How "Marvelous" Melvin Built One of the Best Backs of the 21st Century

Bonus: watch Melvin in his appearance on the TV show, "Blind Date".

He was nearly a superstar. For most of the past decade, Melvin Anthony was on the verge of breaking through to bodybuilding’s upper echelon. He never quite made it. After his overall victory at the 1999 USA Championships, this SoCal native competed in 36 pro contests from 2000–10. Despite cracking the top five 19 times, Anthony secured only three titles. Likewise, although he finished in the Mr. Olympia top seven four straight years (2005–08), his highest placing was fifth.

At 5'8" and 235 pounds, he lacked the freakiness needed to contend for a Sandow, but “Marvelous” Melvin dynamically displayed one of the most aesthetic physiques of the recent past. Set off by his vast lats and wispy waist, his rear double biceps pose was superb. Anthony, who turns 43 in November, never announced his retirement, but he last competed five years ago. Today he lives in Mississippi and is fondly remembered for his proportionate mass and always-marvelous posing.


  • “I like to start with chins because they warm up my lats and get me ready for the heavier stuff.”
  • “I take a very wide grip on pulldowns. I want to open up my clavicles as much as possible without putting pressure on my rear delts.”
  • “With barbell rows, I want to get my elbows as high as possible to contract my lats at the top.”
  • “I like the feeling of T-bar rows and deadlifts—picking things off the floor and lifting them. I’m a true believer in me versus gravity.”


Chinup: 4 sets, 12–15 reps

Front Pulldown: 4 sets, 8–10 reps

Barbell Row: 4 sets, 8–10 reps

T-bar Row: 4 sets, 8–10 reps

Deadlift: 2–3 sets, 8–12 reps


In 2001, Anthony, sporting blond hair, appeared on the TV dating show Blind Date. Watch it below:

More about: 


Subscribe to Flexonline

Give a Gift
Customer Service