PJ Braun explains why he thinks Men’s Open Bodybuilding will see the division shrink in the coming years.

Competitive bodybuilding in the IFBB and NPC is very different today than it was 15 years ago. We have a large variety of divisions allowing options for prospective athletes to choose what kind of body type and size they feel comfortable competing in. These options didn’t exist in the past – presumably forcing some athletes to just put their head down and push through into the Men’s Open sizes for competition. With so many new options, we have more athletes than ever competing on the stage – but are some divisions shrinking in size while others are growing? In our latest GI Exclusive interview, PJ Braun explains how the Men’s Open division is slowly shrinking in size… and why it will continue to do so in the coming years.

Adding new divisions into bodybuilding is hardly a surprise at this point. The IFBB and NPC have well over 8 divisions currently active in the sport. But for some reason when the Classic Physique division was added just a few years ago – it was met with a mix of excitement and worry. The worry comes from fans who think we are getting too specific with divisions that are similar to each other. The Men’s 212, Classic Physique, and Men’s Open are three divisions that specifically fall very close in style of physiques. Yes, there are certainly specific rules in each divisions that make them different. But they are closer in overall aesthetic than the much vaster difference between Men’s Physique and Men’s Open – for example.

So the big question that has been raised is this – will Men’s Open phase out with the introduction of Classic Physique? Some argue that this will never happen. People will always want to see the “freaks.” Others think that it will be a slow process and one day Classic Physique will become the showstopper division at Olympia ever year.

PJ Braun falls somewhere in the middle. Will the Men’s Open division disappear like Women’s Bodybuilding nearly did? No, PJ doesn’t think so. But he does believe that the pool of athletes in Men’s Open will shrink in size over the years. Why? Because now athletes can tailor their physiques to more specific regulations in the form of Men’s 212 and Classic Physique. Certain athletes who would normally just bulk up and stick with Men’s Open, might try their luck in a division like Classic Physique for better success.

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Classic Physique posedown (above).

We’ve already seen some athletes try this out. Regan Grimes was a Men’s Open competitor who suddenly dropped down to Classic Physique with great results. While it’s not certain if he’ll stay in that division – it showcases how athletes are now weighing the options. Why force your body to try and fit the mass monster freaks of Men’s Open when you can go into a division that might be better suited for your genetic disposition?

PJ Braun circles back to Women’s Open and it’s near demise. Why did this happen to that one division specifically? PJ thinks it’s because the culture decided that the size of these woman looked unhealthy to a dangerous degree. So in PJ’s logic, the only way Men’s Open will die is if the entire bodybuilding culture suddenly thinks that Men’s Open looks too dangerously unhealthy. Will the bodybuilding culture ever draw that line? That remains to be seen.

You can check out PJ Braun’s full thoughts on Men’s Open vs other divisions in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above!

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