Phil Heath Responds, Defends Modern Bodybuilding After Berry de Mey Criticizes Lower Back Conditioning

Berry de Mey believes lower backs and conditioning have gone downhill recently, Phil Heath responds.

IFBB Hall of Fame bodybuilder Berry de Mey has weighed in on the topic of modern bodybuilding compared that that of the past. This has come up in many ways since the conclusion of the 2022 Olympia. de Mey seemed to focus on conditioning, specifically in the lower back, of current bodybuilders.

de Mey took to Instagram to share different back comparisons. In his comments, he credits Hadi Choopan for showing up to the Olympia shredded but believes conditioning and precision needs to improve in the division. Because of this, Phil Heath responded to one of his posts.

Phil Heath Defends Modern Bodybuilding

In a recent post, Berry de Mey shared a post comparing the backs of Dorian Yates and Hadi Choopan.

“Hadi was in TOP CONDITION!!! The best. CONGRATULATIONS TO A GREAT CHAMP. Hard and everything on point. Nothing but respect for Hadi! But it is a professional subjective jury sport that is about opinions. I’m glad he won. The only one really in shape. My posts are about the “lower back phenomenon” which I don’t understand.”


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A post shared by Berry de Mey (@berrydemey)

Yates is known for his back and has one of the best of all-time. In today’s bodybuilding, de Mey claims that athletes are not focused on their lower back. In a previous post, he credits Choopan once again but claims that despite being in the “best condition of all” that he “didn’t have a hard lower back.”

On Tuesday, Berry de Mey shared one more post, showing a comment from Phil Heath.

“Berry De Mey gotta relax. We should celebrate the achievements while remembering the past. For all we could say is the damn tanning is harsher than years ago plus those pics from them were on actually 35mm film and not with todays tech. We can mention the black backgrounds which btw I freaking love, why? Because you get the freakiest lighting and you wont get that with harsh LED lights blasting from all directions. We are working within the parameters of bodybuilding ,technology, judging that has to offer.”


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A post shared by Berry de Mey (@berrydemey)

Berry de Mey: “Isn’t It A Logical Consequence That All Details Are Discussed?”

Berry de Mey remains a fan of bodybuilding and has shared his insights on many occasions. After the Olympia, he believes that it is fair to critique the competition as well. In his response to Phil Heath, de Mey explains his side.

“Bodybuilding is a different kind of sport. The toughest sport there is in my opinion. It is 24 hours a day and the core activity takes place in the gym. On the day of the contest competitors “just” show the result of this difficult sport. This is a fundamental difference from any sport you can come up with. As a result, the element of scoring is based on a subjective assessment of appearance by the judges.
Without being disrespectful, can’t we talk after the competition about elements on which the jury based who the winner is? With all the praise for the champion, isn’t it a logical consequence that all details are discussed?”


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A post shared by Berry de Mey (@berrydemey)

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Greg Patuto
Greg has covered the four major sports for six years and has been featured on sites such as Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports, SB Nation,, and FanSided. Now, he is transitioning into the world of bodybuilding and strength sports.