A Comparison Between Men’s Physique Competitors and Bodybuilders From the 1970s

| by Truth Seeker |

The goal of this post is to compare the muscular development of men’s physique competitors to that of bodybuilders from the Golden Era of Bodybuilding [the 1970s].

The evaluation is based on statistical data taking into account bodyweight, height, body fat estimates and FFMIs [Fat Free Mass Index].

All bodybuilders and men’s physique models are divided into four height categories:

  • 5’8”/172.7cm
  • 5’9”/175.3cm
  • 5’10”/177.8cm
  • 6’/182.9-6’2”/188cm

The categories between 6′ and 6’2″ are merged because there wasn’t enough data from the 70s to keep them all separated. In other words, not many bodybuilders are 6’2” tall.

Each segment includes five top-level competitors in every height division. The last column shows the estimated FFMI of each individual at 7% body fat.

Note: It’s impossible to know the exact body fat percentage of everyone, but since they are all exceptionally lean, it’s clear that most are in the single-digit realm. Consequently, a number like 7% is a logical middle-ground that will not produce ultimate accuracy, but the output should be sufficient for overall analysis.

via: pixabay.com

PART 1: Men’s Physique

Height: 5’8”/172.7cm

Name Weight FFMI @ 7% BF
Brandon Hendrickson 185lbs/84kg 26.160
Jason Poston 185lbs/84kg 26.160
Jeremy Buendia 175lbs/79.54kg 24.746
Joseph Lee 170lbs/77kg 24.039
Devin Zimmerman 175lbs/79.54kg 24.746
 
Average 178lbs/80.9kg 25.1702

 

Height: 5’9”/175.3cm

Name Weight FFMI @ 7% BF
Andre Ferguson 185lbs/84kg 25.407
Andre Smith 165lbs/75kg 22.660
Tyrone Bell 175lbs/79.54kg 24.034
Collin Joseph 205lbs/93kg 28.154
John Nguyen 190lbs/86.36kg 26.094
 
Average 184lbs/83.6kg 25.2628

 

Height: 5’10”/177.8cm

Name Weight FFMI @ 7% BF
Kyron Holden 210lbs/95.45kg 28.022
Ryan Terry 187lbs/85kg 24.953
Chase Savoie 185lbs/84kg 24.686
Ryan Spiteri 185lbs/84kg 24.686
Craig Capurso 215lbs/97.72 28.690
 
Average 196.4lbs/88.45kg 26.2074

 

Height: 6’-6’2” 183-188cm

Name Weight FFMI @ 7% BF
Raymont Edmonds 235lbs/106.81kg 28.060
Zac Smith 225lbs/102.275kg 26.866
Jeremy Scott 205lbs/93.181kg 24.478
Michael Anderson 195lbs/88.63kg 23.284
Jonny Bernstein 205lbs/93kg 25.153
 
Average 213lbs/96.81kg 25.5682

The legendary Mike Mentzer | via: pinterest.com

PART 2: Bodybuilders

Height: 5’8”/172.7cm

Name Weight FFMI @ 7% BF
Mike Mentzer 225lbs/102.272kg 31.816
Tom Platz 225lbs/102.272kg 31.816
Dale Adrian 200lbs/90.9kg 28.281
Richard Baldwin 200lbs/90.9kg 28.281
Bob Birdsong 212lbs/96.36kg 29.978
 
Average: 212.4lbs/96.5kg 30.0344

 

Height: 5’9”/175.3cm

Name Weight FFMI @ 7% BF
Andreas Cahling 210lbs/95.45kg 28.840
Roger Callard 198lbs/90kg 27.192
Bill Grant 195lbs/88.63kg 26.780
Dave Johns 215lbs/97.72kg 29.527
Ray Mentzer 220lbs/100kg 30.214
 
Average: 207.6lbs/94.36kg 28.5106

 

Height: 5’10”/177.8cm

Name Weight FFMI @ 7% BF
Jim Morris 218lbs/99kg 29.090
Bertil Fox 235lbs/106.8kg 31.358
Pete Grymkowski 241lbs/109.5kg 32.159
Steve Michalik 210lbs/95.4kg 28.022
 
Average: 226lbs/102.74kg 30.15

 

Height: 6’-6’2” 183-188cm

Name Weight FFMI @ 7% BF
Arnold Schwarzenegger 235lbs/106.8kg 28.060
John Brown 230lbs/104.54kg 29.010
Dave Draper 225lbs/102.2kg 28.379
Mike Katz 240lbs/109kg 29.447
Serge Nubret 212lbs/96.36kg 26.739
 
Average: 228.4lbs/103.8kg 28.327

 Final Comparison

In the tables below, you will find a comparison between the average contest weight and FFMI of men’s physique competitors and the 70s bodybuilders representative of the same height category.

Height: 5’8”/172.7cm

  Men’s Physique  Golden Bodybuilders
     
Average weight 178lbs/80.9kg 212.4lbs/96.5kg
Average FFMI 25.1702 30.0344
 
Weight differences in % +16.1%
FFMI difference in % +16.2%

Conclusion: The bodybuilders from the Golden Era were roughly 16% bigger than men’s physique competitors in this height category.

Height: 5’9”/175.3cm

  Men’s Physique  Golden Bodybuilders
     
Average weight 184lbs/83.6kg 207.6lbs/94.36kg
Average FFMI 25.2628 28.5106
 
Weight differences in % +12.82%
FFMI difference in % +12.85%

Conclusion: The bodybuilders from the Golden Era were roughly 12.8% bigger than men’s physique competitors in this height category.

Height: 5’10”/177.8cm

  Men’s Physique  Golden Bodybuilders
     
Average weight 196.4lbs/88.45kg 226lbs/102.74kg
Average FFMI 26.2074 30.15
 
Weight differences in % +15%
FFMI difference in % +15%

Conclusion: The bodybuilders from the Golden Era were roughly 15% bigger than men’s physique competitors in this height category.

Height: 6’-6’2” 183-188cm

  Men’s Physique  Golden Bodybuilders
     
Average weight 213lbs/96.81kg 228.4lbs/103.8kg
Average FFMI 25.5682 28.327
 
Weight differences in % +7%
FFMI difference in % +10.7%

Conclusion: The bodybuilders from the Golden Era were roughly 7% bigger than men’s physique competitors in this height category.

What Could Explain the Difference in Size?

Three explanations come to mind:

Leg mass. Men’s physique competitors pose in beach shorts hiding their upper leg development. In other words, you don’t get points for having the biggest legs on stage. Meanwhile, in bodybuilding, legs are judged with scrutiny, and if they are not up to the required level, your score suffers.

Does this mean that the men’s physique guys don’t work their legs? No. Many of them not only train legs but have great wheels. Nonetheless, they have a direct incentive to overlook leg development.

Leanness. Many men’s physique competitors get ultra-shredded and reach leaner states than some of the bodybuilders from the 70s. That leanness comes at a price – lighter bodyweight.

Aesthetics. Physique divisions are limited not only by height but by weight too. Consequently, the competitors cannot maximize their weight whereas bodybuilders do not face similar restrictions.

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2 comments

  1. Glove

    70s BBler wanted to be huge. Were huge for that period. Mens Physique class wants to achieve aesthetics. Big legs would destroy their lines. But the level went up and up. I think this class is more for the light framed BBler.
    Raymond Edmonds. Very light bones. No legs. Despite of that 106,8kg. He is tall, wide shoulders, fantastic look for his class . Without gear he would struggle to get 80 kg in shape on the scale.
    Grymkowski with 109kg was a mass monster in the 70s. The Big Ramy of his time.
    You can see: times are changing!

  2. jim

    Man…virtually every one was on some type of gear. They are all heavy (with the odd exception)

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