In response to the conditioning criticism pro bodybuilders have been receiving, Toney Freeman defines what conditioning really is.
Especially over the past year or so, modern pro bodybuilders have been criticized for the quality of their physique. It all came to a head when legendary bodybuilders from past eras criticized the Olympia 2019 and Brandon Curry as champion. Since then, fans, athletes, and experts have debated if there is truly a problem with conditioning in modern Men’s Open pro bodybuilders. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Toney Freeman shares his thoughts on modern bodybuilders’ conditioning. He believes the problem is in the definition of conditioning itself.
During our video conversation with Toney Freeman, we wanted to get his opinion on the current state of bodybuilding physiques. Many athletes from his era have already gone on record criticizing the lack of conditioning in today’s Men’s Open pro bodybuilders. Does Freeman agree?
It seems the answer is somewhere between yes and no. Toney Freeman believes there is a fundamental misunderstanding of what conditioning is – challenging whether or not even certain past athletes had “good conditioning.”
While having striated muscles and a shredded physique on stage is certainly impressive, true conditioning is when you can look near-shredded every single day throughout the year. It shows that you have conditioned your body to maintain an impressive physique on both on and off days. Toney Freeman explains:
“Conditioning is basically more like the definition that Arnold gave basically gave… conditioning is when you’re in such great shape, it doesn’t matter what’s going on. What you eat, how you whatever, you still look like that. That’s a level of conditioning.”
Toney Freeman thinks that fans often think being shredded determines whether or not a bodybuilder is conditioned. In reality, it’s something that exists long term if the bodybuilder really pulled it off right. He continues:
“It’s not striated glutes and mismatched body parts and forty inch waist with abs. You know what I’m saying? It has to flow a certain way or it doesn’t look right. So I don’t consider being ultra shredded being in condition.”
So what about today’s pro bodybuilders? Does Toney Freeman think they have worse conditioning than eras past? He thinks that Brandon Curry and many other athletes would have risen up to the occasion had they competed in past eras. He thinks that they could have competed strongly – unlike what Ronnie Coleman and Dorian Yates had previously stated.
Of course, that’s a “what if” scenario. Toney Freeman prescribes to the thought that you are only as good as the competitors around you. He thinks all of the athletes today have the potential to be as good as the 90s era. They have the work ethic and genetic potential. It’s just not being pushed right now overall. So in a way – Freeman is admitting that today’s athletes don’t compare to the past. But he doesn’t think that’s a negative criticism of this era. It’s just the changing of the tide.
You can watch Toney Freeman’s full comments in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above.