As one of the most decorated bodybuilders of all time, Arnold Schwarzenegger remembers his on-stage battles like they were yesterday. “The Austrian Oak” had very few losses on his résumé, but he discussed his 1968 defeat to Frank Zane in his new book “Be Useful.” Schwarzenegger also revealed how a lack of ab definition affected the outcome.
Defying adversity at a young age, Schwarzenegger used his humble beginnings to set the foundation for a tremendous life. He fell in love with weightlifting, and that passion flourished into a successful bodybuilding career. Defining his legacy with seven Mr. Olympia titles (1970-75, 1980). Schwarzenegger broke boundaries to become an international icon.
Frank Zane and Schwarzenegger differed greatly from their physiques to their opposing personalities. Schwarzenegger, a boisterous and outspoken power, used his stature and huge chest to command his audience. Whereas Zane, a quiet and calculated talent, took an electric approach on stage, taking advantage of factors such as presentation, visualization, and posing conviction.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Says Frank Zane Beat Him in 1968 With a Better 6-Pack
Sharing the stage 55 years ago, Schwarzenegger reflected on his time competing against Zane, and he discovered that America placed more emphasis on ab development than Europe had.
“The winner, a smaller guy named Frank Zane, was much more cut than I was,” Schwarzenegger wrote. “I was far too smooth. I’d missed a big thing.”
“The pros in America focused way more on the individual muscles of the midsection than we did in Europe,”
“I have a normal six-pack, which looks good, but Frank looked like each one of the muscles in his midsection was traced out of an anatomy textbook and chiseled from granite,” Schwarzenegger shared.
Schwarzenegger added that a lack of calf development “jeopardized” his chances of winning the sport’s most coveted title:
“Calves are basically the biceps of the legs. I had 24-inch biceps. I did not have 24-inch calves,” Schwarzenegger wrote. “In my mind that threw my body out of proportion, which jeopardized my chances of winning Mr. Olympia and officially becoming the greatest bodybuilder in the world. I wasn’t going to be the kind of person who let that happen.”
Part of what made Zane’s IFBB Pro League tenure so memorable was his ability to be competitive despite weighing considerably less than his adversaries. Zane not only won three Mr. Olympia titles under 200 pounds, but regularly walked around at that weight throughout the year.
Even though Schwarzenegger remembers his showdown against Zane closely, he doesn’t acknowledge “The Chemist” as his toughest bodybuilding test. The 76-year-old legend revealed in February that the late Sergio “The Myth” Oliva was the most challenging opponent of his career, emphasizing that it “took everything I had to beat him.”
While health and longevity are his top priorities as of late, Schwarzenegger will never forget what it was like testing his physique against other Mr. Olympia champions such as Zane, Oliva, and his friend, Franco Columbu.