Bob Cicherillo has taken issue with Dave Palumbo over his interpretation of the Men’s Physique rules set to go into effect following 2023 Mr. Olympia. In the latest Voice of Bodybuilding Podcast, Cicherillo shared evidence that the Men’s Physique judging criteria takes legs into consideration.
Judging and officiating have taken center stage since last year’s action-packed Mr. Olympia contest. In the end, Hadi Choopan hoisted gold above his shoulders, a victory he earned after years of placing in the top four. Derek Lunsford, meanwhile, also made a statement in his Open class debut by placing runner-up. Given the success of two former 212 competitors, some believe the judging criteria underwent a shift to favor balance, proportions, and conditioning over size and freak factor.
Concerns about judging once again dominated discussions online following Nick Walker‘s loss to Samson Dauda at the 2023 Arnold Classic. Factoring in Walker’s conditioning levels, some veterans of the sport thought ‘The Mutant’ should have earned first. When the dust settled, even Walker expressed doubts about the judging process as he thought he was the rightful winner.
With fan backlash at an all-time high, athletes rep Bob Cicherillo stepped in. He’s taken to multiple podcasts to explain the fair and proper ways to judge a bodybuilding contest. Bob also provided reasons for why the judges awarded Dauda the victory in Ohio instead of Walker.
Weeks ago, IFBB Vice President Tyler Manion announced new changes to the Men’s Physique division. Specifically, the category will impose a weight/height restriction in the coming months. In light of the new statute, Dave Palumbo worried that competitors would ignore leg training in order to game the weight cap. However, in Bob’s opinion, Palumbo couldn’t be more wrong.
“Dave, You’ve Made a Whole Career Out of Lying,” Bob Cicherillo Blasts Dave Palumbo Over Men’s Physique Ruling
According to Cicherillo, competitors could hide their legs 10 years ago but not anymore because the board shorts have changed and now fit tighter on the legs.
“What is it about [Dave] Palumbo that I just have to constantly, constantly correct what he puts out there? So now the big thing is, all this Men’s Physique back and forth is that I’m a liar! And Dave is even mean when he says I’m lying to the athletes, and damn it, he’s not going to take it anymore because he cares so much about the athletes, so much, that he doesn’t even go to the shows. But we’re going to stick with the plot here and actually prove to everybody that I am indeed not the liar. Dave, you’ve made a whole career out of lying.”
“You insist that you do know what’s going on but you really don’t. We’re going to put up a graphic right here and show you how much it’s actually changed. In this picture you’re going to see, this is an actual 10-year difference from your first-ever champ in Mark Anthony to Brandon Hendrickson and you could see – the shorts have changed dramatically.
Yes, you could hide some leg development or lack thereof 10 years ago, but as you can see in the photo, the shorts they wear today are more spandex, they are tighter hugging to the legs because the athletes like to show off their leg development to go with their upper bodies even though it’s Men’s Physique,” Bob Cicherillo explained.
Citing an official IFBB Pro League document, Cicherillo underlined that the whole body is taken into account when judging bodies in the Men’s Physique category.
“We have found the actual written criteria. This is where you’re going to have a problem my friend. The written criteria, now this is from many many years ago but this still holds true, what it means to assess a Men’s Physique physique. I’ll paraphrase, you can see the part right here where it says, and I’ll quote: ‘Assessment should begin at the head and extend downwards, taking the whole physique into account. Whole Dave. W-H-O-L-E- that would mean in its entirety. The whole physique is taken into account.”
“I know who your top head judge is I actually talked to him today. That’s not actually what he said. Even though what you put out there and this is what you do. You try to stack the deck in your favor to try to make your case. But you get caught every single time because you’re not as smart as you think you are.”
Even though an official score isn’t given for leg development in Men’s Physique, Bob shared that it’s still factored into the end result.
“There’s no specific score that goes to leg development as I just read the criteria. The whole body is assessed, okay? And, I do have an actual quote from the same said person that we could put up right now that actually says there’s a little bit more involved isn’t there? The whole physique should be assessed. We look at the physique as a whole. We look at the silhouette of the physique. If you’ve got thin legs, okay, if your legs don’t match your upper body, it will hurt you.”
“Don’t listen to this idiot [Dave Palumbo]. That’s my advice to all the people out there. He has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about and we just proved your wrong once again. Top judges, you can catch anyone of them, any one, go out and get a consensus Dave, talk to 10 of them, they are all going to tell you the same thing I did. The entire physique is taken into consideration in Men’s Physique.”
This isn’t Bob Cicherillo’s first time dropping knowledge on Palumbo over the new rules. In a Voice of Bodybuilding Podcast last week, Cicherillo stressed that competitors in Men’s Physique still need to train their legs otherwise they will appear imbalanced on stage. In addition, Cicherillo mentioned that he’s seen Physique competitors lose shows due to a lack of leg development.
The bodybuilding community is unsure how the new Men’s Physique height/weight cap will affect the growing class. As with any division, Bob Cicherillo made it clear that the ‘entire physique’ is taken into account during the judging process.
You can watch the full video below from the Voice of Bodybuilding YouTube channel: