A New York Pro Preview
The coolest and most unique aspect of the classic physique division is the amount of sheer abnormal “freaks” coming out of the woodwork. Mutants. Genetic anomalies. Physiques that look like they don’t belong on this earth. Cartoons. Big, bubbly muscle on a tiny little bone structure.
I say this all with the utmost respect, as the words mutant, freak, and anomaly are all terms of endearment in the sport of bodybuilding.
Classic physique was created as an “alternative” to the mass monsters in open bodybuilding. An ode to an era in bodybuilding, where shape, lines, symmetry, and structure reigned supreme. Mass with a purpose if you a will. A time where aesthetics was just as important as arduous amounts of muscle tissue.
Some were made for this division and some were not. I see many physiques that look like they belong on a men’s physique stage, or a sucked down bodybuilder that does not possess the structure needed to compete in this division. The idea of this division was to give those “pretty” physiques an opportunity to show what they have.
Some were born to compete in classic physique. Tailor made to dominate in the realm of aesthetic bodybuilding.
One of the latest in this crop of potential superstars in the sport is Kenneth Owens, a relative new-comer splashing onto the classic physique scene. Possessing one of the most eye-pleasing physiques in all of the IFBB, Owens looks to make some (more) noise at this years’ New York Pro.
Owens has the waist of a men’s physique athlete, and the shoulders of a 212 bodybuilder. Deep cut and developed abs, round deltoids, a unique shape to his chest, very wide and hanging lats, and streamlined legs round out his physique. In my opinion, Owens has the best mid-section in all of bodybuilding in any division. His abs are etched out of stone, his obliques and serratus are developed, but tapered up to the front portion of his lats. His front vacuum pose is just out of this world. Usually a bodybuilder’s mid-section is not talked about this much, unless it’s negatively. This is certainly not the case here.
Owens also possesses some very unique posing that accentuates the strengths in his physique. He does not have the biggest legs in the world from a sheer muscle volume standpoint. However; the way he poses shows off the strengths in his legs, which is shape and lines. A purely symmetrical set of legs that looks like they belong on the upper body attached to them.
He twists and turns his hips to the side when hitting front poses, showing off his crazy taper and shoulder caps. When conditioned (and he always is), look to see a bodybuilder that has truly tapped into the capabilities and strengths in his physique. Owens gets as dry and hard as you will ever see a bodybuilder get on stage under the lights. He seemingly has veins on top of veins, as well as striations you do not typically see on stage.
The 2017 New York Pro was a somewhat coming out party for Owens. He placed a respectable 3rd place behind the eventual Olympia winner and another seasoned competitor in George Peterson. The New York Pro is probably the third biggest bodybuilding show all year, behind the Olympia and Arnold Classic. So for Owens to walk away with third place in such a prestigious show should be great right?
Well, maybe not.
Minimizing third place at this caliber of a show better have some merit behind the argument. And according to many, it actually does. Breon Ansley (who took first place in the 2017 New York Pro) has an incredible physique. He eventually went on to win the Olympia in this division. The structure on Ansley is remarkable, but he might have been gifted somewhat in New York.
Bodybuilding is a subjective sport, which is what makes it so great, yet so frustrating at times. It seems as though the judges still have not figured out a formula for success when it comes to judging this division. Do they value structure, shape, and symmetry over conditioning, hardness, and muscularity? From show to show the judging criteria tends to shift one way or the other. For example, in last year’s New York Pro, Ansley walked away victorious. However, he certainly wasn’t the driest or hardest. The second place finisher Peterson was much harder than Ansley. The third place finisher was harder and drier than the both of them, and that was Owens.
While Ansley may possess a different structure, Owens was probably the better bodybuilder on this day. All things being considered, Owens was harder, drier, color was better, and much more detailed. He looked like he was etched out of marble this day.
There was a fair amount of controversy surrounding this competition as many people thought that Owens or Peterson should have won. I personally prefer Owens’ physique over Peterson’s, as he has a much blockier and thicker midsection.
This year The Ebony King is looking to reign supreme at the New York Pro. For those that follow him, know that he is leaving no stone unturned. With Ansley out of the lineup, Owens has to be one of the front runners entering the competition. Coming off his third place finish last year (and only IFBB competition to date) Owens has to be feeling confident heading into New York.
Look for The King to overlook his new kingdom when he hits the stage under those bright New York lights.