In his new book, “Be Useful,” Arnold Schwarzenegger opens a window into the past, sharing insights into a pivotal moment – his 1968 loss to Frank Zane, the nuances of ab definition, and the challenges of calf development.
The Humble Beginnings
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s journey began in humble surroundings, and it is this very foundation that laid the groundwork for an extraordinary life.
Through hard work and determination, he transformed himself from a young Austrian with a dream into an international icon with seven coveted Mr. Olympia titles.
The Impact of Ab Definition
Reflecting on his loss, Arnold Schwarzenegger recognized a pivotal factor – ab definition.
In the world of American bodybuilding, he found that emphasis on individual muscles of the midsection far exceeded that of Europe.
In his own words, Arnold Schwarzenegger acknowledges the disparity, “I have a normal six-pack, which looks good, but Frank Zane looked like each one of the muscles in his midsection was traced out of an anatomy textbook and chiseled from granite.”
The Calf Conundrum
Beyond a definition, Arnold Schwarzenegger delves into another aspect that he believes jeopardized his chances of victory – calf development.
He emphasizes the importance of proportionality, stating, “In my mind that threw my body out of proportion, which jeopardized my chances of winning Mr. Olympia and officially becoming the greatest bodybuilder in the world.”
Frank Zane: The Unique Competitor
In a revelation made earlier this year, Arnold Schwarzenegger reserved that title for the late Sergio Oliva, “The Myth.” He described facing Oliva as a monumental challenge, requiring everything he had to secure victory.
Frank Zane Bodybuilding Career
What set Frank Zane apart was not just his collection of titles but the unique characteristics of his physique.
Remarkably, he maintained this aesthetic appeal while competing at a body weight below 190 pounds during his tenure as Mr. Olympia.
This triumph occurred at the 1968 Mr. Universe, where Frank Zane acknowledged that Arnold Schwarzenegger was not in peak condition and, in a light-hearted note, mentioned that the Austrian giant showed up seemingly enjoying some cake.
While Arnold Schwarzenegger may not have been thrilled about losing to the relatively smaller Frank Zane, the two champions forged a training partnership from 1969 when Frank Zane arrived in California until the early 1970s.
Their training sessions marked a unique camaraderie between two titans of the sport.
Frank Zane’s illustrious career reached its zenith in 1980, which also marked the conclusion of his dominance at the top. In a show of protest against the 1980 Olympia, he boycotted the 1981 competition.
However, he made a comeback in 1982, securing a commendable 2nd place. The 1983 Olympia proved to be Frank Zane’s swan song, ending his competitive journey with a 4th place finish after encountering an injury that necessitated shoulder surgery.
His legacy, however, endures as a testament to the artistry and grace he brought to bodybuilding, leaving an indelible mark on the sport that will be remembered for generations to come.
Legacy, Reflections, and Future
As Arnold Schwarzenegger, now 76, prioritizes health and longevity, he reflects on the golden era of bodybuilding, reminiscing about testing his physique against formidable opponents like Frank Zane and Sergio Oliva, and his dear friend Franco Columbu.
His journey, marked by triumphs and introspective moments, is a testament to the enduring legacy of a man who not only shaped his body but also the very landscape of bodybuilding.
In the twilight of his career, Arnold Schwarzenegger remains a beacon of inspiration, reminding us that even in defeat, there are lessons to be learned, and in every challenge, there lies an opportunity for growth.