The Top 10 Best Bodies of The Arnold Classic
We rank the best physiques to ever step on the Columbus, Ohio stage over the 25-year history of the biggest event in bodybuilding
9. PHIL HEATH
NICKNAME: The Gift
COMPETITION WEIGHT: 246 pounds
YEARS ACTIVE AS A PRO: 2006–present
BEST PLACING AT THE ARNOLD CLASSIC: Second, 2010
Nine total first-place finishes in IFBB competitions
2006: First, New York Pro
2008: First, Ironman Pro
2011: First, Mr. Olympia; first,
2012: First, Mr. Olympia; first,
2013: First, Mr. Olympia; first, Arnold Classic Europe
BEST KNOWN FOR: Scary delts, huge arms, tiny waist and mind-blowing conditioning
In 2008, the Arnold barely slipped through Phil Heath’s fingers, earning Dexter Jackson his third title. According to many, the race was a near-tie. A few weeks earlier, it was said that Heath had been a bit crisper at the Ironman in Southern California, but at the Arnold, Jackson’s maturity and condition just barely elevated him to ascendancy. Or did it?
Following criticism that Heath simply wasn’t large enough to win the title after a fifth-place finish in 2007, he came in 20 pounds heavier in 2008, with eye-boggling separation and mass that reflected a future Mr. Olympia (the crown he claimed in 2011, 2012 and 2013).
And what about this? The final score sheet from the judging panel shows a whopping 17-point difference between the pair of competitors, something difficult to fathom in light of public consensus (cue the old saying “The audience is never wrong”) and Heath’s 20 pounds of precision muscle gain. Ultimately, he received a placing in this top lineup for the fact that he very well could, and possibly should, have won the Arnold in 2008. Let’s hope that his Mr. Olympia reign is tiger balm for the soul.