As the bodybuilding season marches forward, athletes are gearing up for the biggest show of the year, 2023 Mr. Olympia in November. In a recent Prime Time Muscle show, Chris Cormier and Terrick El Guindy examined some of the rivalries front and center in the Men’s Physique category, all of which feature the reigning Olympia winner, Erin Banks.
The Men’s Physique division has existed for around 10 years and in that time, athletes have evolved to display the best beach bodies possible. In 2013, Mark Anthony Wingson made history when he became the first-ever Men’s Physique Olympia champion. His victory served as a standard for the division at the time and offered his rivals a clear vision of the ideal physique needed to claim gold.
The intensity of the category only grew in the years to follow. Jeremy Buendia established himself as the reigning champion for four years, from 2014-2017. While there have been talks of his comeback in the past, he’s now formally committed in 2023. He’s shared bulking diets, training sessions, and physique goals ahead of his latest venture.
Before Erin Banks won the recent 2022 Men’s Physique Olympia title, Brandon Hendrickson proved himself as one of the best in the division. He became a three-time champion (2018, 2020, 2021), and like Buendia, hopes to knock Banks off the throne in a few months. With such a competitive group of talent, Cormier and El Guindy took a closer look at some of the top contenders expected to compete in November.
Terrick El Guindy Discusses Diogo Montenegro Accusing Erin Banks of ‘Suspect Shoulders’
According to El Guindy, Diogo Montenegro accused Erin Banks of having ‘suspect’ shoulders because there are no striations or separations in the muscle like his.
“Some guys they don’t like each other. That’s the part of the sport. These guys, they hate each other. Oh Terrick don’t use the word hate, well, that’s how they feel about each other. Diogo Montenegro was very specific in Portuguese because I speak the language and he says, ‘My shoulder has separation, my shoulder has striations when I’m really defined, you don’t get to see that on Erin Banks.
You know, making an assumption that Erin Banks shoulders are somehow suspect or present some type of imbalance. That did not go well with Erin Banks. Erin Banks is a cool collected guy. He’s a family guy. If you come his way, he’s from Fresno. They don’t play. He’s like, ‘You can say whatever you want to me, but be ready for the counter attack’ He went after Diogo, he said, ‘You’re a little man with five abs five little blocks,’ you know,” Terrick El Guindy shared.
El Guidy said the online beef reminded him of when Andre Ferguson and Brandon Hendrickson promised a scuffle in Orlando a few years ago.
“Things are getting hairy here. Remember, when we had Andre Ferguson and Brandon Hendrickson they were going to scramble in Orlando a few years ago. Everybody had their board shorts rolling, like, ‘Oh this is going to happen,” El Guindy added.
Chris Cormier & Olympia Judge Talk Jeremy Buendia, Brandon Hendrickson, Erin Banks Rivalries Before 2023 Olympia
After El Guindy explained that Banks blocks people online such as Buendia, Chris Cormier suggested that it probably wasn’t personal.
“He had arguments with Jeremy Buendia, he blocked Jeremy Buendia. Then, I think he [Erin Banks] blocked some other guys. If you come to his social media and you don’t like him, he blocks everybody. I mean, it’s his social media he does whatever he wants but that’s his strategy.”
“It’s competition and I’m sure a lot of it is not totally personal. I just – I don’t know, I like going back and forth. It fueled me to look even better than I probably would have if I different have some kind of edge or some type of chip on my shoulder getting ready for a show. I wanted it. I invited it,” said Chris Cormier.
Cormier said back when he competed, those who talked trash to Flex Wheeler would receive a ‘personal block’ since social media didn’t exist then.
“I would probably have to [trash talk] go with Flex Wheeler. Because just knowing him so well, I know what buttons to push and what buttons to not push, and just like we would go into the posing room together, myself, him – Rico McClinton, and Flex, I mean we’d be in there till we’re falling asleep in between. But we knew if you said one thing negative to Flex, he would at that time defriend you or do a personal block on you back in the day, he wouldn’t talk to you for a few weeks,” said Cormier.
Given Hendrickson’s history on top, El Guindy believes he has the potential to upset Banks at the 2023 Mr. Olympia. He said he felt a lot of tension between the two Men’s Physique competitors during an Olympia TV live show.
“We might have a shake-up. You never know, Brandon Hendrickson, don’t discount the champion. A lot of times people place second place and guys start talking about new guys, he can come back and he can regain that title. Him and Erin Banks, they dislike each other to the max. There wouldn’t be anything more perfect for Brandon Hendrickson to be the last man standing and to take that trophy from the heart of Erin Banks,” said Terrick El Guindy.
“I did a live with them and there’s a lot of tension between those two guys.”
Even though Jeremy Buendia has proven himself as an elite champion, Cormier said he’s facing a very ‘steep hill’ because his peers, Hendrickson, and Banks, have been competing consistently as of late.
“He’s put on a lot of muscle. I just hope it’s going to turn out right because these guys have actually been competing and he’s actually not been competing,” said Cormier. “I didn’t say he couldn’t make an impact. I’m saying it’s a steep hill to climb when things guys have been competing. I said he’s going to have a steep hill to climb when these guys have been competing competing competing,” shared Cormier.
In the past, Erin Banks and Buendia have gone at it in a heated Olympia TV interview. Banks argued that the category had moved on and evolved since Jeremy’s time in the sport. However, Buendia took issue with Banks lacking respect for champions who paved the path he now walks on.
The IFBB Pro League announced a new height/weight cap restriction for the Men’s Physique division. Following the 2023 Olympia event, the new regulations will go into effect. In an appearance on an NPC News Online YouTube video, IFBB Vice President Tyler Manion laid out why the changes are being implemented. Most importantly, it’s to keep competitors from retaining too much size.
While some in the community such as Dave Palumbo believe the changes would discourage Men’s Physique talent from training legs, Bob Cicherillo disagrees. In a recent Voice of Bodybuilding Podcast, the event announcer explained that ignoring leg training would result in an imbalanced physique despite legs not being a part of the judging criteria.
The rapid growth of the Men’s Physique division has made it one of the most talked about events on the Mr. Olympia schedule. With Erin Banks at the center of at least three rivalries, fans are looking forward to seeing how he fares in what could be his first title defense.