2008 Arnold Classic Preview: My Top Five!

The Arnold Sports Festival is the REAL beginning to the season and second only to the Olympia. 'The Arnold' is probably the most important competition during the year. Here is who I think will take top five in this huge IFBB men's pro show!

Although the Iron Man Pro is the official kick-off competition to the 2008 IFBB Professional season, the Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports Festival is the REAL beginning to the season. Second only to the Olympia, "The Arnold" is probably the most important competition during the year.

Anyone who is anyone in bodybuilding or fitness knows of the epic expo and what takes place as an adjunct to the over 20 different sport competitions that will be taking place simultaneously. And lastly, but definitely not the least important of everything going on during that magical weekend, we have the unbelievable Friday and Saturday shows encompassing IFBB Men's and Women's Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure.

The Dominican Dominator has left the building!

Victor, Victor, Victor. Where have you gone? With Victor Martinez out of the running (due to a knee-injury while doing a set of warm-up lunges at his home gym in New Jersey), it makes picking the man who is going to place #1 very difficult.

But without further ado, here are my top 5 picks for the IFBB Men's Pro Bodybuilding.

dots
1. Dexter Jackson:
dots

    He's in it to win it baby. This is the guy who prefers to do the Arnold Classic rather than the Olympia. He puts 150% in his preparation for this contest because it's his "baby". Not competing at the Iron Man was probably in Dexter's best interest, because it means he didn't have to peak twice for contests that were pretty close in proximity to each other. This could be to his advantage.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Dexter Jackson At The 2007 Olympia.
View More Pics Of Dexter Jackson.

    Working with Joe McNeil since time immemorial, Dexter has finally figured out what works for his body in terms of dieting, weight training and cardiovascular exercise (Rumour has it, he's starting to do some!). The man with the iron abs is coming full steam ahead to recapture the title that is rightfully his.

Dexter Jackson's 2007 Arnold Routine.

dots
2. Phil Heath:
dots

    With plenty of momentum coming into this competition, "The Gift" should not be overlooked. He came into the Iron Man hard, dry, shredded and with enough size to hang with the big boys onstage. With that package, he inevitably won the show, hands down. Having said that, Heath has momentum coming into this contest which is a huge advantage.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Phil Heath At The 2008 Iron Man.
View More Pics Of Phil Heath.

    He's not the dark horse this year that he was at last year's Arnold Classic. He blew the audience away with his front double biceps, shredded glutes and hams and crazy striations in his pecs and glutes/hams when he hits a side chest shot. Despite this, he won't make it past Dexter Jackson. Second is very respectable though.

Phil Heath's 2008 Iron Man Routine.
Watch The Iron Man Top 10!

dots
3. Silvio Samuel:
dots

    Last year's breakthrough athlete might just be this year's shining star. Having placed fourth at the recent Iron Man pro, look for Silvio and his insane conditioning to move up in placings for this show.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Silvio Samuel At The 2008 Iron Man.
View More Pics Of Silvio Samuel.

    The Arnold has typically rewarded conditioning versus size, and no where else is this more apparent that in Sivlio's physique. A perfect, classic, aesthetic body with crazy arms and unthinkable conditioning. His shape and muscle tie-ins are reminiscent of Toney Freeman at his best. That's a compliment.

    If he improves his back just a little and tries to add a little size to his shoulders, this guy is going to make a huge impact on the 2008 IFBB pro circuit.

Silvio Samuel's 2008 Iron Man Routine.
Watch The Iron Man Top 10!

dots
4. Toney Freeman:
dots

    Call me crazy, but I think what happened at the Iron Man was a blip. An accident. A mistake. Toney is an intelligent and excellent bodybuilder who proved himself one of the elite in past shows; it just so happened that he tried something new and spilled over for this past show.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Toney Freeman At The 2008 Iron Man.
View More Pics Of Toney Freeman.

    With that said, he promised to try new things with his pre-contest/day-of contest diet and come in better than we've seen in a while. I hope that's a self-fulfilling prophecy. The man knows what he has to do to place high in this show, as long as he puts the work in, a Top 5 spot is his, no doubt about it. He's going to prove to us that he is the "X-man" of years past, and reclaim his title of champion soon enough.

Toney Freeman's 2008 Iron Man Routine.
Watch The Iron Man Top 10!

dots
5. Melvin Anthony:
dots

    Oh Marvelous one! Did you guys see him at the Iron Man! 3 weeks out and he looks like he could get on stage tomorrow! Not only that, but he gave us a little preview of his dancing, and the man has not lost his step.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Melvin Anthony At The 2007 Olympia.
View More Pics Of Melvin Anthony.

    Always an audience favourite, Melvin is going to round out the Top 5 in this competition. His token tiny waist and wide shoulders give him a V-tap to die for. His achilles heel is his glutes/hams which he can never manage to completely dry out. His muscle bellies are perfect, symmetrical and proportioned.

    Having not competed in the Iron Man, like Dexter, is probably beneficial in that he didn't have to peak twice in time periods so close together. The Marvelous one will make waves at this show, so look out!

dots
Conclusion
dots

There you have it ladies and gentlemen. I was pretty close with my predictions for the Iron Man Pro, so it may be worth it to put some money on this show based on my picks for the Arnold (kidding!). We'll see on March 1st what these boys have in store for us, but look for impressive performances from all of the competitors.