that you’re a quivering mess when you finally finish. Yes, the former CrossFit Games contender knows pile-driving past fatigue is a CrossFit staple, and he understands why you think the secret to building muscle and strength is always to just work harder. But the veteran coach has other ideas.

Sure, you have to push your limits in your training. But CrossFit—and, more broadly, the fitness dogma of no pain, no gain—has long pushed you well past exhaustion, often leaving you to peel yourself off the ground after every work- out. And Filly has seen what that leads to: It may blast calories and help you build muscle in the short term, but it can lead to diminishing results over the long haul. It usually causes burnout. From running to bodybuilding, too much of the fitness industry pushes you to chase fatigue above all else. “Blow through all your mental, emotional, and physical resources in your workouts and you’re not going to have the same capacity for your job, wife, husband, or other interests,” says Filly, a California-based coach. You’re seeking better health, but you’re actually robbing yourself of it, he says.

The solution is what Filly calls Functional Bodybuilding, and it’s a kinder, gentler version of classic HIIT that still helps you build muscle—but doesn’t leave you feeling (and fearing) every moment of every workout. It’s an approach that’s gaining attention: Filly has nearly 860,000 Instagram followers, and his Persist workout program has about 10,000 subscribers. He even has an exercise, the Filly press, named after him. (You’re going to learn it, too.) The protocol itself is born of Filly’s own experience. Six years ago, he was one of CrossFit’s strongest, in part because of a regimen of three-a-day workouts. Yes, three a day! Each session was exactly what you’d expect: Filly took on WOD after WOD, lifting heavy and scoring many reps as he carved six-pack abs and forged elite strength, building to a 550-pound deadlift.

marcus filly works out at his home in novato, california, united states on june 3, 2022

Balazs Gardi

The approach earned results, propelling Filly to a 12th-place finish at the 2016 CrossFit Games. The downside: His mind and body were wrecked. Days after the Games, he struggled to find a reason to go to the gym. Even worse, all those reps of power cleans, pullups, and burpees left him battling constant soreness in his shoulders, hips, and “places I’d never dealt with in the past.” “I was toast,” he says. “I went from feeling like the fittest to the least fit person in the room.”

Filly wound up quitting the gym entirely for two full months (an eternity for today’s no-days-off runner or strength-training fiend), but his mind was never far from fitness. Done with CrossFit, Filly, who’d majored in molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley and started med school before turning to the program, rethought his entire training plan, searching for ways to build strength without wearing down his body with heavy weights and huge reps.

When he returned to the gym, he’d built his own workout style, one that maintains a strong focus on form during EMOM and AMRAP challenges, increases recovery time, and lets you work with lighter weights. And the three key tenets of his style can be applied to any workout you do—CrossFit or not.

Marcus Filly’s Rules for Functional Bodybuilding Success

Rule 1: Technique Over Tonnage (and Tons of Reps)

marcus filly works out at his home in novato, california, united states on june 3, 2022

Balazs Gardi

Filly knows all about the classic CrossFit pullup stereotype, the athlete’s entire body flailing in midair as they rip through reps. He understands it, too. “In competition,” he says, “you’re trying to do the minimum that you can get away with. That means performing each rep in a way that just barely clears the bar for the acceptable standard.”

There’s a good chance you’ve done this in your own workouts, too, rushing through extra reps of biceps curls or pushups. Those rushed reps with shaky form invite injury.

Filly’s programs use two tricks to break that habit. The first: strict tempo. During the lowering portion of any exercise, count to 3 seconds. Pause for 1 second at the bottom of the exercise. Then aim to lift quickly. This tempo keeps each exercise focused on the muscles you’re training, sparing your joints pain and injury.

The second: focus on form. One way to do this is by integrating one and a quarter reps, which can be used during most strength-based exercises. Filly does it often in the cyclist squat. You’ll set up in goblet-squat position, your heels on a weight plate, then bend at the knees and hips, lowering slowly into a squat (for 3 seconds). Instead of standing back up, you’ll go one fourth of the way up, lower back down, then stand up. Try it for 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.

Rule 2: Get Off-Balance



When you follow Filly’s first rule, you’ll inevitably have to use lighter weights than usual. That doesn’t mean you won’t challenge every muscle. He ensures that your entire body gets a workout by using offset-load moves, which have you lifting weight with one arm or leg at a time.

And no, that’s not as easy as it sounds, because offset-load moves require your abs and glutes to kick into overdrive to stabilize your body. Don’t believe him? Think back to your last time lifting a heavy suitcase into the overhead bin before a flight. Harder than a lateral raise, right? Filly knows why. “That’s a one-arm lift with a twist and a slight lunge,” he says. “All one-sided moves.”

Offset-load moves can challenge your whole body even more if you hold weights in both hands while performing reps on only one side. That’s the idea behind the Filly press, a shoulder-press variation named for the coach. To do it, stand holding a kettlebell in your left hand at your shoulder. Hold a dumbbell at your shoulder in your right hand. Keeping the kettlebell close to your chest, press the dumbbell overhead, then lower. Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps per side. And expect it to be harder than you think: The midback muscles on your left side work overtime to keep the kettlebell stable.

Rule 3: Be an All-Around Star

marcus filly works out at his home in novato, california, united states on june 3, 2022

Balazs Gardi

Yes, Filly wants you to do cardio. He keeps it fun, though, by relying on intervals three times a week.

Yes, it’s tempting to fixate on packing on muscle or getting an exercise (think deadlift or bench press) superstrong or dominating every morning run. After all, most athletes focus on specific traits (endurance, speed, strength). Filly knows it, too. “That was true of me in my competitive days,” he says. “The marketing message we hear is that if you reach an elite level of fitness, you’ll naturally look and feel healthier. But that’s completely inaccurate.”

Truth is, overfocusing on a few gym ideas can be antithetical to your health. You may want to build a massive chest, but if you never hone your flexibility or cardio, you’ll struggle to haul a bag of groceries several blocks home or to reach the top shelf at the grocery store pain-free.

Filly’s fix is a hybrid workout three days a week: Spend 10 minutes stretching, 10 minutes building strength with exercises like dumbbell rows, 10 minutes on muscle exercises like the Filly press—and 10 to 20 minutes of (yes) cardio. That cardio shouldn’t be a mindless run or walk. Filly suggests this circuit, which can be done on a rower, ski erg, or bike (or by running):

Go 500 meters, then rest 45 seconds. Go 350 meters, then rest 45 seconds. Go 200 meters, then rest 45 seconds. Repeat for 3 rounds.

Expect to finish in about 15 minutes— but don’t expect to feel crushed. Marcus Filly doesn’t want to kill you, remember. He wants you leaving this workout feeling your best.

This story originally appears in the September 2022 issue of Men’s Health.

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2022 Texas Pro Bodybuilding Show Preview – BarBend

The 2022 Texas Pro bodybuilding show will take place in Irving, TX, on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. Four Men’s divisions and four Women’s divisions will be contested.

As is the case with all International Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness (IFBB) pro shows, the winners in each division will qualify to the 2022 Olympia, which takes place on Dec. 16-18 in Las Vegas.

Below is the roster for the Men’s Open show, listed in alphabetical order by last name:

2022 Texas Pro Roster | Men’s Open

Check out a preview of the top athletes to watch and a list of competitors for the other seven contested divisions below:

[Related: Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay Weighs 336 Pounds 18 Weeks Out From the 2022 Mr. Olympia]

Who to Watch

The 2022 Texas Pro has a relatively large (and very stacked) roster. Below are three athletes to pay close attention to as they contend for the top spot:

Steve Kuclo

Steve Kuclo was the presumed favorite for this contest in 2021, but he was upset by Iain Valliere, who was fresh off a win in Tampa the previous weekend. As a result, Kuclo did not compete at the 2021 Olympia. Redemption is on the mind, and Kuclo doesn’t want lightning to strike twice.

At six feet tall and around 280 pounds, Kuclo may be the most prominent athlete in the lineup. His victory may be imminent if he comes in ripped and not holding water.

Kamal Elgargni

2019 212 Olympia champion Kamal Elgargni made his Men’s Open debut in Tampa on Aug. 6, 2022. He left with a second-place finish to Akim Williams. Elgargni was, debatably, the best-conditioned athlete in that lineup — and he could be again in Texas. The question is if his smaller stature compared to guys like Kuclo will be too much to overcome.

The former Olympia 212 champion will be the third man this season to qualify for the Olympia in two divisions if he wins, following Shaun Clarida and Angel Calderon.

Quinton Eriya

Quinton “Beastwood” Eriya has been inching closer and closer to victory each time he competes. Eriya finished one spot behind Elgargni at the 2022 Tampa Pro, and he may be the one athlete on the roster that can match Kuclo’s size.

That level of muscularity could serve Eriya well in this contest. If nothing else, he will get to test himself against a superstar that has appeared on bodybuilding’s biggest stages more than a handful of times.

Eriya will make his Olympia debut in 2022 if he earns his qualification in this contest.

Other Divisions

The second through fifth place finishers will earn Tier 4 points in the Olympia Qualification System, and the top three finishers in that system will also move on to the Olympia.

  • Second – four points
  • Third – three points
  • Fourth – two points
  • Fifth – one point

Over 110 IFBB Pro League athletes will compete across all eight divisions in Texas. The lineups for the other seven contests are below: 


  • Mohammad Alissa
  • Kerrith Bajjo
  • Stephen Didoshak
  • Cody Drobot
  • Ahmed Elwardany
  • Martin Gomez
  • Shaun Harley
  • Carlos A. Rodriguez Hernandez
  • Ho Yeon Jang
  • Jordan Janowitz
  • Kevin Johnson
  • Seonghwan Kim
  • Michael Lacombe
  • Andre McShan
  • Ricky Moten Jr.
  • David Robinson
  • Deron Trotter

Classic Physique

  • Harold J. Bright Jr.
  • Derek Ewing
  • Jorge Luis Guerrero Gallegos
  • Isaiah Hilton
  • Vincent Krause
  • John Le
  • Ashwin Lucas
  • Matt Maldonado
  • Vladimir Markov
  • Courage Opara
  • Valentin Petrov
  • Florian Poirson
  • Jicheng Qian
  • Kim Santos
  • Dominic Semenza
  • Aaron Sparenberg
  • Adam Thomas
  • Jared Thompson

Men’s Physique

  • Daniel Ammons
  • Chidube Anene
  • Anthony Asberry
  • Ike Black
  • Josh Bridgman
  • George Brown
  • Ramon Cervantes
  • Jeremy Coleman
  • Joshua Dennison
  • Anthony Gilkes
  • Charjo Grant
  • Jordan Hubbard
  • Julian Ibes
  • Calvin Jackson
  • Brodee Jarrell
  • Marvin Jimerson
  • Greg Johnson
  • Absalom Lane
  • Mike Lawhorne
  • Janard Lee
  • Andrei Lincan
  • Jeremiah Maxey
  • Stan Morrison
  • John Murphy
  • Michael Otule
  • Khali Quartey
  • Francisco Rodriguez
  • Ronnell Seales
  • Jezreel Spencer
  • Brian Taylor
  • Micah Thomas Jr.
  • Alex Woodson

Women’s Physique

  • Ruiying Bian
  • Sarah Bow
  • Briatney Brooks
  • Gessica Campbell
  • Pamela Canfield
  • DeSunka Dawson
  • Blair Downing
  • Lenka Ferencukova
  • Eve Gagnon
  • Heather Grace
  • Ana Harias
  • Nicole Higgins
  • Ashley Jones
  • Michelle Jones
  • Cara Kerluck
  • Dolly Lazarre
  • Tembree N.Murphy
  • Brooke Pighin
  • Ashlynn Richardson
  • Miranda Sanders
  • Diana Schnaidt
  • Michele Steeves
  • Melissa Teich


  • Bethany Abeln
  • Yanghee Baek
  • Tamera Barrett
  • Yukina Betz
  • Lynn Centino
  • Autumn Cleveland
  • Kelly Durma
  • Ashley Felperin
  • Tessa Ford
  • Bailey Gutierrez
  • Lisa Hutchins
  • Marika Jones
  • Jessica L. Kendrick
  • Felisha Livezey
  • Georgina Lona
  • Taylor Mauro
  • Marcel Mayfield
  • Amie Mock
  • Jessica Reyes Padilla
  • Larhannah Robinson
  • Marisol Tavizon
  • Jennifer Zienert


  • Tessa Barresi
  • Milena Bonio
  • Jordan Brannon
  • Christy Brown
  • Tamekia Carter
  • Hope Castelli
  • Brenda Garay
  • Carla Garthwaite
  • Daraja Hill
  • Kristy Imsande
  • Paola Leon
  • Chloe Margraitner
  • Roxana Marquez
  • Anya Nicholson
  • Shelby Pierce
  • Megan Rakes
  • Monica Rubio
  • Lindsey Tucker-Broussard
  • Jodie Yuncker


  • Amanda Burnett
  • Devyn Cambre
  • Diana Laura Verduzco Carreno
  • Daniela Esquivel Castillo
  • Lili Dong
  • Brooke Donnelly
  • Avis Evans
  • Haley Johnson
  • Priscilla Lynd
  • Kathrine McLaruin
  • Celeste Morales
  • Natasha Peay
  • Nuannaree Sriwaralak
  • Jen Scarborough Zollars

Featured Image: @steveluclo on Instagram | photo by Hector Mendoza (@mdozaphotography on Instagram)

Why Do Bodybuilders Tan? — The Ultimate Guide – Fitness Volt – Fitness Volt

If you have ever watched a bodybuilding show or seen photos of bodybuilders just before, during, or after a contest, you’d know they look nothing like an average human—in a good way. They are more muscular, diced, probably a little dehydrated, and kind-of golden. 

Now, there is no special diet or a chicken breast recipe that turns bodybuilders golden from the inside out—it’s the magic of a fake tan. Most, if not all, bodybuilders get spray-tanned before stepping on stage. On the other hand, the likes of Mike O’Hearn are fake-tanned for a good part of the year, even though they do not compete anymore.

Even though sunless tans are an indispensable part of competitive bodybuilding, there are no set standards for their use. Some bodybuilders tan their bodies but let their faces go untouched. On the contrary, Choi Bong Seok, a Men’s Physique competitor, took it to the next level when he stepped onto the 2022 Arnold Classic stage in the pre-judging round without tanning his legs. 

When done perfectly, a tan looks like a bodybuilder has been spit-roasted for the right amount of time. Okay, this might have been a little too extreme. How about a shiny statue instead? When on stage, a bodybuilder presents themselves as a piece of art, showing off their chiseled physique through graceful posing. So, yeah, a shiny bronze statue. 

Competitive bodybuilders across divisions use a fake tan. Most bodybuilders opt for a rub-down, roller, or spray tan applied one day before a show. However, the process might begin two to three days in advance for athletes with a pale complexion.

In this article, we will go over why bodybuilders apply a tan before a show, the tanning process, things to consider, and how to get rid of the fake tan later. 

Bodybuilding Tanning: Why Do Bodybuilders Tan?

Bodybuilders Tan

Contrary to what most people believe, fake tanning in competitive bodybuilding is neither mandatory nor a case of monkey see monkey do. A good tan can help you present your physique better on stage and gives you a competitive advantage. 

Note: In this article, we’ll talk about why bodybuilders use a fake tan as it is the most popular type of tanning method used in competitive bodybuilding. 

1. Absorbs More Light

Pro bodybuilders try to get a dark tan because it helps them soak more light on stage. Bodybuilding shows use bright spotlights that could sink a pale individual into oblivion. A light skin tone reflects light and could make an untanned white individual resemble a shiny metal tin on stage. 

On the other hand, a dark tan coat absorbs all the light thrown at it and accentuates a bodybuilder’s features, improving their chances of placing better in the show. 

Bodybuilding is an individual sport, and a lot goes into prepping for a show. An athlete ensures they never miss a meal, workout, or supplement just for a few minutes on stage. 

You could imagine the frustration of these folks when they are told they looked washed out under the bright lights because they did not use the correct tan. These guys toil for countless hours in the gym, working on bringing up the minutest details that could give them an edge over their competition. 

The right tan accentuates every cut and curve of your physique by making you absorb more light.

Bodybuilder Doing Poses

2. Accentuates Muscle Separation and Definition

You need more than just muscle mass to win a bodybuilding show. If sheer size was the only criteria, bodybuilders would start morphing into unaesthetic meat slabs. 

A bodybuilder should have the size, shape, symmetry, balance, separation, and definition. Bodybuilding is a game of illusions and aesthetics. A proportional physique makes you look bigger, stronger, and sharper, and a good tan can take this mirage to the next level. 

If you have ever seen a bodybuilder after they get a few coats of fake tan, the difference is night and day. Muscle separation, definition, and shape are enhanced as soon as the first tan layer is applied. Plus, fake tan tends to accumulate in crevices like the creases between abs, giving your muscles a popping effect.

3. Get an Even Skin Tone

Most people have an uneven skin tone, meaning the skin tone of their legs, which are usually covered, doesn’t match their arms—generally exposed.

A fake tan is a great way to hide your blemishes or bruises—for whatever twisted reasons you might have them. Additionally, many bodybuilders have acne and stretch marks from pushing their bodies to the limit. A tan helps conceal them. 

If you think scars and stretch marks are not a big issue, check this out: 

“The judge should also look for good skin tone with an absence of surgical or other scars, spots, acne, or tattoos, which the IFBB considers as a skin blemish, tidily dressed hair, well-shaped feet, and toes. When having difficulty in placing two or more competitors who seem to be on the same level, the judge should look for faults in those aspects listed above which will help to differentiate among the competitors.”

The above is a quote from the IFBB Elite Pro rulebook, not to be confused with the IFBB Pro League that organizes the Mr. Olympia competition. The IFBB Elite Pro judges will use your skin quality, tattoos, hair, and even the shape of your feet against you in a tight contest. Not that we have a horse in this race, but if you are smart like Michal Križo, you should consider switching to the IFBB Pro League

4. To Level The Playing Field

Interestingly, tanning isn’t mandatory in the IFBB Pro League—the biggest and most popular professional bodybuilding federation. However, most bodybuilders apply a tan before stepping on stage for reasons mentioned in this article. Not wearing a tan while your competition does might skew the results in their favor. 

In the golden era, bodybuilders didn’t wear a tan but instead opted for a sun tan or bronzer. 

Remember, overdoing the fake tan can be counterproductive. Although the IFBB Pro League doesn’t mandate tan use, it regulates its use with the following rule:

“The excessive application of oils, moisturizers, skin creams, tanning creams, and like products is prohibited and may be used only in moderation. The application of tanning products must produce a natural tone so as to give the appearance of a natural tan. Products that produce an unnaturally colored tone, with an orange, yellow, red, green, or gold hue, are prohibited. Bronzing agents that produce a metallic look are also prohibited.”

5. It is the Safer Method

Most bodybuilders use a spray tan because they want to get as dark as possible for a show, and getting that amount of tan from sun tanning is extremely difficult, if not impossible, especially for white folks. 

On the other hand, actual tanning—sunbathing or laying in a tanning bed isn’t the safest way of doing it. Achieving that dark tan color on a tanning bed can expose athletes to the risk of sunburns or even skin cancer due to UV radiation.

Using a sunless tan helps a bodybuilder achieve their objective conveniently, quickly, and without putting themselves at risk of contracting skin diseases, considering most bodybuilders need to tan multiple times a year. 

The Tanning Process

Getting a fake tan for a bodybuilding show is a multi-step process and should be considered an important part of your contest prep. Leaving tan-related preparations to the last minute can hamper your placing in a show. 

This is what the tanning process for a bodybuilding show looks like:

1. Exfoliate

Competitive bodybuilders do not have the most flawless skin quality as they put their bodies through a lot, including strict diets, intense training sessions, and water manipulation. These are not conducive to picture-perfect skin. 

To fix these skin issues before applying a tan, albeit temporarily, an athlete moisturizes and exfoliates their skin. The process involves removing excess dead skin cells from all over the body, which primes your skin for the first tan coat. 

2. Shave

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that most bodybuilders are obsessive shavers. Ask a room full of bodybuilders about the one thing they would wage war against collectively, and they’ll shout back body hair.

You would want to start shaving your body at least 30 days before a show to avoid chances of acne, blemishes, or rashes.

William Bonac Getting Tan
William Bonac via protan_official/Instagram

3. Tanning

The tanning process will vary depending on your skin tone. If you are pale, you should go in for your first coat at least three days before a show. You might have to visit your tanning specialist twice a day to achieve the perfect tan. 

The tanning product is usually a liquid mixture that gets sprayed, rubbed, or rolled on. Furthermore, consider using posing gels like the ProTan Quick Bronze® before stepping on stage. 

Things To Consider While Applying a Tan

These are the things to keep in mind before going in for a tan:

1. Stage Lights

If you have the luxury of checking out the stage and lighting scheme before going in for tanning, do not pass on the opportunity. As a rule of thumb, the harder the lights, the darker your tan should be. 

2. Your Posing Suit

This part is easy if you’re a Classic Physique competitor. For the rest, you need to consider the color of your posing trunks, board shorts, and bikinis before choosing the shade of your tan. Don’t choose a posing suit that overpowers your skin tone.

Maureen Blanquisco
Maureen Blanquisco via @kyle_wurzel/Instagram

3. Take Care of the Tricky Places

Imagine a bodybuilder with the most aesthetically appealing physique you’ve ever seen. He’s walking over his competition with every pose. He hits the back lat spread, the side chest, and then the front-double biceps. However, as soon as he hits the front-double biceps, all you see are his snow-white underarms, and now, you can’t take your eyes off his underarms.

While tanning, you should ensure there are no white patches. Pay particular attention to your underarms and gluteal region for an even tan.

4. Hydration

For glowing skin, you need to be hydrated. However, we aren’t your dermatologists, and the judges won’t score you highly for your cute freckles. Moreover, the bodybuilding fans are there to witness a freak show, not a beauty pageant, unless at least it’s time for the bikini or wellness girls to walk out. 

Water retention can be a big problem for your tan. If you’re holding water while posing on stage, it’s only time before you’ll start sweating and make a mess of your tan. Also, this is exactly what happened with Hunter Labrada at the 2021 Olympia showdown. You should ensure you’re not holding water before you step on stage. 

Must Read: Understanding How Men’s Open Bodybuilding Competitions are Judged and Scored

5. The Tan Itself

There are a ton of bodybuilding tans available on the market. Most bodybuilding shows offer a tanning service at the venue and even give you a touch-up before you step on stage. 

However, no two tans are the same. You want a tan that does not have alcohol. You’ll shave your body before hitting the stage, remember? Plus, although every bodybuilder wants to look diced and crisp on stage, your tan should have a moisturizer that helps maintain a moist-skin look under the sizzling stage lights. You don’t want to look as dry as a potato chip. A little shine can bring more attention to your physique. 

Tan Removal

The fake tan removal process is pretty complex, so pay close attention. To get rid of the tan post-show — bathe!

However, it is easier said than done. No, not the showering part—that is pretty easy, to be honest, especially if you have someone helping you. A little post-show celebration in the shower never hurts—if you know what we mean, but we digress. 

Getting the spray tan off is nothing like popping out a blackhead. You can rarely get it off in a single wash. For a few days after the show, expect to walk around looking like a faded (and patchy) Garfield


Are sunless tans safe?

Fake tans contain a chemical called dihydroxyacetone, which is popularly known as DHA. This chemical absorbs into the top layer of your skin cells, resulting in the darkening of the cells. While the process might sound questionable, the DHA coloration process is harmless and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved for external use.

How long does a spray tan last?

Many companies claim that their fake tans last up to ten days and fade evenly without streaks. However, most competitive bodybuilders wash off the tan after a show or a subsequent photo shoot.

Do I need to get a spray tan for competing in a show?

Most bodybuilding federations do not mandate the use of sunless tans. However, most bodybuilders use a fake tan, and you should be prepared to be the only one on stage without a tan if you decide to go down that path.

Why do bodybuilders use such a dark tan?

Bodybuilders usually opt for the darkest tans available, and we are transitioning from bronze tans to chocolate tans. Although it might sound controversial, white bodybuilders try to get as dark as the black guys on stage.

As discussed above, dark colors absorb light, giving the darker contestants an advantage. Many white bodybuilders will go for the darkest tan available to match the color tone of the black athletes. Doing so puts every competitor on a leveled playing field.

Wrapping Up

Judging at bodybuilding shows is subjective. Most times, the competition is so tight that the judges are not looking at an athlete’s strengths but their weaknesses, and in such a situation, a good tan can make all the difference.

If you’re considering stepping on stage, give the tanning process the respect it deserves by not treating it as an afterthought. Best of luck!

Petar Klančir Bows Out of 2022 Bodybuilding Season With Biceps Injury; Vows to Train On – BarBend

On Aug. 5, 2022, Petar Klančir announced that he would not compete for the remainder of the 2022 bodybuilding season due to a “snapped” biceps tendon. It’s a massive blow for the Men’s Open competitor, who’d navigated visa challenges to enjoy one of his most active years of IFBB competition. Appearing in perhaps his best-ever shape in 2022, many critics felt that an eventual Mr. Olympia stage appearance was within his grasp. Thanks to Klančir’s never-quit attitude, this could still be the case in the future.

The Croatian first alerted bodybuilding followers to the injury news in an Instagram post:

“It’s a wrap! 2022 was an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve missed two competitions…due to US visa issues…I’ve reached first callouts without a fuss, and…placed third at the Mr. Big Evolution competition in Portugal.”

While Klančir’s biceps injury has sidelined him for the remainder of the season, the caption of his Instagram post suggests he remains in high spirits. Check it out below:

[Related: Bodybuilder Hunter Labrada Talks Best Foot Position for Quad-Focused Squats and Tips for Training Mid-Back]

Petar Klančir Vows to Continue Training

Klančir is a seasoned athlete beyond bodybuilding. The Zagrebian is a record-holding hurdler and has no intention of sitting on his laurels. He updated fans on Aug. 6, 2022, that he expects to undergo surgery to repair the tendon in his right biceps and will keep training despite this disappointing setback.

I feel positive. Maybe I can’t train arms and back, but…[can] have progress on other muscle groups, especially legs and abs.

Klančir launched his bodybuilding career with a bang when he was victorious in the 2012 NABBA Mr. Universe. In 2014, he finished second at the Amateur Olympia Europe. Then, in 2015, the Croatian earned his IFBB Pro League Card with an overall win at that year’s Mr. Olympia Amateur in Prague.

In 2016 Klančir came third in the IFBB Nordic Pro. Although this was not his last competition, it was the 2022 season that caught the attention of many observers, with an Instagram post made on July 10, 2022, showing his recent progress. It illustrated the strides he made in a comparison shot. The more recent image at the bottom of the post was him looking ripped and muscularly dense. In subsequent posts showing his huge legs, back, arms, and chest, it became apparent that Klančir would be a contender to keep an eye on.

[Related: Terrence Ruffin Shares His Optimal Pre and Post-Workout Meals]

With so much potential and points still to be won, the abrupt ending to Klančir’s 2022 season was understandably summarized as an “emotional rollercoaster.” Initially, his season got off to a false start — Klančir was forced to miss two competitions, including the 2022 New York Pro, due to US visa issues. Mercifully, this proved to be a bump in the road, as he later placed fifth in the 2022 California Pro and most recently earned third place at the 2022 Mr. Big Evolution Pro in Portugal. 

While Klančir has not disclosed further specifics of his injury at the time of this article’s publication, such as which of the three biceps tendons snapped or torn, this is a relatively common injury among bodybuilders due to the frequency and force with which they lift. How long Klančir will be out of action depends on the severity of the damage to his tendon. If surgery is required to reattach Klančir’s tendon back to the bone as he expects, recovery time will vary but will most likely be in the range of four to five months at least, according to Healthline. However, complete restoration for returning to full bodybuilding training could take up to a year. (1) Hopefully, we will see the big man from Zagreb back on the competitive stage in 2023.


  1. Torn Bicep Injury: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment. (2022). Retrieved 9 August 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/torn-bicep

Featured image: @ifbb_pro_petar_klancir on Instagram

Sheena Ohlig Talks About Her Transition from Women’s Physique to Bodybuilding – Muscle & Fitness

There are six divisions for women to compete in on the IFBB Pro League circuit. This gives competitors more options to consider based on how their physiques change as well as new challenges to face. One shining example of an athlete that has taken advantage of such an opportunity is Sheena Ohlig. She originally turned professional in Women’s Physique, but she told Femme Flex Friday hosts Lenda Murray and Whitney Jones that women’s bodybuilding was a better fit for her.

“Women’s bodybuilding, they are the trailblazer division,” said Ohlig. While she believes that the division she is in now is the best for her, she agrees that having more options is better for the athletes and fans.

“There are so many different body types for women, and I think that it validates everyone’s athletic ability.”

The former track athlete originally started in Figure, and turned pro in Physique. She had been preparing to compete in that division at the 2020 Chicago Pro.

“My coach said, ‘hey, why don’t we jump up to women’s bodybuilding, and give it a go?’” she told Jones and Murray. “Three days before the show.”

Fortunately, Ohlig was able to count on fellow pro Monique Jones to help learn the new poses. She placed 9th at that contest, but women’s bodybuilding appears to be the best fit for her today, and that is evidenced by her win at the 2021 Chicago Pro.

Ohlig is known for her contagious energy and positive outlook. That can be credited to knowing what she is able to make the most of, and not letting things outside of that bother her.

“Control what you can control. Let go of what you can’t control,” she said.

To learn more about Ohlig’s background before competing, why she took a long layoff, her aspirations for the forseeable future, and to catch all episodes of Femme Flex Friday, go to www.wingsofstrength.net or subscribe to the Wings of Strength YouTube channel. New episodes air every Friday at 6 p.m. Eastern time.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Son Couldn’t Stand Father’s Bodybuilding Supremacy Being Questioned: “Don’t Know if You’d Even Beat Lou[ Ferrigno]” – EssentiallySports

Legend Arnold Schwarzenegger made the title of Mr. Universe stand at its peak with all his achievements. Years of sweat and hard work made him achieve all the titles for bodybuilding. From attending business school to achieving the title of Mr. Olympia, a true inspiration for not just his fans but all walk of people. And, like father, like son,  Joseph Baena understands his struggles, hardwork, and follows in his footsteps for the ultimate workout.


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At the age of 24, Baena looks like Arnold’s young version. While he was usually seen in workout videos, building his muscles. 

Joseph Baena on Bodybuilding


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A few days back, Arnold’s son Joseph was featured in Bradley Martyn’s video. Martyn is a fitness influencer who makes videos related to fitness. Meanwhile, in the video, Baena explains how his college sports team rejection made him addicted to the gym. 

Baena said he was a fat kid who struggled a lot with normal activities. He said, “I was the chubby kid in my crew. It was until I joined swim my sophomore year — and I only joined swim because I didn’t make the soccer or basketball team. I got cut because I was too chubby.” 

Bradley digs at Baena in the video by saying he could beat Arnold in bodybuilding. However, on this Baena made a sarcastic remark, “I don’t know man. I don’t know if you’d even beat Lou [Ferrigno] You look like Ronnie Coleman met Frank Zane.” 

Bradley questioned Baena if he knew anyone who could beat Arnold. Then Baena said, “The lines are so different now. “Joe added,”The conditioning now is a lot more dry. To me, it doesn’t look like a sculpture anymore, it looks like a bodybuilder. I don’t know. It’s a tough one.” 

It seems impossible to beat Arnold in bodybuilding. Also, in his documentary Pumping Iron, Arnold has shown how hard he practiced for his Bodybuilder title. 


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Who can beat Arnold Schwarzenegger? 

Just like Arnold, Joseph loves working out and has a career in acting.  Meanwhile, taking a dig on Bradley, Baena mentioned Lou Ferrigno, Ronnie Coleman, and Frank Zane. 


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These big names in bodybuilding, Lou, Ronnie, and Frank, are also considered a rival of Arnold. Lou competed with Arnold for the Mr. Olympia title, but he could not beat him. However, as Arnold’s son added, no one can beat the greatest of all time. Arnold ended his bodybuilding career after winning his seventh Mr. Olympia title. 

Watch The Story: Inside $450 Million Worth Arnold Schwarzeneggers Insane Real Estate Empire

Joseph Baena Opens Up on Bodybuilding and his ‘Addiction to the Gym’ in Workout with Bradley Martyn – Fitness Volt – Fitness Volt

Despite being one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sons, Joseph Baena remembers a time when he was the ‘chubby’ kid in his crew. In a recent workout video with fitness influencer Bradley Martyn, Baena talked about his addiction to the gym and his appreciation for bodybuilding.

Baena, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, attracts a lot of attention with his toned arms and impressive chest development. He has an uncanny resemblance to his father, which was on full display when he recreated some of Schwarzenegger’s most famous bodybuilding poses.

Following in Arnold’s footsteps, Baena dove into the world of acting. He received widespread notoriety for his role in one of his latest acting projects, Lava. In addition, Joseph also bulked up when he took on a role for the marquee action film Call of Duty: The Last AirshowEven with a busy schedule, Joseph values attending the gym and pushing the pace. 

There is no doubt that Baena inherited a love for bodybuilding from his father. Joseph learned the ins and outs of the sport after he started lifting weights. Once he found a passion for pumping iron, he asked seven-time Mr. Olympia and bodybuilding legend, Schwarzenegger for guidance.

The aspiring actor has remained dedicated to training since learning the basics of bodybuilding in Arnold’s encyclopedia. Joining Baena is former bodybuilder and fitness influencer Bradley Martyn. Martyn is known for captivating audiences with ridiculous feats of strength. With four million followers on Instagram and three million on YouTube, Bradley’s name is well known in the online fitness community.

Joseph Baena and Bradley Martyn Discuss Bodybuilding Before Quick Workout

Baena said he wasn’t always this fit but after being cut from sports teams in college, he decided to take things more seriously at the gym. 

“I was the chubby kid in my crew. It was until I joined swim my sophomore year — and I only joined swim because I didn’t make the soccer or basketball team. I got cut because I was too chubby.” Joseph explained to Bradley Martyn.

According to Baena, he didn’t start hitting the gym hard until his junior year in college. After taking an interest in weightlifting, his dad recommended he read his famous bodybuilding encyclopedia. 

“No. I didn’t really start hitting the gym until my junior year of college. I started lifting, and my pops, Arnold Schwarzenegger, if you don’t know, so he gave me the Bodybuilding Encyclopedia, his bodybuilding encyclopedia.”

“So… I open up the book, he’s like, ‘look, every question that you have is right in here. So do your research.’ I took that to heart. I really dove in there and nonstop, just only the bodybuilding encyclopedia. Then I got cut again, and that really started my addiction to the gym.” Baena shared.

Martyn and Joseph hit some reps on the seated calf machine following their bodybuilding discussion. 

“You need to go lower.” Bradley told Joseph. 

“That’s as low as it goes.” Joseph responded.

Bradley joked with Baena by saying he thinks he can beat his dad Arnold Schwarzenegger if he was in his prime. 

I think I would beat your dad. In our primes, I think I would beat him.” Bradley said. 

“I don’t know man. I don’t know if you’d even beat Lou [Ferrigno]. Joseph told Bradley. “You look like Ronnie Coleman met Frank Zane.” 

When asked if there was anyone that could have beaten Schwarzenegger, Joseph said the sport and the way people look is ‘so different’ now, so it’s hard to say.

“The lines are so different now. Joe added. The conditioning now is a lot more dry. To me, it doesn’t look like a sculpture anymore, it looks like a bodybuilder. I don’t know. It’s a tough one.” 

Baena and Bradley move on to a dumbbell workout next and practice reps on the chest press machine. Before calling it a day, Joe opted to get in some cable movements.

Joseph doesn’t miss a day of training. He recently showed off a quad-burning workout and stressed how important it is to start the week with leg day. While Baena has expressed interest in one day proving himself on a bodybuilding stage, he’s yet to reveal when that might take place. 

Check out the full video below:

RELATED: Joseph Baena Flexes Leaner Physique, Channeled His Father Arnold in Recent Photo

Baena’s addiction to the gym fuels him anytime he picks up weights. Judging by his recent workout with Bradley Martyn, Baena, like his father, understands the finer details that can turn a good workout into a great one. 

The Best Bodyweight Bodybuilding Workouts for Gaining Muscle – BarBend

The 1977 documentary Pumping Iron is chock-full of footage of bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu preparing for the 1975 Mr. Olympia competition. There’s a lot of on-screen clanging and banging of weights, but very little calisthenics to be found. 

Nearly five decades later, resistance training still reigns supreme for building muscle — whether you’re a professional physique athlete or a first-time gymgoer. What are you to do, then, if you’re trying to bulk up but can’t make it to the gym (or don’t have a well-furnished facility at home)?

man performs pull-up with wide grip
Credit: BLACKDAY / Shutterstock

Do you give up on your pursuit of gains? Heck no. As it turns out, you don’t need to pick up a barbell to put on muscle (though it will certainly help). Bodyweight or calisthenics-based training can, in the right climate, build comparable muscle to that of lifting weights. 

Your body can be both the canvas and the paintbrush. Here are a few bodyweight-only workouts you can use to build muscle, as well as the science behind why calisthenics is surprisingly effective for hypertrophy.

Best Bodyweight Bodybuilding Workouts

Best Bodyweight Bodybuilding Workout for Chest

International Chest Day is typically celebrated on the bench press or with a pair of heavy dumbbells. In their absence, you can still develop your pecs by taking things (way) back to basics.

The Workout

Chest training without weights is easier to perform than some other muscles, but you’ll still have to make do with fewer exercises than you’d otherwise enjoy during a standard in-the-gym session. 

Push-ups, dips, and their many variations will need to be the cornerstone of your approach to chest training if you want to grow.

  • Single-Arm Wall Push-Up: 2 x 8
  • Decline Push-Up: 3 x 15 
  • Chair Dip2 x 15
  • Single-Arm Slider Flye: 2 x 15

If you don’t have access to floor sliders, a hand towel or even a folded t-shirt will do in a pinch.

Best Bodyweight Bodybuilding Workout for Back

It is said that bodybuilding shows are won from the back. Even if you don’t compete, an underdeveloped posterior chain can negatively impact the entire appearance of your physique.

Without rows, deadlifts, or cable exercises on the menu, you’ll have to go extra-hard on your back work to ensure your upper body is proportional. 

The Workout

Provided you have access to a stable horizontal bar, you can get quite the back workout in through a few select exercises — some of which might surprise you.

If you lock your pelvis into extension and focus strongly on drawing your arm back towards your sides, the ab rollout is actually a half-decent lat exercise since it trains the motion of shoulder extension.

Best Bodyweight Bodybuilding Workout for Shoulders

The anatomical design and function of your deltoids make them quite tricky to properly train if you don’t have weights to work with. That said, nothing is impossible if you’re committed and creative.

The Workout

Unfortunately, the majority of calisthenics exercises for your shoulders will mostly stimulate the anterior, or front, deltoids. Lateral and posterior shoulder work is going to be hard to come by without using other types of equipment.

While the side plank is a stellar oblique movement, supporting your torso is facilitated to a large degree by a strong isometric contraction at the shoulder. You should feel your lateral delts and rotator cuff start to burn if you hold it long enough.

Best Bodyweight Bodybuilding Workout for Arms

Gym bros the world over might scoff at the prospect, but you can in fact load up your guns without ever performing a single biceps curl or cable pressdown (not that there’s anything wrong with piling on the isolation work to grow your arms).

The Workout

Fortunately, two of the most reliable and effective calisthenics exercises — the push-up and chin-up — rely heavily on assistance from your triceps and biceps, respectively. 

  • Close-Grip Chin Up: 3 x 12-15
  • Inverted Row: 3 x 12-15
  • Decline Push-Up: 2 x 12-15
  • Diamond Push-Up: 4 x 15

While the push-up and chin-up are pretty great at taxing your arms without weight, they won’t stimulate your biceps and triceps as directly or fully as proper isolation work will. As such, a bodyweight-only arm workout will end up stimulating your chest and back as well. 

Best Bodyweight Bodybuilding Workout for Legs

Whether by seemingly-infinite sets of heavy squats or stacking every 45-pound plate in the gym onto the leg press, heavy lifting is the backbone of most bodybuilders’ leg days. Without big weights of your own, you’ll have to turn to your own bodyweight.

The Workout

While your two legs have no problem carrying you around all day, standing on one foot will change the game. You’d be surprised just how hard a workout of single-leg everythings can be.

Can You Build Muscle With Bodyweight Training? 

In short, yes. The reality of the situation is a bit more complicated, but you shouldn’t let any naysayer get into your head and convince you that your efforts are futile just because you aren’t working with the barbell.

For a real-world example, you need only look to career gymnasts for confirmation that weights aren’t the only way to gain mass. In fairness, though, professional gymnasts are usually among the genetic elite and may be more predisposed to hypertrophy than your average fitness enthusiast.

Luckily for the layperson, the scientific community has some words of encouragement as well. Research reviews on the subject have mostly concluded that calisthenics training can grow significant amounts of muscle, even in trained subjects. (1)(2)

Furthermore, studies on specific exercise comparisons have yielded some interesting results. Namely, that bodyweight movements like the pull-up and push-up are comparable in stimulation and muscle activity to the lat pulldown and bench press, respectively. (3)(4)

Critics of calisthenics for muscle growth tend to remark that your body’s weight is not enough to induce the right amount of tensile force on muscle.

However, modern literature on the mechanisms of hypertrophy do acknowledge that you can facilitate muscle growth even in low-load scenarios, (2)(5) and that high external resistance isn’t the only path forward.

man works chest on parallel dip bars
Credit: BLACKDAY / Shutterstock

Strictly speaking, though, calisthenics does fall short in the arena of strength gain. There’s little scientific evidence to support the idea that bodyweight training will increase your strength potential to a significant degree, at least in comparison with resistance training.

Fortunately, strength isn’t the main priority of a bodybuilder (but it deserves your attention regardless).

Benefits of Bodyweight Training for Bodybuilding

Don’t let time away from the weight room dissuade you. Bodyweight-only training may not be the golden chalice of muscle growth, but it can provide some unique benefits to your overall fitness, athleticism, and fulfillment.


For first-timers or those just starting their self-improvement journeys, bodyweight training is a fantastic option. While the gym may be familiar territory for seasoned veterans, newcomers may not know the lay of the land.

Furthermore, you can perform bodyweight-only movements in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Calisthenics also teaches you awareness about your own body in space, as well as how to control your limbs as they bend and straighten. 


Even a well-designed resistance training program for muscle growth can be cumbersome or frustrating to finish if your gym is packed to the brim every time you go. Rude patrons, a lack of sufficient equipment, and the general neurological stress of heavy lifting — all things that dock points from weight lifting.

woman focuses on plank position in exercise studio
Credit: fizkes / Shutterstock

On the other hand, bodyweight training earns major points for convenience. You’re never short on plates, and you never have to fight for a barbell. Everything you need for your workout is quite literally with you from the jump.

Supplements Resistance Training

If your weight room hiatus comes to an end, you should still consider keeping some bodyweight movements in your workout plan. Bodybuilding is certainly easier if you make weights the centerpiece of your programming, but calisthenics have their place as well.

Namely, as stellar workout finishers. It’s easy, convenient, and especially safe to bang out a set of push-ups or inverted rows to absolute muscular failure at the end of a chest or back session. 

You can certainly push your limits with weights or cables as well, but you’d generally want a spotter in such situations to avoid any potential mishaps. 

Saves Time

Bodyweight training can be quick, dirty, and effective. The limited number of exercises at your disposal for a given muscle group has a silver lining — you’re not likely to suffer from paralysis by analysis debating which two curl variations belong in your arm day.

Moreover, heavy barbell work in particular demands a thorough warm-up and extensive ramping scheme. Deadlifting 500 pounds is impressive, but you can’t get there in two sets; warming up for big compound lifts can take as long as 15 to 30 minutes all on its own.

man focuses on chest contraction during push-up
Credit: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

Calisthenics training requires much less preparation and ramp-up time, allowing you to jump right into the work itself.

How to Progress With Bodyweight Training

No matter your modality of choice, you need to apply some form of progressive overload to encourage muscle growth (and strength gains) over time. Unfortunately, this is an area in which resistance training has the edge. It is straightforward and convenient to add another 5 pounds to a barbell. 

For most bodyweight movements, altering the difficulty comes in the form of adjustments to your technique or posture that result in significantly more challenge (think performing a single-arm push-up instead of on two arms). Since you can’t delicately tune the difficulty dial, you may have to look to other avenues.

Increase Your Rep Count

The most straightforward way of overloading bodyweight exercises is by simply turning up the number of repetitions you perform. 

However, this method tends to work best on exercises that are already challenging — if you can comfortably bang out 30 reps of chair dips already, aiming for 35 reps instead probably isn’t that much harder.

Reduce Your Rest

You can make your workouts harder by increasing the density of your training — the amount of time it takes you to complete the work itself. If you normally rest a full minute between sets of pull-ups, for instance, set a timer and only break for 50 seconds next time. Then, rest for 45 seconds the week after. 

Use Intensity Techniques

Most intensification techniques like drop sets or cluster work will translate just fine from resistance training to calisthenics.

For example, you can create a makeshift drop set by performing a set of push-ups to near failure, and then extending the set by resting on your knees instead of in the plank position.

Rest-pause and cluster training works especially well with calisthenics too. If you’re doing clustered pull-ups, simply let go of the bar for a few moments to catch your breath before continuing on. No need to rack a bar or let go of a pair of dumbbells along the way. 

No Weights? No Problem

Bodybuilders live and die by the quality of their workouts. When a plan goes awry, such as your gym temporarily closing or your daily schedule is thrown into chaos, you have two options; feel sorry for yourself, or improvise and adapt.

If you choose action, don’t be afraid to look beyond the dumbbell rack for a satisfying workout. Bodyweight-only training isn’t ideal for hypertrophy, but in a pinch, training your muscles with just your own weight works surprisingly well. 


  1. Iversen, V.M., Norum, M., Schoenfeld, B.J. et al. No Time to Lift? Designing Time-Efficient Training Programs for Strength and Hypertrophy: A Narrative Review. Sports Med 51, 2079–2095 (2021).
  2. Krzysztofik M, Wilk M, Wojdała G, Gołaś A. Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Dec 4;16(24):4897. 
  3. Kotarsky, C. J., Christensen, B. K., Miller, J. S., & Hackney, K. J. (2018). Effect of Progressive Calisthenic Push-up Training on Muscle Strength and Thickness. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 32(3), 651–659. 
  4. Doma, K., Deakin, G. B., & Ness, K. F. (2013). Kinematic and electromyographic comparisons between chin-ups and lat-pull down exercises. Sports biomechanics, 12(3), 302–313. 
  5. Schoenfeld, B. J., Peterson, M. D., Ogborn, D., Contreras, B., & Sonmez, G. T. (2015). Effects of Low- vs. High-Load Resistance Training on Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Well-Trained Men. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 29(10), 2954–2963. 

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