Antoine Vaillant believes chasing mass monster size leads to a less quality bodybuilding physique.

If you chronicle the evolution of bodybuilding over the decades, you’ll notice that size has increased significantly from where the sport started. There are a wide variety of reasons for this including training knowledge enhancements, scientific/medical enhancements, and cultural changes throughout the years. But has bigger become better? Or has it gone too far leading to a dip in quality in recent years? In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Antoine Vaillant explains how the biggest mistake bodybuilders make is chase bigger size. Likely caused by the reign of Ronnie Coleman in the 90s and early 2000s.

This segment of our interview with Antoine Vaillant started off with a question we’ve been asking every athlete – were past decades better than today’s athletes? Much like Nick Walker’s recent statements, Vaillant believes that the 90s and early 2000s were not that much better than today. In fact, he thinks the entire criticism has been overblown due to mythologizing the past and less images or footage available compared to today.

But more importantly than that, Antoine Vaillant thinks the same problems plagued bodybuilding in the 90s that exist today. Namely, that bodybuilders are getting too wide, especially in the waist, as they push to get bigger and bigger.

In fact, Antoine Vaillant thinks that the biggest mistake a bodybuilder can make is to chase size. While that is a criticism many fans and athletes have made about today’s era of the sport, Vaillant thinks the same issue was happening in the 90s and early 2000s.

Of course, Vaillant is not including Ronnie Coleman himself in this category. He stands as a rare exception alongside other legends like Dorian Yates. But Vaillant uses Nasser El Sonbaty as an example of someone who chased Ronnie’s size too far. While Vaillant admits that Nasser is a great bodybuilder, he thinks he would have been better at a smaller size.

In general, Antoine Vaillant thinks that chasing size has been the biggest problem ever since Ronnie Coleman appeared on stage as an Olympia champion. It’s something he’s even worried about with his own physique. He’s extra worried of his waist becoming too wide as he brings his weight up. Vaillant knows he could do better to build some size but wants to find a delicate balance to maintain supreme conditioning.

Antoine Vaillant goes on to say that he thinks perhaps Shawn Rhoden winning in 2018 was a statement from the judges. One that said – start focusing less on size. But if that’s the case, it doesn’t seem to be a strong enough statement as of yet. With other divisions like Classic Physique providing alternatives for smaller bodybuilders, it seems that Men’s Open will continue to be a mass monster showdown.

And maybe that’s perfectly fine. What’s more important is the bodybuilders within that division not getting smoked by getting too obsessed with size overall. Perhaps that has been the problem Big Ramy has found himself in all these years. There is no definitive answer when so many variables can come into play in the final week before a competition.

You can watch Antoine Vaillant’s full comments about chasing size and 90s bodybuilding in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above.

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.