Milos Sarcev is back to analyze the current state of judging and posing in bodybuilding. In an IFBB AMA YouTube video published on October 11, 2023, Sarcev discussed coaching biases, judging, and whether vacuums should be used for the abdominal and thigh pose.
Since the 2023 Arnold Classic wrapped up in March, there has been considerable chatter online and among the bodybuilding community about the direction of judging. These discussions ignited after Samson Dauda (trained by Milos Sarcev) narrowly surpassed Nick Walker on the scorecards in Columbus, Ohio.
After the event, athletes’ rep Bob Cicherillo backed up the judges’ decision. Even though “The Mutant” displayed more conditioning and muscle hardness, Cicherillo emphasized that “The Nigerian Lion” pulled off the W thanks to better symmetry, proportions, posing, shape, and stage presence.
With 2023 Olympia approaching next month, many in the sport, including Milos Sarcev, wonder how the event will be scored and whether or not vacuums will play a significant role on the sport’s greatest stage — which is a practice that aims to make competitors’ waists look smaller with more V-taper.
Milos Sarcev Talks Coaching Biases, Posing & The Challenges of Judging
Boasting 40 years of experience, Sarcev says he’s learned that bodybuilding is judged on more than just conditioning.
“Sometimes I’m criticizing judges and sometimes I’m defending them, let’s make that clear, sometimes I don’t agree and I’m not an expert, I’m not a judge. I’m a bodybuilder for 40 years. I look at bodybuilding through my eyes and how I would like them to judge. But throughout the years I’ve learned to look for much more and filter everything.It’s not just a conditioning contest, for example, I know that you love condition so condition might be very up high on your priority list when you get there but at a professional level when those bodybuilders are so close to each other right? Then you look for the size, you look for the shape, you look for conditioning, you look for hardness, and muscle density, and maturity, and polishment, and tie-ins, and striations, separation, presentation, there is so much more to it.”
“I didn’t know much about Tyler’s opinions before but the more I listen to him… they’re all aligned as Jim [Manion] would think and Jim was an unbelievable judge. He would tell you… look at what Steve Weinberger does, 20 people shows up on the stage, he glances one minute maybe, and he already has a clear idea of who the top six is.”“He has that kind of eye and he’s usually spot-on right off the bat,” added Sarcev.
“There’s so many things that can distract. People that have deeper separation from afar they can appear so much more ripped but then when you come closer you see that deep separation is still covered in so much lard around.Here’s the most important thing: somebody is mentioning now, ‘Oh maybe now the trend is changing. Maybe now they are looking for more aesthetic physiques.’ Look, when Dorian was winning, I disagreed with it. I was like ‘No way.’ He doesn’t have a better physique than Kevin Levrone, than Flex Wheeler, Shawn Ray, Chris Cormier – that was my statement.But then when you really look pose by pose, then he’s losing. Then I look, he damn didn’t lose this one. The side triceps, shit he doesn’t have arms like all these guys, but in that side triceps pose that arm looked phenomenal and everything else was perfectly balanced. Shit, that’s what judges also go for. So it can be a freaky physique,” Milos Sarcev shared.
“To angle yourself you don’t show your ties. So, when I was debating with Bob Cicherillo, I told him this is really Mr. eight mandatory poses, not really Mr. Olympia. Because I think the free posing routine when you add so many other poses now you’re not training just eight mandatories, now you show another eight or God knows how many you have. Like whoa, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sergio Olvia, Frank Zane, they are known for poses other than mandatories.”
Sarcev Calls Out Vacuums
According to “The Mind,” vacuum poses “hide the muscles” and he believes they add nothing to the abdominals and thigh pose.
“Ab and thighs, you can do all three ways. Now, vacuum doesn’t show the muscle, it hides the muscle. I hate it. Yes, it looks good for some people, but it’s called abdominals and thighs. How do you show abdominals when you are vacuuming it? I disagree with that. That is an intercostal serratus shot, not an abdominal shot.
“Should men be muscular or fat or skinny? There’s no question every man should want to be muscular, not at the level of bodybuilding but, you know whatever. There’s not even a question.But now for bodybuilders, especially Pro bodybuilders, for you to say I just like to train and I like to be jacked but I don’t want to be contest-ready, bullshit! There’s no better feeling you know when every fiber moves when you breathe when you turn. Everything is happening. I mean, that’s what we train for.”