Like all good sports, bodybuilding has changed over time. A lot.

Take a look at the difference between Arnold’s 1975 Mr. Olympia Win and Phil Heath’s 2014 win.

In less than 40 years, the competitive bodybuilding standards have completely transformed. Peruse any message board or scroll through a bodybuilding-fan Facebook page, and you’ll be bombarded with questions of could Arnold still win today? These conversations are ridiculous for two reasons:

  1. Arnold’s last major competition was over three decades ago. If you compare two athletes with that large of a time gap, you must account for far too many variables for the debate to remain meaningful. Ever looked at the progression of the two-mile track and field world records?
  2. The IFBB doesn’t want an Arnold physique today.

The answer: no, he could not win.

This doesn’t stop the conversation from being any more fun though. Cross-generational comparisons give us something interesting to talk about — an argument that will never be settled but makes us feel more intelligent for having engaged in anyway. This is the media's dream, the driving force behind every all-time-best argument: MJ vs. LeBron, Palmer vs. Woods, Montana vs. Brady. We will always argue about things we can't solve.

If you want some background knowledge on how to navigate these debates (and craft a good argument for your personal favorite), take a look at this compilation video of all the Mr. Olympia winners from 1965 to 2014.