Rich Gaspari: Classic Physique Is Saving Bodybuilding As An Art Form

Rich Gaspari Chris Bumstead Classic Physique bodybuilding

Rich Gaspari explains how Classic Physique has brought back the craft of the art behind bodybuilding

Rich Gaspari, who had previously stated that bodybuilding has lost its soul, believes that Classic Physique is saving the art of bodybuilding. The first ever Arnold Classic champion went into detail explaining his reasoning in the latest episode of the Fitness, Fame, & Fortune podcast.

Bodybuilding is often referred to as a sport – and that much is true. But competitive bodybuilding is a unique kind of sport that shares more in common with a pageant or art than traditional sports such as football or baseball. This is all due to the subjective nature of the scoring.

There is no clear cut finish line that gives a pure objective result. Instead, the scores are determined by a series of judges, who have a criteria, and use their best effort to score accurately based on that criteria. This system, no matter what, will always be swung by bias. This is also why bodybuilding competitions have a panel of judges to offset any personal bias making the contest unfair.

It’s this concept that Rich Gaspari holds important in his evaluation of pro bodybuilding. It’s the reason why he has been so critical of the quality of physiques over the years. Instead of treating the human body like a sculpture to be perfected – athletes seem to be rushing to beat the competition. Leaving behind the nuance and originality that used to be found in posing routines and aesthetics.

It seems that the IFBB Pro league was also aware of this shift – which is why it introduced the Classic Physique division back in 2016. At the time, many were complaining the physiques were becoming too large with lack of conditioning – and not enough focus on posing. The Classic Physique division was the answer to these remarks.

And it seems to be working, Classic Physique quickly grew into a fan favorite division. The current 4x Classic Physique Olympia champion, Chris Bumstead, has also skyrocketed to fame on a level on par, or even farther, than most pro bodybuilding Mr. Olympia champions.

It seems like Rich Gaspari is also on board. His remarks in a recent interview reveal that he is starting to have hope for the sport of bodybuilding. More specifically the art form of bodybuilding itself.

Rich Gaspari believes that the artistic expression behind bodybuilding is returning all due to Classic Physique

While speaking on the Fitness, Fame, & Fortune podcast, Rich Gaspari shows optimism that the kind of bodybuilding he grew up with is returning to the new generation of bodybuilders. He credits this to Classic Physique due to the requirements put on mandatory poses and less emphasis on size.

“I spent hours posing too… it’s good that lately that the art form is coming back because of Classic Bodybuilding but for the last couple of years, the last five or six years it was lost, it was a lost art… Back – go five, six, eight years ago, bodybuilding posing was completely lost. I thought the routines were shit. The only guy that really posed that gave a good show was someone like a Kai Greene. That still saw something in that even though there wasn’t – I guess they didn’t score it. Back when I posed or when I competed, they did score the posing round.”

Some may dismiss Rich Gaspari’s general criticism about Men’s Open bodybuilding posing as an older man looking back at his generation with rose tinted glasses. That may be so – but there is no doubting that posing has taken a backseat compared to the Golden Era through to the ’90s. Whether or not that is a bad thing comes down to the individual.

For Rich Gaspari, the posing is the ultimate artistic showcase of the hard work put in all year to sculpt a perfect physique. It’s the soul of the sport and it’s what helps bring more diversity and excitement into the competitions themselves.

In a sport stuffed full of divisions these days, the Classic Physique addition was a resounding success. Perhaps in part this is because it allows for Men’s Open to continue with its freak factor direction – while also making room for the more “artistic” display of yesteryear within athletes like Chris Bumstead, Danny Hester, and Ramon Rocha Queiroz.

You can watch the full interview with Rich Gaspari right here.

Jacob Ladon
Jacob Ladon is a staff writer and former amateur bodybuilder. He has been passionate about bodybuilding since he was 15 years old and discovered the joys of training in the gym. He reports and comments on all bodybuilding related matters.