As the 2016 Arnold Classic rapidly approaches, the bodybuilding world is wondering if Kai Greene will win his third Arnold title or if there’s an upset in the works. Here’s some predictions to get Columbus week started as we prepare for one of the most anticipated weekends of the year.
6th place: Maxx Charles—Ultra wide Maxx Charles has incredible potential, with amazing structure and upper body. Maxx won the PBW Championships in Tampa last year and, according to the word on the street, he has made some very impressive gains in the off-season. Maxx’s weak point has always been his legs, which have a hard time keeping pace with his massive and wide upper body. Having made some significant progress on his wheels, however, this promising IFBB pro bodybuilder should have enough ammunition to secure a coveted spot among the top 6.
5th place: Branch Warren—Branch is a two-time Arnold Classic winner, and he’s still hanging in there despite his many years in the sport and some potentially career-ending injuries. Branch does not have the most pleasing structure in the game, but his gnarly conditioning and thick, rugged muscle mass always seem to pull him through to beat bodybuilders who have more potential than he does. Branch took third last weekend at the inaugural Kevin Levrone Classic in Poland, so his odds of placing higher than top five in a much tougher lineup are slim. Even if Branch improves his conditioning in the last week before the Arnold, he will be facing some tougher competition against bodybuilders who will not have had to endure a transatlantic flight just days before the event.
4th place: Josh Lenartowicz—This new pro from Australia is quickly making a name for himself in the IFBB ranks. After winning both the San Marino Pro and the Ferrigno Legacy show last year, Josh took second in Poland last weekend, beating out Warren, Toney Freeman and Johnnie Jackson, among others. Josh carries 260 pounds on his 5’10” frame, and from the photos, he was in great condition, so he should be ready to take on this top lineup. I think he’ll easily make the top six and should be threatening the top three with his dangerous combination of mass and conditioning.
3rd place: Justin Compton—Mass monster Justin Compton sat out the Mr. Olympia contest last year to get even bigger in preparation for this year’s Arnold Classic. Pictures of him online show an even more massive physique than last year; so he has to be admired for his dedication and improvement. However, Compton has put on so much size over the past couple of years that his waistline has also increased dramatically. After Arnold’s impassioned speech at the Arnold Seminar went viral last year regarding the big bellies on today’s professional bodybuilders, it won’t be to Justin’s benefit if he sports the same bloated abdomen as last year. Bigger is not necessarily better when the symmetry and aesthetics of the physique are compromised, especially when the Terminator himself will be closely watching from the front row. I think the best Justin will do here is to match his third-place finish from last year.
2nd place: Cedric McMillian—Arnold’s favorite professional bodybuilder is poised to place at his all-time best. One of the most aesthetically pleasing big men in the sport, Cedric has often been unfairly placed due to his lack of hardness and conditioning and has been beaten by bodybuilders who aren’t gifted with his beautiful structure and pleasing muscle bellies. His physique is of the classic bodybuilding style, and Arnold himself picked him as the winner of last year’s Arnold Classic. Cedric will be entering the show with tremendous momentum coming from his win at the Kevin Levrone Classic. If he can come in even harder and really nail a perfect posing routine, he should be right at the top by the end of the night and may even pull off an upset.
1st place: Kai Greene—Two-time Arnold Classic winner Kai Greene is the odds-on favorite to win after sitting out the Mr. Olympia last year. Kai has been the world’s second-best bodybuilder for the past several years, having placed second to Phil Heath at the Mr. O three years in a row (2012-2014). Kai has all the potential in the world to win this year’s Arnold Classic in a landslide, but Kai is anything but predictable. A sensitive and emotional man, he’s often a victim of his feelings, which can affect his physical condition. He should be motivated to prove himself after last year’s Olympia controversy, and he often feeds off the energy of his many fans. With his incredible thickness and size, Kai will not be defeated if he is in shape. So, if that is the case, he will win the Arnold Classic this year. One change in the judging criteria for 2016 is that the posing routines will be judged at the finals. As Kai is one of the most innovative and creative posers in the bodybuilding world, he should easily win the posing round, while walking away as a three time Arnold champ.
Editor’s Note: DigitalMuscle.com is the exclusive home of the 2016 Arnold Classic. If you can’t make it to Columbus, join us for this exclusive webcast event!
A three-time Natural Mr. Universe and the first Natural Mr. Olympia champion, John is the author of the book Natural Bodybuilding (2005, Human Kinetics). A 14 year columnist for Ironman Magazine, John is the founder of FloridaPhysique.com where he covers the NPC Florida Bodybuilding scene and interviews legendary bodybuilders. John is also the promoter of the NPC Natural Suncoast Classic and offers consultations on training, nutrition and posing – in person and online.