Who Will Win The 2009 Arnold Classic?

Who will win the 2009 Arnold Classic? Does Victor have a chance? Find out what our forum members think as they put down their top 10 picks and why. Find out why this year's competition is going to be so great! Learn more.


TOPIC: Who Will Win The 2009 Arnold Classic?

The Question:

Victor is back in the mix! This year's Arnold Classic is not short on talent and one of many shows during the year to qualify for the Olympia. Next to the Olympia this is easily one of the biggest shows of the year and never disappoints.

Give your opinion on who will be in the top 10 and give full details for why you believe it will go down that way.

* Last updated: February 13th, 2009 (list is not final)

2009 Arnold Classic Men's Competitors

  1. Ahmad Haidar
  2. Branch Warren
  3. Dennis James
  4. Gustavo Badell
  5. Johnnie Jackson
  6. Kai Greene
  7. Marcus Haley
  8. Moe El Moussawi
  9. Ronny Rockel
  10. Sergey Shelestov
  11. Silvio Samuel
  12. Toney Freeman
  13. Victor Martinez

Bonus Question: Have you ever attended the Arnold Classic and Expo? If so, what did you think of it and how was your experience? Was it what you thought it would be? How could it be made better?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

    Prizes:
      1st place - 75 in store credit.
      2nd place - 50 in store credit.
      3rd place - 25 in store credit.

To use your credit, e-mail Justin @ justin.podzimek@bodybuilding.com for more info.


1st Place - soundcheck129
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Victor is back in the mix! This year's Arnold Classic is not short on talent and one of many shows during the year to qualify for the Olympia. Next to the Olympia this is easily one of the biggest shows of the year and never disappoints.

Yes, it's that time of the year again, you can almost smell it in the air - the aroma of iron and sweat can mean only one thing: the Arnold Classic! The amount of muscle about to converge on one room is mind-blowing to say the least, and the competition will be fierce.

While everyone is talking about Victor Martinez's epic return and how that will shape this year's show, there is a full slate of bodybuilders that are ready to prove they are just as worthy of the attention.


Who Will Be In The Top 10 And Why?


1. Victor Martinez

    After everything that Martinez has been through since his patella tendon injury, I see the Arnold Classic as another amazing chapter in his story.

    Unable to do cardio after surgery, Martinez put himself through two-hour rehab sessions on top of his intense workouts in order to get in shape to dominate the Olympia Showdown. Unfortunately, he ran out of time... but that just stoked his inner fire more, and I think we will see an incredibly shredded competitor ready to rock the stage at the Arnold.

Victor Martinez Victor Martinez
+ Click To Enlarge.
Victor Martinez At The 2007 IFBB Olympia.
View More Pics Of Victor Martinez At The 2007 IFBB Olympia.

    Martinez has been training like an animal for months, and his unstoppable passion will surely be revealed in his ripped physique. After seeing Martinez's Countdown To The Arnold Classic videos, I'm sure the Dominican Dominator will prove that he is truly a force to be reckoned with.

RELATED VIDEO


Road To The Arnold!

Victor Martinez is making his bodybuilding competition comeback, his first stop is the Arnold Classic 2009. As Victor prepares for the Arnold Classic, he shares some of his contest preparation tips in this video series presented by MHP.

Click The Play Button To Start The Video.
Or Download Here:
WMV (115 MB) - iPod Video (270 MB)
[ Road To The Arnold ]


2. Kai Greene

    Last May, Greene took the IFBB New York Pro bodybuilding competition by storm, and he has kept that momentum up since, training hard to become even thicker. In the past, Greene has turned heads with the striations all over his body as well as his charisma, and the 2009 Arnold Classic shouldn't be any different.

Kai Greene Kai Greene
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Kai Greene At The 2008 IFBB New York Mens Pro.
View More Pics Of Kai Greene At The 2008 IFBB New York Mens Pro.

    While Greene was a relative unknown just a few years ago, he's made quite an impression since with his bulging biceps and tree-trunk thighs. I've seen the man's training videos and it's clear that he means business; after all, Greene has been in the competition mindset since 7th grade, and I believe his time has come.


3. Branch Warren

    Ah, Quadrasaurus. It seems as though a lot of people aren't expecting much out of Warren, and I think he may be using that to his advantage. Expect to see a veritable beast with a load of motivation when the Arnold rolls around. The fact that Warren owns a gym gives him an edge in that he always has access to weights and the training insight of others. He always hits the stage with mammoth mass, but has a tendency to fall short.

Branch Warren Branch Warren
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Branch Warren At The 2008 IFBB Arnold Classic.
View More Pics Of Branch Warren At The 2008 IFBB Arnold Classic.

    Warren hasn't had a first place finish in a major show since the 2007 IFBB New York Pro contest, so you can bet he's hungry for another one. However, his performances at the Arnold have been a bit disappointing, with a 7th place finish in 2007 and a 4th last year; I don't think he has enough to take home first but I do see him improving up to 3rd.


4. Toney Freeman

    Just like the rest of the bodybuilding elite, Freeman is a monster. His torso just seems to explode out of his waistline, and his quads seem to go on for miles. When I look at the pictures from the 2008 Olympia, it boggles my mind that the judges only awarded him 5th. However, some guys just aren't destined to take home the gold, and I'm afraid Freeman may be one of them.

Toney Freeman Toney Freeman
+ Click To Enlarge.
Toney Freeman At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
View More Pics Of Toney Freeman At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.

    In no way am I taking away from the man's physique - it is worthy of plenty of praise. Unfortunately, when Freeman takes the stage, his hugeness comes across, but he doesn't seem to be able to reach the level of shred that separates champions from the rest of the field. That said, he will be impressive and it won't go completely unnoticed.


5. Silvio Samuel

    Samuel dazzled the crowd as well as the judges at the Iron Man Pro earlier this year and you can bet he's going to have his game face on and a body to match for the Arnold. Samuel has impressive symmetry and hits the stage quite shredded, but I don't see him replicating the success he attained at the Iron Man Pro. Simply put, the competition here is a different breed of animal - a bigger one.

Silvio Samuel Silvio Samuel
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Silvio Samuel At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
View More Pics Of Silvio Samuel At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.

    Samuel is a very hard worker and makes every moment count in the gym, but there is only so much size one can add to one's frame. The fact that he has packed more than 220 lbs onto his 5 feet and 7 inch figure is quite the achievement, but I don't see room for much more, and I think more is what will be needed to conquer the Arnold.


6. Dennis James

    Dennis James is one of my favorite pros because in addition to his passion for bodybuilding, the heart of an athlete burns in his chest; if he weren't a pro in this sport, he might be one in soccer. It's clear, though, that James is focused on his physique, as his pictures always reveal an astonishing amount of veins visible on top of his mountain-like mass.

Dennis James Dennis James
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Dennis James At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
View More Pics Of Dennis James At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.

    I've researched some of his splits and it's no mystery why he looks like a beast. The thing that puzzles me is why judges never seem to appreciate it. James hasn't taken home first place in a major competition since the 2001 IFBB Grand Prix Hungary, and I don't see him repeating that success here. Still, expect a good showing and a respectable finish.


7. Ahmad Haidar

    Like Silvio Samuel, Haidar hasn't shown the necessary mass in the past to overtake some of the top names. Coming in at 220lbs, Haidar has an impressive amount of muscle for his height, but it won't stand up to all of the competition. In his defense, though, what Haidar lacks in size he makes up for in shred - the man always hits the stage looking like a walking anatomy chart. After all, he's not called Abzilla for nothing.

Ahmad Haidar Ahmad Haidar
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Ahmad Haidar At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
View More Pics Of Ahmad Haidar At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.

    Haidar put on a good show at the Iron Man Pro and Fitness Expo in January, but the physique he showed there isn't going to be enough to propel him to the top at the Arnold, and there's just not enough time to make the necessary changes.


8. Ronny Rockel

    They don't call Rockel "The Rock" for no reason - his entire torso is basically one long taper, from his broad shoulders to his very tiny waist. He packs a ton of muscle onto his frame and is obviously dedicated to the sport. However, Rockel hasn't impressed judges very much in the past, probably due to his surprisingly poor conditioning - as a smaller contestant (5'6"), more is expected out of him than he has shown in the past.

Ronny Rockel Ronny Rockel
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Ronny Rockel At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
View More Pics Of Ronny Rockel At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.

    Though Rockel did have a strong showing with his third place finish at the 2009 Iron Man Pro, the group he will be facing here is a more accomplished and polished group, so Rockel will have a difficult task ahead of him.


9. Gustavo Badell

    Considering the build he currently boasts, it's hard to believe Badell was told he was too skinny to be successful at boxing. But that was during his teenage years, and he hasn't looked back since. Badell has a very impressive figure, great vascularity and near-impeccable symmetry.

Gustavo Badell Gustavo Badell
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Gustavo Badell At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
View More Pics Of Gustavo Badell At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.

    From 2003-2006, Badell had great success and was turning heads on every stage he touched. Unfortunately, Badell has been in a slump lately, including a disappointing 10th place finish at the 2008 Olympia. He can expect a better finish if he brings his trademark flair and personality as well as his physique, but the total package hasn't been working for him lately, so I don't see anything stunning coming from Badell this time around.


10. Moe El Moussawi

    Rounding out the top ten will be Moe El Moussawi. Obviously, he came to play at the Iron Man Pro, placing second behind a very impressive Silvio Samuel. El Moussawi has some great attributes, including a nice, wide back, huge shoulders and an intimidating chest.

Moe El Moussawi Moe El Moussawi
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Moe El Moussawi At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
View More Pics Of Moe El Moussawi At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.

    He clearly has the drive to compete, but the field at the Arnold will be much more imposing than what he faced last time around. Even though El Moussawi is disciplined in his training and has a lot of knowledge about diet, I think his inexperience will prove to be a liability here. He may surprise everyone though, that is the beauty of The Arnold.


Wildcard

    If I had to pick one competitor from the bottom five that I could see breaking into the top five, I would have to say it'd be Gustavo Badell. Even though the Freakin' Rican has not found success in a while, it would be foolish to completely count him out. It can't be forgotten that Badell has freakish genetics and won his first bodybuilding championship at 19.

    It Would Be Foolish To Completely Count Him Out.
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    It Would Be Foolish To
    Completely Count Him Out.

    I think if he comes with the thickness, poise and vascularity he showed just a few years ago, the hard work will not go unnoticed and he may be able to crack the top five. Still, the odds seem stacked against him due to his recent performances and his fellow competitors.


Have you ever attended the Arnold Classic and Expo?

Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to attend the Arnold Classic and Expo in the past, and this year will be no different. However, I'm still getting very excited about it; I know a few people from the forums who are planning to attend and I've been spending so much time on the Arnold Classic website that it's starting appear in my dreams.

It seems like a great event in which people from every corner of the bodybuilding world - men, women, and children - come together and celebrate each other as well as the sport's elite competitors.

It's great that the event is centrally located and is relatively inexpensive - this is key to getting exposure. I also love to see that there will be scholarships awarded; education is often given a backseat where sports are concerned, but this is a great way to let people know that fortifying the mind is just as important as developing the body.

The only "improvement" I can think of is one that really applies to the whole sport generally. I find it sad that bodybuilding is still so much of a marginalized sport. It's not given the respect it deserves, and society at large doesn't give it the acceptance and enthusiasm that other sports receive.

Personally, I'd rather see the effort of a group of individuals who push their bodies to the limit in the gym and spend hours contemplating nutrition receive some time in the spotlight than say, a reality television show or a golf tournament.

More media coverage would be great, and a concentrated public relations campaign to dispel the myth of the "musclehead" would be an improvement as well, although the scholarships awarded at the Arnold are a solid step in this direction.


2nd Place - _Translucency
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One of the greats in our sport, arguably the best ever, Arnold Schwarzenegger, lends his name to this competition and thus, it is aptly named.

The Arnold Classic is the second major competition of the year and outside of the Olympia, it is the largest. It is certainly one of the favorite competitions for the fans, as it has something that anyone can enjoy, from the expo to the powerlifting competitions to the competition between some of the best bodybuilders our sport has to offer.


The 2009 Arnold Classic: The Low Down

The 2009 Arnold Classic is one of the most anticipated in recent memory. Victor Martinez will be making his return in his first competition since the 2007 Olympia, where he finished second. Everyone is certainly anxious to see how well he performs and to see if he has fully recovered from his injuries.

Additionally, six out of the top ten finishers in last year's Arnold Classic will be returning to compete this year. Kai Greene, who finished third last year, will be looking to win this year in the absence of the two competitors (Dexter Jackson and Phil Heath) who bested him who have chosen to forego this year's Arnold Classic to focus on the Olympia, the largest and most prestigious bodybuilding competition.

Branch Warren, who finished fourth last year, was not far behind and will be looking to improve upon his finish and perhaps, win this year. Silvio Samuel, who finished fifth in this competition last year, will look to bring the same package to the stage that he did when he won the Iron Man.


The 2009 Arnold Classic: The Top Ten


1. Toney Freeman

    Toney Freeman has been competing in the IFBB since 2003 and entered his first NPC Competition in 1994. As a result, he has more experience than almost any of the other competitors that will be taking the stage alongside him at this year's Arnold Classic. He finished fifth in the previous year's Olympia, his most recent competition.

    Toney will easily be the biggest competitor on stage. He manages to combine his size with a well-defined waist, which he has managed to keep under control while increasing his size.

Toney Freeman Toney Freeman
+ Click To Enlarge.
Toney Freeman At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
View More Pics Of Toney Freeman At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.

    Since beginning to train with Dave Polumbo, he has made great strides in his physique and will only continue to improve. Recent photographs have shown him six weeks out and he looks amazing. He should only continue to look better. If he comes in as he always does, look for him to take it all.


2. Victor Martinez

    Victor Martinez has been absent from the bodybuilding stage since the 2008 Arnold Classic, where he suffered a knee injury that required rehabilitation for the remainder of the year. The last competition he competed in prior to that was the 2007 Olympia, where he finished second, despite many believing he was the rightful winner.

Victor Martinez Victor Martinez
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Victor Martinez At The 2007 IFBB Olympia.
View More Pics Of Victor Martinez At The 2007 IFBB Olympia.

    Victor is clearly one of the best bodybuilders in the world. He combines an impressive amount of size with solid conditioning. When he nails his conditioning, he can be near unbeatable. However, I look for his performance to slip a bit due to his lack of recent participation in competitions. Reports are, though, that he has recovered fully from his injury. If he comes with the package most are used to seeing, he could easily win.


3. Kai Greene

    Kai Greene's most recent competition was the 2008 New York Pro, which he won convincingly. He finished third in the competition last year. However, he chose to forego last year's Olympia to make improvements on his physique. It is rumored that he increased his weight to over three-hundred pounds to make improvements. As a result, he will be bigger than ever and should be, as always, chiseled.

Kai Greene Kai Greene
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Kai Greene At The 2008 IFBB New York Mens Pro.
View More Pics Of Kai Greene At The 2008 IFBB New York Mens Pro.

    He is quickly becoming a fan favorite, as his posing routines are electric. He lights up the stage with his performance and has impressed fans and judges alike. However, his recent weight could prove to be an issue. If he misses his conditioning, he could easily drop. If he nails it and other competitors miss their mark, he could move up in the rankings.


4. Branch Warren

    Branch Warren finished fourth in last year's Arnold Classic. He, however, suffered a triceps injury which required surgery. Rumors are, he fully recovered from that and began training it lightly as soon as he could.

    Recent pictures have shown that his arms are as expected and will not show any signs of injury. He won the "Most Muscular" Award at this competition last year and will look to do the same again this year. His physique is incredibly impressive, due to his overall size and muscularity.

Branch Warren Branch Warren
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Branch Warren At The 2008 IFBB Arnold Classic.
View More Pics Of Branch Warren At The 2008 IFBB Arnold Classic.

    If he nails his conditioning, he can really make moves in the rankings. If others miss their mark, he could look to move up. If not, I doubt he has the overall package to beat those above him at their best.


5. Moe El Moussawi

    Moe El Moussawi will look to continue his performance from this year's impressive second-place finish at the Iron Man. He has continued to improve since he entered the IFBB in 2006. He has added an impressive amount of muscle to his frame, whilst remaining toned and shredded. If he can drop a few pounds from the Iron Man and keep his physique streamlined, he could do some damage here.

Moe El Moussawi Moe El Moussawi
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Moe El Moussawi At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
View More Pics Of Moe El Moussawi At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.


6. Silvio Samuel

    Silvio Samuel won this year's Iron Man Pro and will look to continue his run here at the Arnold Classic. Silvio Samuel has become a fan favorite throughout his recent competitions and a string of solid placings has him amongst bodybuilding's elite.

    Silvio Samuel Silvio Samuel
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    Silvio Samuel At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
    View More Pics Of Silvio Samuel At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.

    His posing ignites the stage and thus, the audience and those who are judging the competition. His muscles are full and his physique never ceases to disappoint, as he combines size with conditioning. He could certainly place higher than sixth at this competition if other competitors disappoint.


7. Gustavo Badell

    Gustavo Badell burst onto the scene what seems like years ago. His career has continued to slip since he entered the IFBB. It was once though that he could be a great, similar to Ronnie Coleman or Jay Cutler (of recent memory). He has, however, proven otherwise time and time again. He barely scratched the Top Ten at the Olympia not many months ago.

Gustavo Badell Gustavo Badell
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Gustavo Badell At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
View More Pics Of Gustavo Badell At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.

    His size is impressive but his conditioning has continued to disappoint. If he can return to his performance from years ago, he can best some of his competition here. Odds are, he won't. A placing inside the top ten is to be expected, any higher is not.


8. Ronny Rockel

    Ronny Rockel looked better than ever before at this year's Iron Man. His physique has proven to be incredibly well-rounded and he has very few weak spots. His critics always claimed that his posing and presentation were poor but he has shown he can take criticism constructively, as he has improved his posing and presentation. If he nails his conditioning, he will easily make the top ten.

Ronny Rockel Ronny Rockel
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Ronny Rockel At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
View More Pics Of Ronny Rockel At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.


9. Dennis James

    Dennis James showed a new-and-improved physique at the 2008 Olympia, which saw him drop some of his size and present a more streamlined physique.

Dennis James Dennis James
+ Click To Enlarge.
Dennis James At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
View More Pics Of Dennis James At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.

    Critics have always demanded that he improve his conditioning and he has shown recently that he can do so. He certainly has the size to compete with the other competitors that will be alongside him this year. However, he has proven that he does not have the conditioning. If he can continue to improve it, though, we could see jump in the rankings, possibly inside the top five.


10. Ahmad Haidar

    Ahmad Haidar is one of the most experienced competitors in this year's field. It is for certain that he is no stranger to a bodybuilding stage. He has continued to improve throughout his years in the IFBB and has been incredibly impressive in his most recent competitions, namely this year's Iron Man.

    He undoubtedly has the best abs in bodybuilding. He, however, gives up an incredible amount of size to the other competitors and despite his aesthetically pleasing physique, he simply cannot best them at his size. It is disappointing because I would prefer to see him much higher, as would many other fans.

Ahmad Haidar Ahmad Haidar
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Ahmad Haidar At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
View More Pics Of Ahmad Haidar At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.

    This year's Arnold Classic should be one of the best in recent memory. Anyone can compete for a spot in the top ten and anyone can take it all. It should be a great show!

RELATED VIDEO


Road To The Arnold!

Join Bodybuilding.com as we take a sneak peak at some of the top competitors as they make their final preparations on The Road To The Arnold! In this episode check in with Ahmad Haidar.

Click The Play Button To Start The Video.
Or Download Here:
WMV (115 MB) - iPod Video (270 MB)
[ Road To The Arnold ]


Have you ever attended the Arnold Classic and Expo?

I have never attended the 2009 Arnold Classic or its Expo. I have planned on making the trip in recent years, as the Expo is very appealing to me. It seems to be a fan favorite, as it is something everyone, and anyone, can enjoy. However, due to extenuating circumstances, I have been unable to attend.


3rd Place - aznrapsta
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Top 10 Arnold Classic 2009


1. Victor Martinez

    As the only one in the lineup to ever win the Arnold Classic before, the judges will be looking at him instantly as a front runner. As everyone knows, he had a terrible injury that made him sit out the Arnold '08 and the Olympia '08.

Victor Martinez Victor Martinez
+ Click To Enlarge.
Victor Martinez At The 2007 IFBB Olympia.
View More Pics Of Victor Martinez At The 2007 IFBB Olympia.

    His reasoning for sitting out the Olympia was not because he was still injured, but because he wanted to come in BETTER than ever before. At this show, he will do just that. His thickness and shoulder to waist ratio is superior to most the other pros in the lineup, and because his upper body suffered no injuries, it should be more massive than ever. Victor will be the clear cut winner, and then there will be everyone else.


2. Toney Freeman

    He had a good winning streak going until the '07 Olympia, and then his placings just fell off. His nutritionist and trainers changed during this period, but once he went back to Dave Palumbo, Toney Freeman returned to his infamous peeled conditioning in time for the spring shows, which he won two of, and the '08 Olympia where he placed fifth.

Toney Freeman Toney Freeman
+ Click To Enlarge.
Toney Freeman At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
View More Pics Of Toney Freeman At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.

    Since no one who beat him at his last show (The '08 Olympia) is in the lineup, he has a very good chance to place better than he has in the past since his improvements have yet to cease.

RELATED VIDEO


Road To The Arnold!

Join Bodybuilding.com as we take a sneak peak at some of the top competitors as they make their final preparations on The Road To The Arnold! In this episode check in with Toney Freeman!

Click The Play Button To Start The Video.
Or Download Here:
WMV (147 MB) - iPod Video (229 MB)
[ Road To The Arnold ]


3. Kai Greene

    The last time Kai was at the Arnold, he placed third and he came in bigger than ever, but lost some of the conditioning that won him his first pro show, the Shawn Ray Classic. It was this loss of conditioning that cost him the higher placing, and rumor has it, he is coming in heavier than ever, which would lead one to believe, his conditioning may still be off point.

Kai Greene Kai Greene
+ Click To Enlarge.
Kai Greene At The 2008 IFBB New York Mens Pro.
View More Pics Of Kai Greene At The 2008 IFBB New York Mens Pro.

    With incredible leg development that actually overpowers his upper body, it will be hard for him to beat Victor or Toney who both are better proportioned than him and usually come in with better conditioning as well.


4. Branch Warren

    The "People's Champ", Branch Warren will come in with more muscle on at his height than any other competitor, he will win the most muscular award for the third time, and yet sadly, he won't have a chance to win the show. This is an unfortunate story for Branch, but his physique does not have the aesthetics that are required for an Arnold Classic Champ to have.

Branch Warren Branch Warren
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Branch Warren At The 2008 IFBB Arnold Classic.
View More Pics Of Branch Warren At The 2008 IFBB Arnold Classic.

    At all the smaller shows, he does very well, but when he shows up at the two biggest shows, he is never rewarded (with the exception of the '06 Arnold where he placed second). His recent triceps injury also cost him time to improve his upper body which needed to be brought up to match his enormous legs. The chance of him making those improvements in the little off season he had is slight.


5. Silvio Samuel

    If there is one competitor guaranteed to come in with spot on conditioning, it is Silvio Samuel. Silvio is so consistent with his shape and conditioning that his placing truly depends on the other competitors being in shape or not. If any of the competitors listed above show up out of shape, Silvio will climb the ranks.

Silvio Samuel Silvio Samuel
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Silvio Samuel At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
View More Pics Of Silvio Samuel At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.

    His greatest weaknesses are his back width and his height, which will be clearly exposed when standing next to Victor, Toney, or Kai. He consistently places fifth to seventh at the big shows, so this will most likely be the case once again.


6. Dennis James

    It has been said time and time again that in the gym, Dennis James is Mr. Olympia. But for some reason he has a problem getting his size and conditioning timed perfect on game day. In the past, Dennis has come in with more muscle than anyone else on stage, but lately he has been bringing in a more streamlined physique with better condition, and he has been rewarded for it.

Dennis James Dennis James
+ Click To Enlarge.
Dennis James At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
View More Pics Of Dennis James At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.

    Last spring, he placed second at two pro shows, closely behind Toney Freeman and at the most recent Olympia, he placed eighth. The last time he beat anyone listed above was in May 2007 at the New York Pro, so for him to place higher than top six is unlikely.


7. Moe El Moussawi

    A little over a year ago, bodybuilding fans began speaking about the unheard of Moe El Moussawi. Placing third at the Iron Man, getting a special invite to the Arnold Classic, then placing ninth at the Mr. Olympia in '08, Moe's life on the bodybuilding stage has been fast and furious.

Moe El Moussawi Moe El Moussawi
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Moe El Moussawi At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
View More Pics Of Moe El Moussawi At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.

    At this year's Iron Man, he placed second, and had packed on much muscle since the Olympia, but at the cost of conditioning. However, he stated that the Iron Man was just the warm up for the Arnold Classic and that his conditioning will be on point with his added muscle, making for a dangerous combination. His eleventh place last year will surely be eclipsed by what he does at this year's Arnold Classic.


8. Gustavo Badell

    Having placed as high as third at the Mr. Olympia contest twice, there is no one in the lineup Gustavo has not beaten before. However, once Gustavo started playing the size game, he gave up his lines and proportions and his placings have steadily declined since then. With many other issues to deal with outside of bodybuilding, he seems to have lost his focus and drive which got him his outstanding conditioning and package of the past.

Gustavo Badell Gustavo Badell
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Gustavo Badell At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.
View More Pics Of Gustavo Badell At The 2008 IFBB Olympia.

    While the Gustavo of 2005 may not be gone forever, the new baby that caused him to sit out the '09 Iron Man will also be preventing him from giving his best. Placing eighth in this stacked lineup would be a victory for him.


9. Johnnie Jackson

    As the strongest IFBB pro still competing, Johnnie Jackson always comes in with super dense and thick muscularity, but not always with the crisp conditioning and dryness. This is especially the case for the winter shows, because Johnny ends up performing a lot better in the spring and summer shows as they approach the Mr. 'O' competition. In addition, if his tenth place finish only six weeks prior at the Iron Man is any indication, Johnny will definitely not be a front runner at this show.

Johnnie Jackson Johnnie Jackson
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Johnnie Jackson At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
View More Pics Of Johnnie Jackson At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.


10. Ronnie Rockel

    Proportionally, Ronnie Rockel has one of the nicest physiques of today, and as Lonnie Teper always says, he is currently the most underrated bodybuilder.

Ronny Rockel Ronny Rockel
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Ronny Rockel At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.
View More Pics Of Ronny Rockel At The 2009 IFBB Iron Man Pro.

    This German bodybuilder just doesn't seem to get rewarded much in the big shows even though he comes in pretty consistent on the conditioning and shape. His best placing at the Arnold was in 2007 when he came in eighth, but looking at the poor lineup from '07, the competition for '09 will be too much for Ronnie to repeat that placing.


Have You Ever Attended The Arnold Classic And Expo?

I have not personally been to the Arnold Classic or Expo, but I have heard many experiences about it. While the wait to get inside is brutal due to the long line and freezing temperatures, once you are inside, it is a heaven for anyone who has an interest in nutrition, supplements, or just fitness in general. Every pro is stationed at their sponsor's booth, so if you have the patience, you can meet just about everyone in the show, in addition to others who may also be in attendance.

The free samples and giveaways are more than you can carry, and there is always some kind of entertainment going on. The expo has never gotten smaller than the year prior, and don't expect this to change anytime soon.