Bodybuilding is both a sport and an art, but that only begins to explain the tension. First, it’s the most subjective of all athletic contests. Which physique is ideal? Do you favor more mass or better proportions? Monster quads or a greater flow to the whole? And as art, styles clash, as if a lifelike sculpture by Michelangelo is next to an abstract painting by Picasso. Is bodybuilding foremost about the pursuit of harmonious refinements or the avant-garde urge to shock? On one side is Team Aesthetic, on the other is Team Freaky. And somewhere in the middle are men, like five-time Mr. Olympia Phil Heath, who combine elements of both. The debate has only grown with the creation of the classic physique division, which launches this year. How did we get here? Where are we headed? And what exactly is classic?
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