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This year’s Arnold had a strong field of 14 competitors, including the highly anticipated return of Branch Warren after his 2011 leg injury. The Flex Pro 2 weeks prior marked the official start of the 2012 bodybuilding season. In that short time several of the competitors have made adjustments in trying to peak for the Arnold. Let’s do a rundown of each athlete in order of appearance:
– In terms of conditioning this is the best we’ve seen of Ben. However, his glutes are soft and he could be drier.
– Evan definitely added size since the Arnold last year. His improvements in size are especially noticeable throughout his back. His conditioning is good but right now not at 100%, though we’ll see if it sharpens up as he poses in the prejudging. His glutes and hams are both hard.
– This 6’1” policeman is a tall athlete with long muscle bellies. At this height, he lacks size; he really needs bigger legs. However, his upper body is in good shape – he shows a good crispness to the muscle. He lacks overall depth/maturity to his muscles.
– Just coming off his win at the Flex Pro, his conditioning might actually be improved from 2 weeks ago, but he’s flat. Due to this, his conditioning does not pop out. His structure great! However, just a little smaller than at Flex Pro 2 wks ago. As he poses u can see him come alive. This is a phenomenal athlete right here. He’s also drier than at Flex Pro but not quite same level of fullness.
– Not the biggest or hardest we've seen him but this combination is good, especially with his structure. His glutes are hard but not the razor sharp condition we're used to seeing. Overall, he needs to be drier. However, this is an improved Dexter from his last couple of shows.
– He’s not as sharp as 2 weeks ago at the Flex Pro but he is bigger and fuller and in great shape; great conditioning. This package is probably a better combination for here. Crazy conditioning! You can tell he sacrificed a little razor sharpness to get bigger and add size but this is a good combination for this show. One of the best conditioned athletes in this show. He still needs overall leg size from the front. He also needs thickness to match upper body. Good from sides and back.
– For not competing for 2 yrs this is a good showing for first show back in the game. His conditioning is good but definitely not the best we've seen fro him. His legs are down a little but you can tell he added size overall. He has some good dryness and as he poses he continues to get better so it will improve as PJ goes on. He’s brought a tight midsection this time, which was a critique of his in the past.
– This is a better version than we saw last year; you can see a small imbalance with quad but not enough to hurt him here. In fact, it’s remarkable how balanced it is in this short period of time! His size is good. He has a good hardness and dryness to skin right off the bat. His glutes are hard, lower back is tight, hams are good. However, his upper back could be a little harder. By far, the most impressive guy so far! Everybody who doubted he'd be a front runner just got a surprise.
– Looks fuller than at his 3rd place win at the Flex Pro. Good conditioning, sharp glutes, dry and tight through his lower back. This could be the best we've seen him; best combination of size/fullness along with conditioning.
– Genetically one of best guys in line up. He possesses an eye appealing physique. Unfortunately his conditioning is a little off. He still lacks the dryness and finished look on stage
– 10% harder than when he took 2nd at the Flex Pro 2 weeks prior. He has freaky quads. His glutes are shredded and his calves/hams are nuts. This is the best we've seen him. His midsection is down, nice and tight which is key for Ben. Should be in the mix for top 5.
– Overall he’s got good conditioning but not the finished dry look he's had in the past. He needs more depth and detail to the muscle that give him the 3D appearance on stage. His back looks good but his hams and quads from the side are a little weak. Overall a good showing.
– 4th Place at Flex Pro but seems to have improved since then. Structurally beautiful physique. His conditioning not 100% but better than 2 wks ago but he’s within about 15% of where he needs to be. His glutes are hard from side and his hams are detailed. He’s harder from back than front.
– Conditioning is very good. His glutes are sharp from the side but could be a little harder. He’s dry. Showing lots of sharpness in his quads. His back improved tremendously in thickness. This could be his best combo of size/conditioning. One of the best we've seen so far.
Once the line up started and the first callout occurred, Evan was starting to flatten out; his conditioning was starting to go a bit. He had a hardness but not a fullness. Branch may have faded also just a tiny bit. Wolf seemed to be getting harder, though, as he posed.
As the prejudge went on, it seemed obvious that Wolf and Branch would be #1 and 2. As he battled for 3rd, Evan started coming alive after posing. However, Dexter was fading as they posed.
The battle for 3-6 will be fierce tonight on stage!