With three consecutive one-two finishes (2012 Olympia 212, 2013 Olympia 212, 2014 Arnold Classic 212), the Flex Lewis versus David Henry rivalry is one of the best in bodybuilding. If we look at the seven times they’ve clashed onstage, it’s a tale of two halves. Henry bested Lewis in the first four meetings (2008–09), and, going into this year’s Olympia 212 Showdown, Lewis had beaten Henry in the last three (2012–14). Why the disparity? Between those two periods, Lewis grew—a lot. It’s been five years since giant-slayer Henry defeated the Welsh Dragon. Can he do it again or has the younger 212 king grown too much to lose?
Henry has made some notable additions to his wheels in recent years, but his improvements don’t compare with what Lewis has done to his upper body. The Welsh Dragon has completely remodeled his arms and shoulders, turning weaknesses into strengths, and he’s made great strides with his pecs and back, as well.
It’s also notable that while Henry was once known for his spaghetti-like striations, it’s Lewis who now regularly uses conditioning as his trump card in comparisons.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the crucial rear double biceps. This used to be Henry’s dominant shot. But Lewis wins it with density and details, including striated glutes, vertical blind hams, and the best lumbar Christmas tree in bodybuilding. This clash as it presently stands is similar to the Phil Heath versus Kai Greene rivalry. Lewis, like Heath, has the more pleasing shape combined with enough mass and fine lines to strike awe. Henry, like Greene, has the freakier but less aesthetic collection of parts. Lewis has the advantage now, but if Henry can bring more cuts to the stage than the champ, their one-two placings could reverse.
STRENGTHS: high-def details, calves, aesthetic shape
WEAKNESSES: lat width, chest density
BEST POSE: rear double biceps
WORST POSE: side triceps
STRENGTHS: chest and shoulder density, arm size
WEAKNESSES: lower body mass, biceps shape
BEST POSE: most muscular
WORST POSE: front lat spread