by Geoff Roberts
With the 2016 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic right around the corner, fans and insiders alike are beginning to discuss who the front runners will be at the second most prestigious bodybuilding competition on planet earth. Kai Greene, who has recently finished second to Phil Heath several times at the Mr. Olympia contest, is considered the overwhelming favorite coming into the Arnold, and for good reason. However, with Kai having not competed for a year and half, it is hard to predict how good he will be after such an extensive break from competition. This realization opens the door for a young bodybuilder who many believe is the future of the sport, Justin Compton. While Kai is obviously many times more successful than Justin at this point in their careers, times will change eventually. Could the 2016 Arnold Classic be the moment when Justin turns the tide on the legendary Kai Greene?
While Justin obviously had some issues at the Arnold Classic last year and was lucky to finish third, just a week later at his last show, the Arnold Australia, Justin effectively remedied whatever issues he had a week earlier and probably should have defeated Branch Warren and Dexter Jackson to win that contest. In the always curious case of Kai Greene, he pulled out of his last show, where he almost certainly would have lost to both Shawn Rhoden and Dennis Wolf, due to mysterious stomach issues. With the show’s favorite, Kai Greene, coming off a poor showing and a long break, and the show’s runner up coming off a fantastic showing, the stage is set for an epic battle. These two bodybuilding elites have never stood next to one another onstage before, so the next best thing is to create a virtual shot for shot pose down on paper, based on what they have shown us thus far. It must be noted that while these two are considered the clear front runners, it is entirely possible for a competitor like Juan Morel or Cedric McMillan to take out either one of these guys and upset the apple cart.
Quarter turns and posing routine:
For the sake of time, I will lump the corner turns and posing routines into one category. Now that the posing round will supposedly be counted towards the athletes scores at the Arnold Classic, it must be taken into account in our virtual pose down. Kai Greene clearly wins this category. I highly doubt that any person would argue with that, and for that reason, dissecting it is unnecessary. The quarter turns on the other hand, are a different story. Due to superior shape, x-frame, and height, Justin wins the front relaxed. The side shots will be very close, with Justin looking better above the belt, and Kai looking superior in the leg department. From behind, Justin will probably be slightly harder with far better shape, while Kai displays a level of muscularity that causes muscle to hang off his body like a tren loving willow tree. Due to his superior x-frame, which tends to aid competitors more in the quarter turns than in the mandatories, Justin will more than likely take the “relaxed” back shots. Kai handily wins the posing round, while Justin takes the quarter turns.
Front double biceps:
Besting Kai Greene in the front double biceps is like effectively guarding Allen Iverson on a basketball court. For all intents and purposes, it is a nearly impossible task. Kai’s waist, which tends to be one of his weaknesses, due to it’s short length and general thickness, pretty much disappears in the front double biceps, especially down near his hip. This tiny waist, coupled with some of the freakiest bicep peaks of all time and huge quads, makes this a surefire knockout shot for The Predator. Justin is no slouch in this pose, sporting massive arms and legs, but his abs are not that great, and his arms sometimes lack detail in this shot. Kai dominates the front double biceps.
Front lat spread:
Many of the same factors which proved to decide the front double bicep, carry over into the front lat spread. Kai’s thick waist appears tight, and his quads are flawless. Justin holds his own in this shot with his massive x-frame, complete with giant sequoia legs and watermelon delts. Both competitors lack extreme detail from the waist up in this shot, however, it is more glaring on Compton’s physique. Justin out sizes Kai on this shot, but it is not enough to overtake Kai’s overall package, a package that could appear next to the word bodybuilder in the dictionary. Kai wins another shot.
Things are starting to look a little bleak for Justin Compton. Kai takes up space and displays a level of density on par with a neutron star in the side chest pose. In this pose, Kai makes even the best professional bodybuilders begin to look stringy, and Justin is no exception, most notably in the quads and hams. Compton displays remarkable arms and delts, but it just isn’t enough to deal with the immense density of Kai Greene. Kai tobbles the youngster once again. Luckily for Justin, there are five mandatory poses still to come.
This is the first pose that Justin begins to actually make Kai look small. Certainly not small in regards to overall muscle mass and thickness, but small in regards to stature. Justin has massive, beautiful arms and delts, capping off a huge, wide frame, which effectively makes Kai look squatty and unpleasing to the eye. Being a seasoned veteran of the stage, as well as one of the greatest posers of all time, it is safe to say that Kai will have his midsection in check while hitting the side tricep. Therein lies the only way that Kai will beat Justin in this pose. If Justin has trouble controlling his stomach, a la the 2015 Arnold Classic Ohio, he will lose this pose to Kai as well. I’m assuming this will not be the case, so the pose goes to Compton.
Back double biceps:
Most fans would assume that this is where the door is going to be slammed shut on Justin Compton. Not so fast. Kai Greene packs more muscle in the back shots than nearly any other bodybuilder in history. Unfortunately, the amount of muscle he has added to his back over the last five years or so has continued to make him appear more and more squatty. Justin on the other hand, has one of the best back double biceps shots I have ever seen. Reminiscent of a taller Phil Heath. It does not get much better than that. Deeply shredded glutes, crazy road map detail in his upper back and Christmas tree, huge arms, and even bigger delts. At the Arnold Classic Ohio last year, Justin arguably had the best back double in the entire show. Some could argue that distinction goes to Cedric McMillan, as he may have been slightly better from the waist up, but Justin killed him from the waist down. For these reasons, I have Compton narrowly winning the back double.
Back lat spread:
This shot is a classic case of apples and oranges when it comes to Justin Compton vs Kai Greene. Kai is as wide as he is tall in this pose, and although that is impressive, it is not the most pleasing look of all time. Justin on the other hand, also displays super width, with slightly less mass and a much better V-taper. In true apple vs oranges fashion, this shot simply comes down to what you prefer. Similar conditioning, Kai has an uncanny amount of mass, width, and thickness, while Justin holds his own in the size department and displays unbelievable shape. I have to call this one a draw.
Abs and thigh:
On paper it would seem that Justin has this shot locked up, based on his superior structure, but that is not the case. Justin has massive quads, but his midsection is a vulnerability in this shot. Kai on the other hand, comes alive in this pose. His waist tapers in nicely, his abs are great, and the cross striations along his quads look like something out of a sci-fi film. I give this one to Kai Greene all day.
The shot that Phil Heath uses to bury Kai at the end of every call out they share, is going to hurt Kai once again against Justin. The most muscular shot is arguably Kai’s worst pose of all, while it may be Compton’s strongest shot. Not good news if you are a Kai Greene fan. When Compton gets into his hands clasped most muscular, a pose that makes his arms and delts look like planets orbiting his torso, Kai better take that fifteen pound step over the line, to avoid looking like a middleweight next to Compton. Compton easily seals the deal on this shot.
When all’s said and done, Kai Greene wins four out of the eight mandatories, as well as the posing round. Justin Compton wins the quarter turns, and three out of the eight mandatories. Unfortunately for Justin, the posing routine will obviously carry more weight in the judging than any single pose. Based on this virtual pose down, it might be the posing routine that is the deciding factor, giving Kai the edge over Compton, and allowing him to win his third Arnold Classic title.