The Arnold Classic Top Four: A Pose-By-Pose Comparison.

This article takes a close look at the four of the top competitors who are competing in the 2009 Arnold Classic. See if you agree with the analysis.

This article takes a close look at the four of the top competitors who are competing in the 2009 Arnold Classic. See if you agree with the analysis.

Predicting the final placements at the Arnold Classic or Mr. Olympia can be fun. And when you get the order right, you can deem yourself as being brilliant. Coming up with an in-depth reason why you placed the guys in a certain order is a little more challenging, but that's what I decided to do. I took four of the best physiques in the show from this year's Arnold Classic and put them up against each other with my reasons for why each should win the category.

Even though I picked Silvio Samuel to place fourth and Branch Warren to be fifth in my preview article, I thought that it would be more fun to throw Branch into the mix. Besides, Kris Gethin said he spent some time training with Warren last week and the Texan was in phenomenal shape with lots of striations popping out everywhere. His triceps look fine so maybe he'll place above Silvio anyway.

I thought playing IFBB judge was going to be an easy task; it wouldn't take very long. After all, I sit and watch these pro shows often and usually, for the most part, agree with the final decisions because I'm judging the show for myself as I write the reviews. This analysis was harder to do than I thought. When the guys are on stage in front of you, you can see who's in shape and how they move from pose to pose. (Big Bob C. has made this point many times.) Looking at photos and judging from memory makes it much harder not to have some sort of bias. Nevertheless, I gave it a shot and tried to be unbiased. Here's my criteria and pose-by-pose analysis for the upcoming 2009 Arnold Classic.

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arrow Mass:
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    When Martinez walked out onto the Olympia stage a couple years back only his silhouette was visible. You could literally hear gasps from the crowd as he strode out into the light. In bodybuilding terms I know this will be cliché, but all I can say is that he looked massive. Okay. Really massive. Is that more descriptive?


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Victor Martinez At The 2006 Olympia.
View More Pics Of Victor Martinez Here.

    Branch is no slouch in the mass area either and Kai Greene pushes the 300-pound mark in the offseason. Don't forget the X-man is pushing the 300-pound on stage and stands more than six feet tall either.


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Branch Warren, Kai Greene & Toney Freeman At The 2008 Arnold.

    With all that said, however, Victor Martinez wins in the mass category.

      Winner: Victor Martinez


Victor Martinez At The 2007 Olympia.
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Victor Martinez's 2007 Arnold Classic Posing Routine.
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[ More Routines From The 2007 Arnold Classic ]

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arrow Symmetry:
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    Although by most judging standards these days, the terms symmetry and proportion are used interchangeably and the word symmetry is used most of the time. I'm not going to do that. Why? Well, it's my article and I'm going to split the two. If you're offended and don't like it, I don't care. So there.

    Technically, symmetry means that both sides of the body match and are balanced. For example, both arms are the same size or the right and left thigh look the same.

    So judging along those lines and after analyzing the physiques, Victor wins in that area. Each side of his body is a good match for the other side. All the other guys have one arm bigger than the other or some sort of structural flaw.

    Winner: Victor Martinez


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

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arrow Proportion:
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    Proportion is how each body part balances out with the others. Back in the Steve Reeves era, some proportion guidelines were established. They were based on percentages of wrist and ankle size compared to the arms and legs. The arms, calves and neck should be the same size.

    The chest should be about 10 inches more than the waist and so forth. Well, there isn't a tape measure on stage anyway and it's all about how each body part looks next to another.

    Branch still needs to work on the entire upper body to compare with his legs and he has weak forearms.

branch warren branch warren
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Branch Needs To Work On Those Forearms.

    Victor needs calves. Well, actually, he needs just a little more than Toney and Kai, who are lacking in that area too.

victor Martinez Toney Freeman Kai Greene
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A Sad Collection Of Calves.

    There's also something about Victor's squared-off shoulder structure that doesn't look quite proportional either. So, when it comes to proportion between these four guys, it comes down to Kai Greene and Toney Freeman with Kai Greene getting the nod.

      Winner: Kai Greene

Kai Greene
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Kai Greene At The 2008 New York Men's Pro.
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Kai Greene's 2008 Arnold Classic Posing Routine.
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[ More Routines From The 2008 Arnold Classic ]

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arrow Shape:
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    This is where the X-Man shines. Toney has a very pleasing physique. Despite his size, he still looks athletic. He has full, sweeping muscle bellies without any strange, lumpy looking muscle groups.

Toney Freeman Toney Freeman
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Toney Has A Very Pleasing Physique.

    I'm sure many think that Victor would win the shape category, but, to me, his actual muscle shape looks a little strange, especially his biceps and calves. His delts and traps flow into each other without a crisp separation either.

Victor Martinez Victor Martinez
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His Actual Muscle Shape Looks A Little Strange.

      Winner: Toney Freeman


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Toney Freeman At The 2008 Olympia.
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Toney Freeman's 2008 IFBB Iron Man Pro Posing Routine.
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[ More Routines From The 2008 Iron Man ]

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arrow Conditioning:
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    For conditioning, it's between Kai Greene and Branch Warren. When Kai burst onto the scene a couple years ago, everyone was impressed with his conditioning. Since he's added some size, he hasn't been quite as sharp.

Kai Greene Branch Warren
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For Conditioning, It's Between Kai Greene And Branch Warren.

    He's gotten close, but not as sharp as he was in 2007. Branch Warren wins the conditioning category. When he's on, no one can touch him.

      Winner: Branch Warren

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

Branch Warren's 2008 Arnold Classic Posing Routine.
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[ More Routines From The 2008 Arnold Classic ]

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arrow Front Double Bicep:
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    Branch Warren was eliminated first. I've seen very few competitions or photos where Branch looks really good in the front double bicep pose. It might just be the way he hits it. His elbows need to go up a bit. I do, however, like the way Kai Greene artistically strikes the pose, but the duel is really between Victor and Toney.

    Branch Warren Kai Green Victor Martinez
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    Front Double Bicep.

    I struggled with this one. Toney has a good, streamline look (which I prefer) but Victor is just too massive in this pose not give him the nod.

      Winner: Victor Martinez

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

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arrow Front Lat Spread:
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    He's not called the X-man for nothing. Toney rules this pose. Vic is thick, but that ain't enough for this pose.

Toney Freeman Victor Martinez Branch Warren Kai Greene
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Front Lat Spread.

      Winner: Toney Freeman

Toney Freeman
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Toney Freeman At The 2008 Olympia.
View More Pics Of Toney Freeman Here.

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arrow Side Chest:
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    Victor Martinez has the thickest upper pecs in the business. It seems every pro has stated he needs to "bring up the upper chest a bit." I wonder if Victor has ever said this. I sort of doubt it. If he did, it was along time ago. Although each of these four guys really have good side chest shots, Victor looks the best in it. His hams, quads, arms, delts and chest all look thick and separated in the side chest pose.

Toney Freeman Victor Martinez Kai Green Branch Warren

      Winner: Victor Martinez

Victor Martinez
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Victor Martinez.
View More Pics Of Victor Martinez Here.

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arrow Side Triceps:
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    Although I like the way Freeman strikes this pose, it's more like a front triceps pose. It shows off his delt and abs really well, but it's not the side shot all the other guys hit. And although Victor's triceps looks huge in this shot, he doesn't match the detail of Kai Greene. Martinez has large and full triceps, but they don't look hard. Greene's striations are reminiscent of that incredible shot of Samir Bannout from the 1983 Mr. Olympia.

Victor Martinez Toney Freeman Branch Warren Kai Greene

      Winner: Kai Greene

Kai Greene
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Kai Greene.
View More Pics Of Kai Greene Here.

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arrow Back Double Bicep:
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    I went back and forth with this pose. Branch's hams and calves look incredible in this pose. Even though he wins for best legs in this pose, his back looks thick and dense but doesn't have the separation of Greene or Martinez. Freeman's delts overpower his lats in the pose. It came down between Greene and Martinez. Greene's back is very thick and it sort of looks like Lee Haney's, but his short torso takes away from a complete look and his lats almost appear compacted. Victor's drawback in this pose is that his delts look tiny in comparison to other guys hitting the pose. His front delts are almost invisible, but overall Victor is the, ah, "victor" in the back double bicep.

    Victor Martinez Toney Freeman branch warren Kai Greene
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    Back Double Bicep.

      Winner: Victor Martinez

Victor Martinez
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Victor Martinez.
View More Pics Of Victor Martinez Here.

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arrow Back Lat Spread:
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    I'm going with Victor for the win in this pose also. He has the edges of the "Christmas Tree" visible when striking the back lat shot. No one else has that or Victor is hitting the pose differently to bring it out. It makes him stand out, nonetheless.

Victor Martinez Toney Freeman Branch Warren Kai Green
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Back Lat Spread.

      Winner: Victor Martinez

Victor Martinez
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Victor Martinez.
View More Pics Of Victor Martinez Here.

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arrow Abs & Thigh:
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    I have to go with Kai for this pose. His abdominals are thick and dense and when he flexes his thigh, all four heads in his quads have zippers going through them. Freeman can't match the deeply etched details of Greene and neither can Martinez. Victor also looks awkward in this pose - almost like he's doing a sit-up while standing.

Victor Martinez Toney Freeman Kai Greene Branch Warren
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Abs & Thigh.

      Winner: Kai Greene

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

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arrow Most Muscular:
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    What can I say? Branch Warren won the Most Muscular Award at the 2006 Arnold Classic. When he's in shape and he hits this pose, every vein, striation and muscle fiber looks like it's going to pop. That's what the most muscular is all about. It's not the prettiest of poses, but it always gets the crowd going.

Victor Martinez Toney Freeman Kai Greene Branch Warren

      Winner: Branch Warren

Branch Warren
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Branch Warren At The 2006 Arnold Classic.
View More Pics Of Branch Warren Here.

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Tallying The Results
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I kept the scoring very simple - one point per category win and nothing else. Here are the results:

  • Branch Warren: 2
  • Toney Freeman: 2
  • Kai Greene: 3
  • Victor Martinez: 5

This is how I see it. The IFBB judges might see it differently than I do. We'll have to wait until next month in Columbus to find out if this analysis is on target or not.