Some fans and athletes believe modern bodybuilding has worse conditioning than past eras. Hidetada Yamagishi disagrees.

Hidetada Yamagishi is a bodybuilder who has competed through many eras. As such, it can be argued he bridges the gap between today’s modern era and recent previous eras of the sport. That’s why we wanted to get Hidetada’s opinion on the growing criticism against modern bodybuilding. Specifically, that conditioning has declined over recent years. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Hidetada Yamagishi explains why he thinks conditioning in bodybuilding is just as good as ever.

Has modern bodybuilding declined? It depends on who you ask – but there has certainly been a growing voice online criticizing the conditioning of today’s bodybuilders. It all seemed to hit a tipping point after the 2019 Mr. Olympia. Brandon Curry won the title and shortly after bodybuilding legends such as Dorian Yates and Ronnie Coleman criticized the quality of the Olympia lineup.

Throughout the year, we’ve been asking athletes, trainers, and experts for their opinion on the current state of bodybuilding. Has it declined? Or is this simply a false narrative during a transitionary period between eras? One of the latest people we spoke with is Hidetada Yamagishi. When asked about the current criticism of modern bodybuilding – he couldn’t disagree more.

First he focuses on size. While Ronnie Coleman was a mass monster superstar – he was an exception and not the rule. Hidetada Yamagishi believes that today’s bodybuilders are actually bigger. While this is seen as a negative to some, Hidetada stands by a basic credo – bigger is better.

Those who criticize the large mass monsters of today’s era often cite lack of conditioning as the reason for the decline. Again, Hidetada Yamagishi doesn’t see the evidence. He believes that today’s bodybuilders bring in excellent conditioning and if they were to compete in the 90s, they would have stood well against the legends we know today.

He admits though, that this is ultimately all down to opinion. He thinks the argument in question happens in every sport. Why? For entertainment. The act of comparing eras or different legendary athletes is fun. There’s no way to ultimately prove one is right and the other is wrong. It’s a thought exercise that helps individuals share their passion and opinion.

So ultimately, no, Hidetada Yamagishi does not think that this new era of bodybuilding is significantly worse than eras past. There will always be people who romanticize the past. And there will always be contrarians that start debates for pure entertainment. That’s the nature of sports and competition.

You can watch Hidetada Yamagishi share his full comments in our latest GI Exclusive interview 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.