Chris Cormier took to the latest Prime Time Muscle podcast to discuss Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay‘s future in the sport after placing fifth at 2022 Mr. Olympia. In addition, Cormier revealed that competitors consistently shooting substances into their backs are degrading their longevity.
When Olympia ended last year, the Men’s Open landscape completely reshaped itself. Elssbiay, who was a clear-cut favorite before the competition, failed to pick up a third consecutive title. Instead, Hadi Choopan won the Sandow and cemented himself as the first Iranian-born Mr. Olympia.
Ramy’s shocking performance sent shockwaves through the IFBB Pro League. Steve Weinberger was the head judge at the event and gave his side of the story days after Ramy fell short. He believes the physique Elssbiay brought to Sin City wasn’t an accurate representation of his best. During the interview, Weinberger suspected Elssbiay might have been suffering from undisclosed injuries.
Many fans and veterans of the sport thought Ramy was missing lower back definition. Months before the competition, Samir Bannout called attention to the Egyptian’s imbalanced back. Even some of his competitors, like Iain Valliere, assumed Ramy would be penalized at 2022 Olympia for other discrepancies, such as holes or dents in his quads.
In another surprising turn of events, Ramy announced his entry into the 2023 Arnold Classic this March. To reinvigorate his body for another major show, the 38-year-old underwent an intravenous stem cell treatment for damaged nerves.
Speaking with IFBB/NPC judge Terrick El Guindy, Chris Cormier talked about Ramy’s bodybuilding future and warned other competitors against shooting drugs into their backs.
Chris Cormier Picks Apart Big Ramy’s Title Loss at 2022 Olympia, Offers Posing Instructions
Given Ramy’s shape months before the contest took place, Cormier wonders if nerves or training practices played a role in the loss.
“The champion lost, Big Ramy lost the competition. No one saw that coming. So, that was something we were still trying to understand even during the pre-judging. Like, ‘wait a minute, maybe he won and they’re figuring out who’s second, third, and fourth,’ but then… he was on the outside looking in the whole time.”
“I think everyone was hyped up on Ramy because getting ready for the competition, everyone saw him, he was in shape far out from the show. It was just a race, who was going to be second through sixth. You gotta wonder, did nerves come into play?”
Cormier specified that Ramy lacked the ‘hardness’ many expected from him.
“Did something happen to where he wasn’t as hard as people thought he might have shown up as. I feel like it was a disappointment, it had to be disappointing for us to be thinking it would be one way. It’s almost like an undefeated football team going for the super bowl and not winning it.”
“You gotta wonder, he has top notch people in his corner. Chad Nicholls, Dennis James, so… it’s not like the knowledge is not there. You gotta wonder, is it coming down to the training leading into the show or something like that,” said Cormier.
When determining what went wrong with Big Ramy, Cormier, and El Guindy highlighted that he wasn’t flaring his lats during the back double biceps pose. Cormier assumed Ramy was trying to achieve a ‘3D look’ by adjusting the pose but believes that ultimately worked against him.
“I’ve posed with him before, and I know he knows how to do it [back double biceps]. That means, I think he was doing it on purpose [not flaring the lats during back double bicep]. I think in his mind, he thought he was going to bring a more of a 3D look out of his physique if he did that. But being Big Ramy, you need to be the biggest guy in that pose. So, I think he was doing himself a disservice by trying to overthink the pose in a sense.”
Cormier: Muscle Tissue ‘Will Dissipate’ If You Put ‘Different Substances in the Back’
In addition to warning athletes about injecting Synthol, Cormier urged others to avoid shooting drugs into the back. The practice can shorten careers and Chris stressed that once someone has nerve damage, the muscle atrophies.
“A lot of it [on people’s physiques] comes from pinning the back, putting different substances in the back, looking for some type of edge in size, in development – that’s not done in the weight room. So, a lot of that can make that muscle dissipate and it just won’t be there,” Cormier explained.
While he understands people are looking for shortcuts in bodybuilding, he believes injecting the back is a ‘slippery slope,’ which can lead to even more issues.
“People are looking for shortcuts, and I know they’re looking for shortcuts. I’ve been on the stage with most people that you can start to see the injuries. Like, we said before guys, once you getting into it, it’s a slippery slope. Once you get this type of mindset in bodybuilding, it’s not going to help you in the long-run because you’re going to shorten your career by doing so.
You want to shorten your career? Go ahead. Because I’ve seen a lot of people that are starting to have the damage, and it gets worse and worse and worse after the shows they do. Then you got a limit of maybe two years left to compete because you’re not going to have anything left to show,” says Cormier.
Since hanging up his posing trunks, Chris Cormier is known for offering unsolicited advice to bodybuilders. Last October, he advised Choopan to bring a ‘different look to his shoulders’ if he wanted to be considered for the Olympia title. ‘The Real Deal’ made these remarks after Choopan was accused by his ex-manager of allegedly shooting Synthol into his shoulders.
Despite some of Big Ramy’s issues, Cormier, Jay Cutler, and Dennis James refuse to count him out ahead of the 2023 Arnold Classic. In one month, Ramy will have the chance to redeem himself against Nick Walker, who surpassed him in third place on the Olympia scorecards.