The Rock has shared different leg day finishers on different occasions.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has put together some big-time workouts over the course of his career. He is one of the most successful actors in Hollywood and has tailored his physique for different roles on the big screen. That is continuing as The Rock put together a “killer” legday finisher recently.
Johnson built one of the most impressive home gyms that you will see. His “Iron Paradise” has held many training sessions that The Rock has gone through and shared for his 345 million followers to see. After some massive workouts, Johnson has enjoyed plenty of cheat meals to take a break from his strict diet plan.
The Rock was preparing for quite some time for his role in Black Adam, the recently released film where he was portraying a superhero. Now, the workouts continue to be strenuous as Johnson keeps his physique in shape.
The Rock’s Newest Leg Day Finisher
The Rock shared this workout with some instructions for those who want to try. These include using just fingertips and keeping the dumbbell off the floor.
5 monster sets.
100lb DB sumo squat with 3 second negative and 1 second pause at bottom.
* don’t let dumbbell touch the floor
* for grip strength hold dumbbell with just fingertips 🙌🏾
* slight lean forward”
The workout consists of four exercises performed back-to-back with no rest. Each workout must have five reps completed before moving on. In the end, The Rock provides a call to action for fans to try this workout and put their legs through the ringer.
This is one of many big-time workouts that The Rock has done. he was recently joined by the likes of Los Angeles Rams’ defensive tackle Aaron Donald for a back day. If there is one person to follow for workout tips, The Rock has to be near the top of the list.
Big Ramy looks unbeatable six weeks out from the 2022 Olympia.
Six weeks out from the 2022 Olympia, Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay is looking unstoppable. His latest physique update shows a champion ready to defend his title with some impressive improvements.
Well it seems as if the reigning Mr. Olympia just issued another notice to his competition. This man is just on an entirely different level. While he hadn’t shown much of his physique throughout the year, Big Ramy is making up for it big time in his physique updates as of late. It seems as if every update shows the Egyptian star looking bigger, more conditioned, and stage ready.
Other top contenders in the Men’s Open Bodybuilding division are showing some incredible improvements themselves. Nick Walker is looking massive yet fine tuned with a much more slimmed down midsection. William Bonac is also looking incredible as of late with some great conditioning. But it does seem futile when you compare them to Big Ramy.
And his most latest physique update big Ramy is showing impressive gains. While he has always been down for a size his conditioning seems to be reaching a whole new level. A big Ramy who is in great condition is a difficult man to defeat. But rather than heap praise and hyperbole, let’s allow the latest physique update images to speak for themselves.
The definition in his legs as well as the vascularity is otherworldly. Right now Big Ramy looks inhuman and a shoe-in to win the 2022 Olympia. The opposition will have to bring something different to the table if they hope to defeat him.
With just six weeks until the big show, can the rest of the division catch up in time? While Hunter Labrada, Nick Walker, Hadi Choopan, and Brandon Curry all have a fighting chance, it’s looking more and more likely that Big Ramy will defend his title.
News and Editorial Writer at Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.
Unconventional Core Training for Effective Strength Gains
When it comes to selecting core development exercises, there are a number of popular exercises that are often chosen – crunches, side bends, Russian twists & planks. There is no denying that these exercises are highly effective when performed correctly. However, after some time it may become necessary to find alternative core exercises. It may be necessary to change them as a method of progressive overload or because there is a need to freshen up your training to maintain motivation or adherence. Whatever the reason for performing new abdominal exercises, the dumbbell row side plank can present a real challenge, not just for the abdominals, but for the entire body.
Dumbbell Row Side Plank Technique & Muscles Worked
In terms of the muscles recruited in the exercise, there are many muscles must engage either to cause movement or stabilize the body. The muscles which are primarily involved in the dumbbell row side plank are the abdominals, obliques, lats, rhomboids, adductors, and glutes. There are a number of secondary muscles that assist in the exercise including the quads, hamstrings, traps, deltoids, and triceps. Judging by the number of muscles listed, it should be evident that the dumbbell row side plank is a full-body exercise.
1) The Side Plank Position
When setting up for the dumbbell row side plank, it is imperative that the body is set in the right position before the rowing phase of the exercise can take place. When assuming the side plank position, start on your side. Place your hand flat on the floor, and extend the arm fully ensuring that the hand is directly under the shoulder. Keeping the core muscles engaged, lift the hips off the floor while extending the legs fully so that the body is held in a straight line – ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders should be aligned.
2) Locking the Shoulder
Prior to picking up the dumbbell, it’s important to ensure that the shoulder of the rowing arm is “locked” in position. To effectively do this, retract the shoulder and pull it downwards. Allowing the shoulder to rise upward or pull forward will not only negatively impact the movement mechanics but may also place excessive strain on the shoulder joint thus increasing the risk of injury. In addition, look to keep the supporting arm straight throughout the duration of the exercise. Allowing the elbow to bend may compromise stability and affect the side plank position.
3) Rip the Dumbbell
To allow you to reach the dumbbell on the floor it will be necessary to rotate the trunk slightly. Keep the chest up and core tight while you rotate in order to maintain alignment and protect the spine. Once you pick up the dumbbell, rotate the trunk and simultaneously row the dumbbell powerfully into the body and maximally squeeze between the shoulder blades. In the row, ensure that the elbow is kept slightly down from the height of the shoulder as the dumbbell is pulled into the body. Allowing the elbow to rise up can place strain on the shoulder joint.
4) Control the Descent
As you begin to lower the dumbbell back down to the floor, avoid dropping the dumbbell too quickly as this will only increase the risk of pulling the body out of position. Instead, squeeze the abdominals, reverse the rowing action in a controlled manner and slowly rotate through the trunk in order to bring the dumbbell back down. Lowering the dumbbell in a controlled fashion while maintaining core engagement will effectively facilitate a solid side plank position thus reducing the risk of sustaining of injury.
Dumbbell Row Side Plank Benefits
The dumbbell row side plank can prove to be a highly effective exercise for a range of lifters and athletes. This section will expand on a select number of benefits associated with the dumbbell row side plank.
1) Enhanced Full-Body Stability
As mentioned, the dumbbell row side plank places a large demand on the core. Often the function of the core is misunderstood – the core works to stabilize the body as it moves (1). The core maximally engages during the side plank in order to hold the body in the correct position. The addition of the dumbbell row places even more demand on the core to work and maintain stability. Furthermore, proprioceptive abilities such as balance and coordination will also improve with regular practice thus enhancing full-body stability further.
2) Improved Ab Strength & Definition
The abdominals are often mistaken to be just one muscle; however, there are four individual muscles that make up the abdominal muscle group – the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal oblique & external oblique (2). All four of these muscles must isometrically contract in the side plank to successfully hold the side plank. The obliques must also concentrically and eccentrically contract to cause the trunk to rotate in the row. Regularly performing the dumbbell row side plank will place a large demand on the abdominal muscles and cause them to increase in both size and strength.
3) Improved Pulling Strength
The lats are wing-like muscles found in the back that are predominantly responsible for all upper body pulling exercises. The row phase of the exercise will place great stress on the lats, as well as a number of other back muscles (3), consequently causing a significant adaptation in back strength and size. Having bigger and stronger lats, rhomboids, traps, and rear delts will improve your pulling capacity and build your back.
4) Performance Facilitation
Finally, a combination of the aforementioned benefits associated with the dumbbell row side plank can have a positive impact on athletic performance and injury risk. Having a stronger and more stable core can notably impact compound lifts such as the squat, deadlift, presses, and Olympic lifts, and may facilitate a safer, more effective lift. Increasing the strength of the back and your pulling capacity may also transfer into a greater performance with all upper body pulling exercises such as the lat pulldown and row.
Dumbbell Row Side Plank Variations & Alternatives
This section will highlight a number of variations that can be utilized to advance the dumbbell row side plank and add demand to maintain a steady rate of adaptation. There are also three dumbbell row side plank alternatives listed that will allow you to regress the exercise if necessary.
Alternating Dumbbell Row Side Planks
The alternating version involves switching sides after each rep. On completion of a row on one side, immediately move into a side plank on the alternate side and complete a row. Continuously switch from side to side until you have completed the prescribed number of reps. Constantly switching arms will not only add a challenge in terms of stability and coordination, but it will also place an increased demand through the shoulders.
Eccentric Dumbbell Row Side Planks
For the eccentric variation, complete the movement as normal, however, look to slowly the dumbbell back down to the floor with each and every rep. Using a descent of 3-5 seconds will add mechanical tension and increase the degree muscular damage sustained – both of which are principles of muscular growth (4). As a result, eccentric exercises can be considered an effective method for bringing about calisthenics workout.
Archers Row Side Planks
The archers row variation starts in a full plank position rather than the side plank. Grip the dumbbell and as you begin to row, simultaneously rotate the body into a side plank. From that position, keep the core tight and gradually reverse the movement by extending the arm and rotating the trunk until you assume the full plank position once again. Switch sides and repeat for the designated number of reps.
Dumbbell Fly Side Planks
The dumbbell fly side plank is very similar to the original exercise and it works the body in a similar fashion. The only difference between the two exercises is that a fly in performed rather than a row. For the fly, maintain a straight arm and drive the dumbbell up until it is directly over the shoulder joint. The fly will place more of a stress on the rear delts (back of the shoulder) and typically a lighter weight will be used for this variation.
The renegade row is exactly the same as the dumbbell row side plank however, it places the body in a full plank rather than a side plank. For the renegade row, start in a full plank position while holding onto two dumbbells. Row one dumbbell into the body while maintaining a full plank, control the descent and then swap sides and repeat.
Plank Pull Through
For the plank pull through, assume a full plank position and place a weight to the right side of the body. Keeping the core tight, lift the left hand from the floor, reach under the body, grab the weight side and pull it through. Alternate hands and repeat.
It is clear that the dumbbell row side plank is an effective developer of abdominal strength, core stability, and pulling power, all of which contribute towards improving athletic performance. As a result, all lifters and athletes should seriously consider incorporating this exercise into their training regime.
1 – Kibler, W. Ben; Press, Joel; Sciascia, Aaron (2006). “The role of core stability in athletic function”. Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.). 36 (3): 189–198. doi:10.2165/00007256-200636030-00001. ISSN 0112-1642. PMID 16526831.
2 – Services, Department of Health & Human. “Abdominal muscles”. www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au.
3 – Fenwick, Chad M. J.; Brown, Stephen H. M.; McGill, Stuart M. (2009-03). “Comparison of different rowing exercises: trunk muscle activation and lumbar spine motion, load, and stiffness”. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 23 (2): 350–358. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181942019. ISSN 1533-4287. PMID 19197209.
4 – Franchi, Martino V.; Reeves, Neil D.; Narici, Marco V. (July 4, 2017). “Skeletal Muscle Remodeling in Response to Eccentric vs. Concentric Loading: Morphological, Molecular, and Metabolic Adaptations”. Frontiers in Physiology. 8. doi:10.3389/fphys.2017.00447. ISSN 1664-042X. PMC 5495834. PMID 28725197.
The idea of dating a muscular man can be tempting. Having a big man around you can make you feel safe and secure. This is also the reason many men join a gym so they could get more girls.
Just like with most things, dating a bodybuilder can have its pros and cons. And in this case, the cons can be a little heavier than the pros. In the end, it is your decision to make.
1. You Don’t Like Making Food
No matter who you are or where you’re from, if you’re going to date a bodybuilder you should be ready for this. Diet is one of the most important aspects of bodybuilding, and no bodybuilder will ever compromise on it.
If you happen to find a lazy partner, you could end up cooking all his meals. Pro tip: if you’re starting to date a bodybuilder, give him no clue you can cook. Pretend as if you have no idea how it is done and you can spend the rest of your life in peace.
2. Bodybuilders Can Be Self Centered
Bodybuilding is a sport where an athlete has to focus on himself. This is where bodybuilders can end up being selfish and self-centered. It can be even more prominent if he is prepping for a contest.
Fitness athletes are known to skip family and friends time to work on their art. You should be ready if this happens to you. Let us break this for you, if you like having all the attention, things might not work between you two.
3. You Don’t Like Working Out
Having a ripped partner and being fit yourself are two different things. You can expect your better half to ask you to start working out. If you’re not into the fit lifestyle, it will be better to set the expectations from the beginning.
You will also have to bear with him if he’s always talking about the gym or if he’s spending most of his time in the gym. Some bodybuilders can tend to have a small world which revolves around fitness and staying in shape.
4. Protein Farts
It is no secret bodybuilders eat a lot of protein. Protein can also be one of the hardest nutrients for your body to digest, and this can lead to farts, protein farts. If you have no idea what we’re talking about, just google it.
Trust us; you don’t want to be anywhere near protein farts. And at the same time, you can’t ask or expect your better half to stop eating protein. This will be a part of your life, and you will have to live with it.
5. Steroid Use
If your boyfriend looks anything like the guys on the Mr. Olympia stage, he’s on steroids. This might come as a surprise to you since most bodybuilders don’t like to share this part of their lifestyle with the world.
If you have reservations about drug use, you should stay away from dating a bodybuilder. It is better to clear this out before you start dating a bodybuilder. Don’t be surprised if you still find out about it later after he has denied using it.
Have you ever dated a bodybuilder? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook and Twitter.
The Biography, Life, and Accomplishments of Shannon Ray
Shannon Ray. Many of you know her as the mother of social media personality Sommer Ray. Shannon is well into her 50s, but you would never know it. She is living proof of the “age is just a number” mentality. Living a life of fitness, bodybuilding, modeling, and overall having a family can be hard, but she does it. Hardworking, disciplined, and dedicated are a few words that can describe Shannon, but this is just the surface. There is much more depth to her as a person.
In this piece, we are covering all things Shannon Ray.
Full Name: Shannon Ray
Date Of Birth
1990, 2000, 2010
Shannon Ray Biography
Beginning with a little background on Shannon, she was born on August 2, 1964. Shannon is 58 years old and still looks not a day over 30. Shannon has lived a life heavily centered around fitness, but has also balanced that with having a family. She started out in bodybuilding, and this was right after she completed her education. We will dive into this in a short bit.
Shannon stuck with the diet and training after her bodybuilding career, and took to modeling. She has always been cautious of her health and physique, trying to keep excess fat off and pump her body full of healthy foods. This is something we could all take from.
Shannon moved onto posting on Instagram. At first it was not easy, but eventually she picked up traction on her content. Nowadays, Shannon is a fitness model and social media influencer, grossing over 672 thousand followers on her Instagram account alone. She is also the mother to a few daughters, which we will touch on a bit more later on.
Shannon Ray Competition History
Shannon competed in bodybuilding after finishing her education. She did not seem to compete for too long, nor did she win any huge competitions. But, bodybuilding is not easy so props to her for not only doing it, but sticking with fitness outside of competing!
Shannon did not give up on the fitness and clean eating after her time competing. This clearly paid off!
Shannon trains like her daughter, Sommer. They actually are huge influences on each other’s fitness journeys. Shannon started showing Sommer how to train and diet properly, and it took off from there. They both lift each other up in the gym.
Shannon focuses more so on her lower body as well as core. Shannon’s rep ranges are typically around 12-16 reps. As far as cardio, believe it or not Shannon does not tend to do much of it. Yes, hard to believe with how in shape and toned she is. Instead, she focuses on her diet!
Remember folks, the hardest work to stay in shape, is the work done in the kitchen. You cannot outwork a bad diet.
If she isn’t doing cardio, what is Shannon eating to stay in such good shape? Well for starters, when she was competing, she ate a lot of lean protein. Protein is crucial for muscle, and Shannon surely did not forget to include it. She also would eat a lot of healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, and limiting carbs. Sounds fun, right? The diet may be one of the hardest parts of the sport.
Now that her competition days are behind her, Shannon is less restrictive with her diet. She obviously does not go nuts and eat junk foods all the time, but if she has a craving she will treat herself to something tasty.
What it comes down to is staying disciplined and knowing your limits, which Shannon clearly does to be in such good shape. There is no magic pill that can do the work for you. It would be nice if there was, but Shannon Ray is an epitome of hard work and dedication.
As far as Shannon’s supplementation, not much is known. It appears that diet supersedes any of that.
Shannon’s main form of income is from her fitness and modeling career, it seems to be working pretty well!
Aside from being a famous Instagram model and social media personality, Shannon is in charge of her own family as well. Many of you probably know who her daughter, Sommer is. Sommer is one of four children to Shannon! She, like her mother has a large following on Instagram, with about 26 million followers.
The other are children Savana, Bronson (only son), Skylyn. Shannon’s daughters have followed in their mother’s footsteps and have large followings on social media, while Bronson stays out of the spotlight. It seems as though he enjoys his privacy, who can blame him!
Next up, sorry to disappoint fellas, but Shannon is married. She is married to B.L. Richards, who actually happens to be a professional bodybuilder and fitness trainer himself. Fitness is something that goes all around in the family!
Overall, Shannon Ray is someone we can all admire for a multitude of reasons. Not only is she in great shape physically, especially at her age (58 is still young though), but her mentality towards life seems to be something we can all take from. She started out in bodybuilding right after completing her education, and never gave up on her fitness. Look where that got her to today!
Today, Shannon balances her social media presence, fitness, modeling, lifestyle, and has a beautiful family. Shannon is the definition of “age is just a number”, being 58 years old and looking like she does. Sticking with your diet and training is crucial!
Another thing we can take away from Shannon is to not give up on your goals. Shannon stuck with hers, and look at her today. Whether your goals are work, school, or fitness related, do not give up on them. The only thing holding you back from achieving those goals, is yourself.
More on Athletes
If you liked this article on Shannon Ray, check out some more athlete profiles we have!
Samir Bannout believes Michal Krizo could make an immediate impact if he improves his stage presence.
Samir Bannoutis a former Mr. Olympia and knows what it takes to win on stage. He remains a fan of the sport and acknowledges talent when he sees it. Recently, the 1983 Sandow Trophy winner spoke on Michal Krizo, as he prepares for his first Olympia.
Krizo made the jump from the IFBB Elite Pro League to the NPC back in July. He did not waste time qualifying for the Olympia. He was able to earn his Pro Card at the Olympia Amateur in Italy before winning the EVLS Prague Pro over the weekend.
Samir Bannout believes that Michal Krizo could be in the top six in his first competition, especially if he makes some adjustments.
“Taking it into consideration, the other contestants that he is going against, they’re not that pretty all around. This guy has a complete overall look. He looks good except I still agree he needs to improve his back, his stage presentation. If he does all that, honestly, I can see him still making the top six for sure,” Bannout said.
Michal Krizo Must “Torture Himself” During Training
Samir Bannout is not the first bodybuilding legend to be impressed with the look of Michal Krizo. Both Jay Cutler and Milos Sarcev have countered Krizo on separate occasions and were blown away.
Bannout believes that Krizo must improve his stage presence and conditioning if he wants to take it to the next level.
“All he needs to work on is conditioning and practice posing – more posing. Exactly like you said, point and shoot, and have control over every body part.”
“If Frank Zane takes Krizo and poses for him with Krizo’s body, I’m going to say it from my perspective, he would actually be in the top f***ing three. IF he has total control. Have [Mohamed] Makkawy or [Frank] Zane, or Lee Labrada, have one of them controlling his body, guess what, he’d make top three.”
Samir Bannout brought up some of the all-time great posers on stage when comparing the work that needs to be done from Krizo. He continued to explain some of the methods that Frank Zane would put himself through during prep.
“When he lived in Palm Springs, he would go in the sun in the hottest weather, and he’d hit a back double bicep and he’d hold it for one f***ing minute. He does a vacuum, and he holds it for one f***ing minute…Krizo should do something like that.”
Is Ramon Rocha Queiroz a threat to the Classic Physique Olympia title?
Ramon Rocha Queiroz is one of the up-and-coming stars in Olympia Classic Physique Division and is preparing to put on a show come December in Las Vegas. Recently, Queiroz shared a physique update showing his jacked arms and overall improvements to his physique.
Queiroz finished second in the division at the 2022 Arnold Classic and this put the sport on notice. He lost to Terrence Ruffin, who is the reigning two-time Arnold Classic champion and has solidified himself as the No. 2 behind Chris Bumstead over the last few years. This comes after Ansley reigned in the division, winning the Olympia two times. Queiroz is one of the up-and-coming talents in the division, along with Urs Kalecinski.
Ramon Rocha Queiroz Physique Update
Ramon Rocha Queiroz shared a recent physique update where he is looking massive in his final stages of competition prep.
“Survivor of chaos Climbing the steps I only want what’s mine, God has already given me the endorsement of this dirty game, honoring our glory, making history… 🦖❤️🚀🙏🏻”
In September, Queiroz sent a message to Bumstead that he is “going to get surprised” at the Olympia. Chris Bumstead is the reigning three-time champion and the favorite entering the biggest show of the year once again.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has referred to Classic Physique as “the future of bodybuilding.” This is because the preparation is different than Men’s Open. If the competition continues at this pace, Schwarzenegger might be right and that will show during the Olympia.
Ramon Rocha Queiroz is the type of competitor that has Schwarzenegger making these claims. His physique is well-rounded and will only improve from here.
PNBA Australian athlete Kay Wiseman details 2022 Natural Olympia prep.
We’re less than two weeks away from the most significant natural bodybuilding show of the year, Natural Olympia. Natural Olympia takes place November 10-13, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV. International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA)/Professional Natural Bodybuilding Association (PNBA) athletes are in contest prep. They’re ramping up their training and cutting back on calories to ensure they appear on stage in the best condition possible. PNBA Women’s Physique and Figure Classic competitor Kay Wiseman gave us insight into how her 2022 Natural Olympia prep is going.
Kay Wiseman is the mother of Angela Wiseman. They both serve in the armed forces of Australia. Kay Wiseman competed in INBA Australian Nationals on October 29, 2022, placing second in the Women’s Physique and Figure Classic divisions.
Kay Wiseman Natural Olympia Training Questions (Q) and Answers (A)
Generation Iron got in touch with Kay Wiseman to ask questions regarding her prep for the 2022 Natural Olympia. The questions we asked and her responses are below.
Q: How’s your 2022 contest prep been for the 2022 natural bodybuilding season?
Wiseman:“I’ve had a great prep leading into this year’s competition season, starting with a new coach 12 months ago with the goal to compete at INBA PNBA Natural Olympia this year.”
Q: What do you expect going into the show, e.g., mindset, etc.?
Wiseman: “I am feeling positive coming into this year’s season. I’ve been working on strategies to improve my stage performance and confidence and feel this has been really beneficial for me.”
Kay Wiseman’s Training
Kay Wiseman’s shifted her training, which has included more powerlifting movements, after working with her coach Scott Hipwell, a personal trainer from Muscle Hut off Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Wiseman stated:
“Working with Scott Hipwell from Muscle Hut on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast has seen my training focus change a little, including more power lifts to challenge me in a different way. Scott has managed training and nutrition over the 12 months, allowing me plenty of food to fuel my workouts whilst still leaning down. I have come into this competition season in better condition than I have ever been in.
I am excited to be heading over to compete in the INBA PNBA Natural Olympia again this year, also fitting in INBA PNBA World Cup the week before.”
Below is a video of Kay Wiseman performing pull-ups.
The 2022 Natural Olympia is a bit different from the 2021 Natural Olympia. The prizes will still be significant, including a new grand prize (last year, they gave away a Harley-Davidson). And elite contenders will be coming from many countries. But the competition is even fiercer this year in the Men’s Bodybuilding division.
Moreover, the division is stacked with many other worthy contenders, such as PNBA Hall of Famer Chad Martin. He will be making his 19th Natural Olympia appearance this year and competing with guys he’s known for 20 years. And multi-media athlete Peter Cichonski will be there too.
3x Natural Olympia champion Brandon Lirio uses his own personal experience in combination with prize money statistics to break unrealistic expectations about earning money in bodybuilding.
Pro natural bodybuilder Brandon Lirio is a 3x Natural Olympia champion and a standout name in the sport. That’s why we’ve partnered up with Lirio to produce the brand new podcast – U-Natty States Of America. Looking honestly at all things bodybuilding, strength sports, and fitness but from a natural perspective – Lirio is fully transparent about the ins and outs of all things fitness. In our premiere episode, Brandon Lirio gets honest about the reality of earning money in bodybuilding – from prize money to sponsorships and everything in between.
Competitive bodybuilding as a whole is bigger today than it ever has been. While not a mainstream sport on the level of the NFL or NBA, competitive bodybuilding is a multimillion dollar industry. It has more competitors and divisions than ever before. There are also more leagues (both natural and untested) than ever before. It’s a sport where athletes can earn true success and many have made entire lives off of their success in bodybuilding. However, it’s not the cash cow many might assume.
Brandon Lirio is a bodybuilder who has the benefit of competing briefly in the NPC and then also in the INBA/PNBA natural league. The NPC (and IFBB Pro league) is the biggest bodybuilding league in existence. It’s also an untested league. The INBA/PNBA is the biggest natural league – though can’t claim to bring the same size and scope as the IFBB Pro in terms of overall viewership. With this in mind, Lirio has seen both sides of the coin when it comes to the two biggest leagues in both natural and untested leagues.
That’s why Brandon Lirio decided to kick off his premiere episode of the podcast by breaking down the realities of earning money in bodybuilding. While going pro is a huge first step towards financial success in the sport, it’s not an automatic promise of incoming cash. In fact, it could be far from it. That doesn’t mean success is impossible. Clearly we’ve seen many success stories across this sport. But it does mean aspiring bodybuilders will need to open their mind about what to expect financially and how to think outside of the box to bring in more stable cash flow. Let’s jump into it.
Bodybuilding prize money and the odds of winning a stable income
Brandon Lirio may have lived through competing in a major bodybuilding league – but he also wants to back up his experience with facts. That’s why he starts off this discussion about money in bodybuilding by breaking down what it takes to first go pro, the costs, and the continued costs of entering specific events. He then cross examines these estimated fees with the reality of prize money.
Going pro costs money, entering a competition has entrance fees, and competing in a competition will more often than not require travel and accommodations. Beyond this – most bodybuilders require a series of supplements in order to bring their physiques to a stage-ready level. This adds up throughout the year, every year.
Brandon Lirio then compares this to the prize money earned at competitions. For natural leagues like the INBA/PNBA, the prize money is admittedly lower than the IFBB Pro. A typical first place winner could expect to earn about $10,000 in cash. While the IFBB Pro can bring in more – it’s not that vast of a difference when considering every single competition throughout the year.
Yes, big shows like the Arnold Classic and Olympia can give the first place winner big prize purses. Even second or third can earn good cash. But once you get into second or third tier competitions – the prize money goes down.
Big Ramy won $400,000 for winning Mr. Olympia last year. That’s a lot certainly. Second place gets $150,000, third place gets $100,000. When you go down to the bottom of the top five, fifth place gives you $40,000. Considering that most of the top five Mr. Olympia competitors only compete once – at the Olympia – this means the fifth place winner only earned a yearly salary of $40k from the sport itself.
If you expand this past the Men’s Open division it drops down significantly. Chris Bumstead earned $30,000 for winning the Classic Physique Olympia. It was the only event he competed in all year.
Just looking at the Mr. Olympia prize money already starts to show the challenges in relying on prize money alone for income. And it must be noted that these are the best in the world. Yes, you should go into competing with confidence that you can be the best. But financially, it must be made clear that for every one winner – there are dozens and even hundreds of losers. If Bumstead earns $30k for his victory at Olympia, what can you expect to earn if you don’t even win enough to qualify? It’s a reality that must be considered.
Secondary revenue streams: personal training, sponsorships, supplements
Brandon Lirio points out that the reality of this sport is to supplement your income with parallel revenue streams. While placing fifth at Mr. Olympia might not give you enough prize money to live comfortably, it can bring attention to your name for more opportunities. This is where sponsorships come in. Or if you are more willing to take risks, you can start your own supplement business.
Lirio also points out that many working competitive bodybuilders also double as personal trainers. They use the knowhow from years of competition to help others get in shape – and make money while doing it.
When considering how how statistically unlikely it will be that you become the next Phil Heath, secondary jobs like these are necessary in order to do what you love in bodybuilding and live comfortably with a stable income. There’s nothing wrong with that. It just needs to be something that is understood going into the sport.
Brandon Lirio understands that all sports leagues are businesses. They have bottom lines and they have costs and labor to pay for. With that in mind, Lirio’s exploration into finances in bodybuilding are not meant to lambast the leagues. The leagues, overall, do well in bringing a sport we love into more and more households every year. They support athletes and the give them a platform to compete.
The point of this episode, is to help set realistic expectations for those newly entering the sport. Pro bodybuilding will not make you rich in and of itself. You must have an open mind and look towards what opportunities bodybuilding can bring for more financial success. Maybe it’s personal training. Maybe it’s professional coaching. Maybe it’s being sponsored or starting your own supplement or apparel business.
Whatever it is, the one thing you should not rely on is getting rich from prize money alone. It can happen for a very select few. But how long are you willing to place your bets on those low odds before your life passes by with nothing in the bank?
You can watch Brandon Lirio go into complete detail about money in bodybuilding by watching the premiere episode of U-Natty States Of America above. Make sure to check back every Wednesday for new episodes of the podcast only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.
William Bonac made a video showing his progress while working with Chad Nicholls.
William Bonachas been one of the top competitors in Men’s Open for years now. He has been preparing for the 2022 Olympia and recently shared a video showing off his progress.
Bonac finished as the runner-up during the 2022 Arnold Classic this year. Brandon Curry, who defeated Bonac at the Olympia in 2019, was crowned champion. Just one week later, Bonac won the 2022 Boston Pro and earned his qualification for the biggest show of the year.
There are many who believe that Bonac brought the best package to the stage in March and that will be his goal once again. He has shared his goal of coming in “as heavy as possible” to compete with Big Ramy, who is the favorite to land his third consecutive title.
William Bonac Recent Physique Update
William Bonac and his coach, Chad Nicholls, shared updates on his physique on Wednesday. Bonac took to Instagram to send a message to all competitors.
“God will put you back together, right in front of the people who broke you.!!👑
William Bonac is a former Arnold Classic champion and has a runner-up finish at the Olympia under his belt. The Men’s Open division is extremely deep and Bonac is a name that is flying under the radar a bit. This could be because of the emergence of some new names in the division.
Nonetheless, Bonac impressed on the Arnold Classic stage and will have a chance to impress once again.