IFBB Pro Open division bodybuilder Hunter Labrada recently sat down for an interview with former IFBB competitor Dennis James. Labrada is a few weeks out from the Chicago Pro that will take place July 23-25, 2021 and there he’ll have a chance to qualify for the 2021 Olympia.
Last year, he won his first Pro show, the Tampa Pro, and then went on to place 8th in his first Olympia. While not a bad result, he told James “It wasn’t good enough to where I was even remotely happy it“.
But he acknowledged that his back and specifically, his lower lats have been a weak point due to poor training strategy. Consequently, he’s working hard to bring it up and has been making great progress.
Growing Up With A Legendary Dad
If you know about bodybuilding’s history then you’re probably aware Hunter Labrada is the son of legendary bodybuilder Lee Labrada who’s placed top four at the Olympia seven times from 1987 to 1993. Not to mention, during a time when 8x Mr. Olympia Lee Haney reigned over the division.
Quitting football and pursuing bodybuilding
Labrada explained that his father wasn’t happy with him pursuing bodybuilding. He wanted him to stick with college football and told him that bodybuilding will always be there for him.
But young Hunter disagreed and insisted he start bodybuilding and quit football after having suffered multiple injuries. He didn’t want to take the chance and incur more injuries that could ruin any potential chance of him pursuing a successful bodybuilding career.
But as fate had it, Lee became his coach and has stuck with him ever since.
How Hunter Labrada Improved His Physique
James asked Labrada what he did to make such crazy improvements over the past two years as it’s no secret his physique has changed a lot for the better.
“Really and truly you want to know what happened? I got my shoulder fixed,” said Labrada.
He explained having dislocated his shoulder and breaking his arm after getting tackled during football and it was worse than he knew. During his Nationals prep, he couldn’t even lift his shoulder over his arm it was so bad.
But after getting it fixed in 2019 he’s been able to train his upper body as hard as he does his legs and he says that’s been the key to his incredible development and progress. He couldn’t even do a biceps curl before but now it’s fair game.
The conversation led to curiosity about his massive arms of which he said measured about 22″ cold. James praised his shape and biceps peak.
Chasing The Sandow
While Hunter respects and admires his father for his incredible achievements in the sport, he wants to have a better career and that means taking home a Sandow trophy.
“The only thing Lee didn’t do is win Mr. Olympia”.
Beating the previous generation
But he has fierce competition with the current lineup although James thinks he or any of the others newcomers like Ian Valliere, Nick Walker, and James Hollingshead can dethrone the current top 5.
“I absolutely believe you guys are good enough to dethrone every single one of the guys ahead of you right now if they’re not on.”
Hunter agrees that they are all good enough and are all progressing at an incredible pace.
Upcoming Chicago Pro
With the 2021 Olympia coming up, athletes don’t have much longer to qualify, and with just a few shows left including the Chicago, Texas, and Tampa shows. The deadline to qualify is Sunday, September 12, 2021.
Labrada will be competing at the Chicago show and there will be a few top guys he has to watch out for. But at the time of the interview, he said his biggest competition will be Akim Williams who finished 6th at the 2020 Olympia but recently won the Puerto Rico Pro. Well, he’ll still have to go up against Sergio Oliva Jr. who was 5th at the 2020 Arnold Classic, and other beasts in the division.
Who Can Hunter Labrada Beat At The 2021 Mr. Olympia?
“I would love to see what I look like standing next to William and Akim”. “I think I compare very well to Akim.”
Labrada thinks it’ll be a blood bath for that fifth spot on the Olympia stage.
Predictions For 2021 Olympia
There was no hesitation in Hunter saying, “I think Ramy will repeat.”
“I feel like he’s always worried about coming in too big and I feel like this was the year he finally committed to coming in conditioned.”
He feels this should give Ramy the confidence to come back and repeat.
Hunter was asked if he could beat any of the top guys and he was incredibly honest.
“I don’t think I have the maturity to beat Brandon (Curry) or Hadi (Choopan) yet.”
However, Hunter Labrada is confident he will win the Mr. Olympia show one day and he’s in a pretty good position to get there one day, especially at just 29 years old.