T Nation

Yates vs Heath Comparison


You always hear about how the guys on the Olympia stage in the 90s were so much better than the current crop of competitors, so when I saw this comparison of past Olympia winner Dorian Yates and current Olympia title holder Phil Heath, I figured it spoke volumes.



Bloofy versus grainy.

That’s a white collar bodybuilder versus a blue collar bodybuilder.


that can’t be the most conditioned Phil’s ever been on the Olympia stage


I’m not sure which year’s Olympia that’s from, but IMO Phils been declining slightly each successive one. Aceto just recently pointed out that 2015 was the first time Heath didn’t get straight 1st places from the judges. So 2016 could be interesting if certain trends continue.



To my very non-expert eye, Heath’s delts and triceps look like they contain SEO, whereas Yates looks like he has nothing beneath his skin except twisted steel. Do any of you more knowledgeable observers concur?


There really is one hell of a difference in quality between how Yates looks (dense and carved out of stone) and how Heath looks (bubbly, and carved out of balloons).

I can’t say for certain what Phil’s personal approach has been, but I do think it’s fairly safe to say that SEO’s have become a lot more… acceptably viewed in terms of the top guys on the Pro stage.

Years ago you had people whining about Flex Wheeler using Escaline to inflame certain weak points, but according to some Pros, times have certainly changed. Obviously this practice isn’t the safest thing, as Milos Sarcev can tell you, and it isn’t fool proof, as you can find even multi-Mr Olympia winners sporting signs of “failed applications” (Cutler “tearing his bicep” in 2011 I think?)



Impossible to say about the oil thing really. Could very well be the case though.

I think it’s more to do with the fact that conditioning was scored much more favourably in Dorian’s day. For a guy to come in Dorian’s size with that conditioning now is totally unheard of.

As a slight aside, I fucking love Dorian’s physique. Those black and white photos of him in his prime (you know the ones I mean) are some of the best bodybuilding shots ever taken in my opinion.


Technically conditioning is supposed to be scored in this era as well, but somewhere, I think the definitions have been blurred, and we see people thinking that excessive veins and bad skin means that someone is “conditioned”, no matter how blurry the detail between their muscles actually appears.



So you’re saying you’re more into white collar muscle?


lol, I’ll go with the gray collar… and no sleeves of course.



I’m more of a spandex bodybuilder.


Tough marker putting Heath up against the freakiest back of all time but Phil has never had that grainy look - more full plump muscle bellies. Id be interested in seeing if it comes with age.


I think the point was to see if the sport has truly evolved with time. Was Ronnie better than Dorian? Was Dorian better than Haney? Were the 90’s really the best and it’s all been downhill since?



When I make these comparisons i like to look at the breadth of competition rather than the winners. A weak field and a freaky competitor really throws the landscape off.

The 2011 Olympia field was a pretty deep one IMO and Phil brought an exceptional package - they didn’t really even bother comparing him to the rest. Still you look at some of those early Ronnie olympias and there’s plenty of recognisable faces.


I don’t think Ronnie was better than Dorian. He just looked different.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I think it has generally been downhill since the 90’s. But that’s just my personal preference. I can go into my usual complaints (e.g., bloat/water- logging, grotesque vascularity, bad skin) but I think most would tire of hearing about this all the time. Wait, I just did! :slight_smile:


I just recently saw an old Grand Prix video with Vince Taylor and Kevin Levrone battling it out, and I just couldn’t help but think “Damn! Either of these guys would destroy the majority of today’s top 5 pro competitors at the Olympia or the Arnold.”

Maybe I’m just getting old (seasoned perhaps? -lol), but I find myself looking at the guys from the 90’s more and more lately and just realizing how crazy the top talent was at the time.



Also, the tiny waists the 90s guys sported added to their overall aesthetic.

Although a lot of fans come to see today’s size freaks, it’s still breathtaking to see builds like Cedric’s onstage, what with his height, mass, tiny waist, and artistic posing routine bringing back that iconic, heroic look of the past.


agree…he just looked different…I’m not saying Ronnie didn’t look great or deserve to be Mr O but I was never a fan of his aesthetic. In my opinion, Flex Wheeler had my fav look


Thanks for the reply! Fellow ANBF pro here! :muscle:t2::grinning::+1:


nice bro!..small world…just zoomed in on your pic…this is Ronnie walker…we have talked recently on fb or ig