Bob Cicherillo points towards Big Ramy’s inability to adapt, believes that perhaps his career future is now on the decline.
Big Ramy losing the 2022 Mr. Olympia and falling to fifth place was a shock to many in the industry. When it was announced Ramy would quickly turn around and do the 2023 Arnold Classic, the bodybuilding world saw this as his redemption. He ended up placing 4th. Now many have speculated as to what his next move should be for the future. In a recent podcast episode of Voice Of Bodybuilding, Bob Cicherillo, the IFBB Pro athletes’ representative, shared his thoughts and casts doubt on Big Ramy’s chances for redemption in the future.
There is no doubt that Big Ramy is one of the top pro bodybuilders competing today. And with his two Mr. Olympia wins, he joins a very short list of competitors who stand tall as the best of all time. What is somewhat unusual, though, is that Ramy’s fall from the throne was swift and hard. Instead of falling to second in a tight battle (such as Phil Heath vs Shawn Rhoden when he finally lost his title after seven straight wins), Ramy went from first to fifth in just one year.
Due to this shocking fall from grace, the entire bodybuilding world started speculating what may have caused the judges to cast him so far down. The quality of his legs, specifically “dents” that many noticed in his quads, seemed to be the main culprit in many people’s eyes. Shortly after the Olympia, Big Ramy announced that he would be seeking stem cell treatment from Dr. Khan to help solve the issue with his quads and aid in recovery.
Soon after that, Big Ramy also announced that he would be competing at the 2023 Arnold Classic. Just three months after the Olympia, this would be Ramy’s chance to prove that the Olympia failure was just a fluke – and set him up to remain a threat at the 2023 Mr. Olympia later this year. Not only that, but Ramy would be competing against Nick Walker, who placed third over Ramy’s fifth. This wouldn’t be a chance to win a show with less competition – this would be somewhat a recreation of the Olympia itself.
Unfortunately, the 2023 Arnold Classic did little to raise hopes for Big Ramy. He ended up placing fourth behind the likes of Samson Dauda, Nick Walker, and Andrew Jacked. Notably, Jacked and Dauda both placed below Ramy at the 2022 Olympia. While Ramy did look much improved from his 2022 showing – it wasn’t enough to defeat this younger generation on the rise.
Shortly after the 2023 Arnold Classic, Bob Cicherillo went into detail about the results of the big show. He commented on why Samson Dauda won over Nick Walker and defended the judges decision in the face of online controversy.
Now it seems Cicherillo is answering the second biggest question on bodybuilding fans’ minds – what happened to Big Ramy at the Arnold Classic and why did he place fourth? In a recent episode of his Voice of Bodybuilding podcast, Cicherillo dives into it with great detail.
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Bob Cicherillo warns of a bumpy road ahead for Big Ramy, casting doubt that he can win another Mr. Olympia
Bob Cicherillo starts off his critique by comparing Big Ramy’s physique today with his physique from ten years ago. He makes the point that Ramy has been competing for quite some time, now 38 years old and coming up into his 40s:
“What’s changed? Well, he’s 10 years older… As this relates to training, from your 20s to your 30s to your 40s, and you’re going to see this, especially in Pro or competitive bodybuilders. In your 20s to 30s, you should be building a base for bodybuilding, building the shoulders, keeping that small waist, big flaring thighs, back, etc. From 30 to 40, you’re looking to refine your physique now. This is where it gets hairy because this is the golden spot for bodybuilders. This is where your peak conditioning, your peak physique as it would be is somewhere between 30 and 40. That’s the sweet spot.”
Bob Cicherillo doesn’t seem to be claiming that Big Ramy is aging out of success. Far from it, he’s pointing out that this age of his career should be his “golden spot.” However, this can only happen if the first 10 years leading up to it built the proper foundation.
And more importantly, a bodybuilder needs to be able to adapt as their body changes with age. This seems to be Cicherillo’s biggest criticism. He believes that Ramy was not able to adapt properly – putting him into a “trap” now that he’s near his 40s.
“During the peak of your career, this is where I think Big Ramy has fallen into this trap, the exercises stay the same because you’re seeing results. In his Olympia career, he placed eighth, seventh, fifth, fourth, second, and then sixth again before he won two and then six. You can see the consistency that this guy was making great progress… but his base training, if it remained the same, will only take you so far. Then, you’re going to start getting diminishing returns…
When you get towards the end of your career, as you approach 40, now you’re in preservation. That means you can start downsizing your training a little bit to compensate. You can’t do what you could in your 20s. If you keep going to the well, I can guarantee you will come up empty in one of those trips. That empty will surface in the form of an injury, something that’s chronic.”
Bob Cicherillo doesn’t think Big Ramy should quit, just take an extended break
Despite this criticism, Bob Cicherillo hasn’t gone as far as some fans who believe it is time for Big Ramy to hang up the towel for good. Instead, Cicherillo thinks that he should take a break – presumably to not compete in the 2023 Mr. Olympia.
His reasoning is that the issues that we see in Big Ramy’s physique are bigger and deeper than we realize. It goes beyond what is presented on the surface. As we’ve seen from the 2023 Arnold Classic – this isn’t something that can be fixed in three months.
“What happened to Big Ramy? Aging process, training anomalies, he’s got clear differences to his physique. He’s also got, not to take away from anybody but who he started out with and competing against was a little bit harder in my opinion and a little tougher lineup… Was this lineup as tough as the one from 10 years ago? No, not in any way, shape, or form but Big Ramy was struggling. You can see why and that was against lesser competition.
“So the problems are a little bit more than we even think. What’s my recommendation? Take off. You’ve already heard his trainer Chad Nicholls recommend they do some stem cells. That’s a great idea just to kid of get back because I think there might be some nerve issues there. Let’s face it. Ramy is big. He’s 300 pounds. He hasn’t lost any muscle in terms of overall. He’s still carrying as much mass if not more but that seems to be a problem now.”
Despite this suggestion to take time off, Bob Cicherillo ends his critique by ultimately saying that Big Ramy will likely never win the Mr. Olympia again. Of course, this is just one man’s opinion – but as a former pro bodybuilder and a representative of the IFBB Pro league, it comes with some weight.
“I don’t think he’s capable of winning an Olympia again. But let’s just say he wants to compete, he’s got more gas in the tank… I would revamp the whole physique if he can, come back, return to the old school physique, 10 to 15 pounds lighter and assuming he could heal any of those areas we saw to be a problem, he could be a contender again. It’s unlikely because he’ll be 41 years old at that point and it doesn’t get easier as you go on. It’s going to get much harder.”
Bob Cicherillo’s words are a tough pill to swallow. But the beautiful thing about any competitive sport is that surprises can happen. Becoming an underdog can bring out incredible things from athletes.
What is clear is that Big Ramy has a challenging road ahead of him. He will only get older and the younger generation will only continue to improve as they enter their prime years. So now the biggest question that we expect to see answered soon is whether or not Ramy will take time off to retool – or will we see him once again at the 2023 Mr. Olympia.
Only time will tell – but you can stay up to date with the latest bodybuilding news and exclusives by staying tuned to the Generation Iron Fitness Network!
You can watch the full video from the Voice of Bodybuilding podcast below: