Frank Zane is confident that Mike O’Hearn can compete in the Mr. Olympia and do “really well,” possibly even win with the right practice.

Frank Zane is a Golden Era legendary bodybuilder that is often considered to have one of the best physiques in bodybuilding history. At 80 years old, his wisdom provides insights that bridge the past and present of bodybuilding together. With that knowledge, who does Zane believe has the best physique in modern bodybuilding? His answer, while a bit cheeky, may seem a bit out of left field for many fans of the sport. In the latest episode of Generation Iron and Barbend presents The Mike O’Hearn Show, Frank Zane explains why he believes Mike O’Hearn can do very well in the Mr. Olympia today – and perhaps even win it.

Recently, Mike O’Hearn had the opportunity to meet up and sit down with the legendary bodybuilder Frank Zane. What transpired was a very causal but informative off-the-cuff conversation with the Golden Era legend. We had previously released part one of their conversation – discussing bodybuilding off-season mistakes. This week, we are bringing back part two of this “fly on the wall” glimpse into a hangout with Frank Zane.

In this part of the discussion, Frank Zane reflects on what he considers to be his best physique ever, provides advice on how to best prepare for a bodybuilding competition, and theorizes how well Mike O’Hearn’s physique (with the proper training and preparation) will hold up at the Mr. Olympia competition today. Let’s jump in.


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Frank Zane thinks he could work with Mike O’Hearn to help him win Mr. Olympia

During Frank Zane’s conversation with Mike O’Hearn, Zane discussed how he would only worry about his own physique standards rather than the judges or the crowd. He purports that is why he was so successful. This then triggered a question – now that Zane is no longer competing, who does he think is the best in bodybuilding today?

Frank Zane looked at Mike O’Hearn with a grin and stated, “I think Mike O’Hearn is the best.”

He laughs – seemingly making a joke. But then the conversation becomes more serious. He’s then asked if Mike O’Hearn should be competing at the Mr. Olympia contest. Zane gave his answer some real thought.

“You could. I mean, if I worked with you on your posing, your presentation – I think you can do really well. Now whether you can win it the first year, that’s something to do. But I think eventually win it.”

Frank Zane understands that Mike O’Hearn can’t walk right onto a bodybuilding stage and start winning shows after years away from competing. But he does believe that, with practice, O’Hearn can bring a physique package competitive with the best of today.

More specifically, Frank Zane believes that if Mike O’Hearn trained with Zane specifically, they could work on posing and presentation and eventually bring O’Hearn to a place where he could possibly win the Mr. Olympia.

Of course, this is likely something Mike O’Hearn would never do. He has often stated that his physique and his health are more for his own personal goals rather than any trophy. It’s the very reason he moved away from competitions in the first place.

But it does beg the question – with Mike O’Hearn’s well known work ethic and consistency for many decades, how well could he do if he started training specifically for a Mr. Olympia competition?

Frank Zane shares the most important piece of advice for bodybuilders during contest prep

Speaking of posing and presentation, Frank Zane also speaks on the importance of these factors for any bodybuilder prepping for a competition. Zane believes that practicing posing is the single most important part of contest prep.

Specifically, Frank Zane talks about how he would constantly take photos of his poses and practice every day. Zane and Mike O’Hearn discuss how photographs often work better than mirrors. Zane believes that perhaps there is just too much light distortion with a mirror’s reflection vs the real thing. But they also discuss the importance of learning how to pose without seeing yourself in a mirror.

When you are on stage – you won’t be able to see yourself. So it’s vital to learn the feel of your poses and making them as perfect as possible. You can do this by looking at photos after you practice posing – rather than looking in the mirror. Then when you perfect it, you can repeat this same feeling while you are on stage.

Ultimately, Frank Zane acknowledges that the posing and presentation is the only thing that is judged at a bodybuilding show. You can train and diet and have the best physique in the world – but if you don’t know how to display it, you won’t win.

Wrap Up

Mike O’Hearn and Frank Zane discuss far many other topics that we couldn’t fit into this recap. This includes Zane’s reflection on his greatest physique ever presented and also his opinion on competition judges. You can watch the full episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show above.

Don’t forget to check back every Friday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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.