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Nothing motivates me more than seeing the bodybuilders from the old days,” says IFBB Pro League classic physique competitor Wesley Vissers. “The way they thought, trained, posed, and conducted themselves was unique.”
That love for the Golden Era—especially the icon himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger—is a preeminent part of Vissers’ life and approach to competitive bodybuilding. “When the classic physique division came to Europe in 2018, I immediately took my chance to jump in,” he says. “It’s also why a lot of the poses I use onstage are based on Arnold’s style.”
Vissers inherited his love of training from his father, who first prodded his 140-pound, 13-year-old son to try weight training. “I always looked up to him as someone big and strong, so the moment I was allowed to use weights, I went with him and he taught me the right way,” Vissers recalls. The youngster made gains relatively quickly, and they intensified once he nailed down his diet. By the time he was 20, Vissers tipped the scales at 185 pounds and was ready for his first show, a local amateur event in 2013, where he won the overall junior division title.
He also found instant success in the professional ranks, winning his IFBB Pro League debut, the 2018 Chicago Pro Classic Physique in July. “Going in, I was very confident and expected to win,” he says. “But when I got there and saw the athletes backstage in person for the first time, it dawned on me that they were a breed apart from everyone I had competed against before.” The victory earned Vissers a spot at the Olympia, where he tied for 14th on the scorecards.
While striving for that classic look onstage, the 25-year-old Netherlands native is also doing his part offstage to bring the tenets of the Golden Era back with his clothing line, Vintage Genetics. “I started it with my brother, Kane, who I’ve trained with for years,” he says. “I want it to be a globally known brand that stands for true classic bodybuilding.”
Vissers approaches his body-part workouts, like the chest workout he shares here, with basic bread-and-butter barbell and dumbbell exercises. This involves Arnold faves like pullovers and dumbbell flyes, while pyramiding up the weight set to set and working through a full range of motion.