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How Did Frank Zane become the Best Built Man of his era?

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Here's a look at Frank Zane's dominant career! (Image via fitnessvolt.com)

Frank Zane has become synonymous with the word aesthetic.

In fact, it was Zane who began the shifting of the tide in favor of aesthetic physiques over mass monsters. As such, it comes as no surprise that Frank Zane, often hailed as the father of aesthetics, is regarded as the pioneer of this sector.

In a world dominated by gigantic mass monsters packing on as many pounds as possible, Zane made it possible for a relatively lighter man (sub-220 lbs) to not just co-exist in but dominate the realm of bodybuilding.

At his peak, there was nobody who could match up to Zane. Neither Arnold Schwarzenegger or Franco Columbu could stand up to him, as Zane was in a league of his own. With three Olympia wins, Zane is an icon in his own right.

He stands for much more than his physique, though. Zane represents the ideals of perfect symmetry, lean muscular development, and the pinnacle of male performance. In this piece, we'll take a look at Frank Zane's legendary physique.


Frank Zane: The Best Built Man Of His Era

Competing in one of the most challenging and legendary eras of bodybuilding, getting to the top of the ladder was by no means an easy task for Zane. However, despite the odds stacked against him, he worked his way up by sheer commitment and will to keep improving.

Initially, Zane relied on his low body fat and lean physique to carry him through bodybuilding shows. As anticipated, that worked, especially at amateur and semi-pro levels.

However, the Olympia was still looming large, and Zane hadn't quite figured out how to climb that hill. Zane needed to pack on some serious mass if he wanted to stand a chance against the Olympia mainstays.

Zane had relied on light weights and higher rep counts, much to the dismay of the bodybuilding fraternity. It wasn't till a chat with Joe Weider, who finally got through to Zane in 1977, that he realized he needed to lift heavy for proper muscular growth.

Zane had shied away from heavier weights due to the onset of injuries. His worst fears came true when he began struggling with issues with his form while lifting heavy. All of a sudden, Zane needed to recover quickly, and his days before the Olympia were numbered. Zane optimized his routine by alrernating between heavy and light weights. He said:

“I find that if you train heavy, and then you lay off for a while, you hold your size longer. Years ago my training consisted of a lot of light pumping movements, but my size quickly diminished when I stopped training.”

As it turns out, the muscles develop more maturely with a heavier load and stay rigid despite a lack of training. Zane felt that it was the best way to work his way up the sales during off-season prep and then cut down one last time before hitting theage.

Fortunately for Zane, it all worked out in the end, and 1977 marked the start of Frank Zane's three-peat, as he established himself as a top contestant and a legendary figure in the sport.


Takeaway

Frank Zane is one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. His influence in making the sport an art form transcends the sport, as so many today, both old and young are influenced by Zane's ideologies and means of training.

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Edited by Bhargav
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