2008 Arnold Competitor Profile: Ronny Rockel, IFBB Australia Grand Prix Champion!

At one point a 143 pound Ronny Rockel was more interested in his profession as a tiler in East Germany, than being a professional bodybuilder. See what events took place that led him to this renowned event and how he may fair in the future!

It's hard to believe that once upon a time, a 143 pound Ronny Rockel was more interested in his profession as a tiler in East Germany, than being a professional bodybuilder. But when he won the 1995 NABBA German Nationals and placed third at the NABBA Mr. Universe, he knew what his true calling was.

In 2002, Ronny achieved pro status by winning the International German Championships, then subsequently moved to "The Mecca" of bodybuilding, Venice, California, and never looked back.

Although he's been competing since 1994 (and a Pro since 2002), Ronny does not have the most impressive resume; his most notable placing to date is his first place finish at the 2006 IFBB Grand Prix in Australia. He has competed in the Mr. Olympia 3 times (2005, 2006, and 2007) and placed 17th, 16th and 11th respectively. Last year was his debut at the Arnold Classic and he placed 8th, not bad for someone who's only been a Pro for 5 years.


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Ronny Rockel At The 2007 Olympia.
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Ronny Rockel is one of the smaller bodybuilders, so it's been said (by armchair-athletes and bodybuilding pundits) that he's often overlooked in favour of the mass-monsters. However, with the possibility of an under 210 (or 220 or 202) pound class at the Mr. Olympia, the future could be Ronny's time to shine.

In the meantime, the Arnold doesn't discriminate between weight classes, and thus he might have to do something drastic with his physique in order to get noticed. As a small guy, he has to compete with the likes of Dave Henry, Mark Dugdale, and Silvio Samuel.

If he decides to play the size game and get significantly larger, he'll not only have to compete against Victor Martinez, Branch Warren, and Toney Freeman, but he'll also risk losing that almost perfect symmetry and conditioning he's known for.


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Ronny Rockel At The 2007 Arnold Classic.
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What Ronny Rockel does not have on his side are his large shoulders. Granted, if you read my other article on Phil Heath, you'd notice that I said he didn't have wide clavicles, so you may think I'm the kind of a critic that's never satisfied. However, that's not the case.

Ronny's shoulders overpower the rest of his body. They're thick, wide and cut, but if we hold his shoulders as the standard to the rest of his body, they make everything else look sub-par.


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Ronny Rockel At The 2007 Colorado Pro.
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Other than his shoulders, Ronny has near-perfect balance. Though it's practically impossible to possess the body of a pro (unless you're a genetic freak and/or "chemically assisted"), Ronny Rockel has the body many people aspire to; he's big, but not too big, and cut, but not disgustingly shredded. His physique appeals to both the mainstream audience, and the hardcore bodybuilding fans out there.

This attribute is a bonus because many people are complaining about the direction our sport is taking; reward the "mass monsters" and "freakazoids" rather than the aesthetic, appealing and conditioned look.


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Ronny Rockel At The 2007 Olympia.
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If the judges and fans REALLY want our sport to go in a different direction, they will start moving guys like Ronny Rockel and Darrem Charles up the ladder. They'll start rewarding conditioned athletes versus the ones that are impressive because they're over 280 pounds. The famous quote from Shawn Ray that I used in the Phil Heath article also exemplifies Ronny's current situation in terms of whether he should play the size game, or continue to bring the perfect balance of symmetry and proportion he's know for, "Bigger isn't better. Better is better."

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Conclusion
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In conclusion, if I had to give Ronny Rockel one message, it would be a quote from Ken Waller, a classic bodybuilder of the 70s and 80s,

    "In many contests that I would enter, I would look at some monster backstage and think he was the most muscular thing I'd ever seen. Only under the posing lights would the true story be told when the roles of blubber would show through."


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Ronny Rockel At The 2007 Olympia.
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So Ronny, stay true to yourself, and your fans. Hang in there, and eventually the judges will realize that conditioning, symmetry and proportion are the wave of the future, and they better enjoy the ride.