The Latest in Bodybuilding, Strength, and Fitness


The raw powerlifting record book was rewritten at the Kern U.S. Open in San Diego on April 24-25.

• MEN’S 90kg. SQUAT AND TOTAL: Chad Penson set two records in the 198-lb. division: 🌎 squat with wraps: 400 kg. (882 lbs.) and 🌎 total: 997.5 kg. (2199 lbs.), crushing the old mark by over 100 lbs.! With 692 Wilks points, the 28-year-old Californian also won the meet 🏆 and $25K.

Penson deads 805 lbs. / YouTube

• SQUAT: Super-heavyweight Dan Bell, who became the first person to total over 2600 pounds raw with wraps in February, this time became the first to squat over 500 kg. raw with wraps and finish a powerlifting meet. 🌎 New record: 505 kg. (1113 lbs.). (Vlad Alhazov squatted 525 kg. in a squat-only meet and 505kg in a full meet in which he bombed out on the deadlift. Powerlifting records are complicated!) Bell, a 34-year-old mechanic in rural Illinois, placed second 🥈 with 632 Wilks points, collecting $10K.

• WOMEN’S DEADLIFT: The woman’s all-division deadlift record was broken twice this month, first by Jessica Springer on April 11, and then by 46-year-old Sara Schiff at Kern, when she pulled 🌎 287 kg. (633 lbs.). Both women are in the unlimited weight division.

• MEN’S 82kg. TOTAL: Blake Lehew 🌎 910 kg. (2006 lbs.)

• WOMEN’S 75kg squat & total: Hunter Henderson 🌎 295 kg. (650 lbs.) and 🌎 702.5 kg. (1549 lbs.)


Remember physical magazines? Last century, they were the everything for bodybuilding news and advice. But the internet and social media killed virtually all of them in recent years. Is it time for a resurrection? Plans are being made for Muscle & Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and FLEX, purchased last year by Jake Wood along with the Olympia, to return in print form. M&F was last seen on newsstands in early 2020. FLEX’s last issue was March 2018.


Flex and Dex / Instagram

The big story of March was the opening of Flex Lewis’ Las Vegas gym, The Dragon’s Lair. The Vegas mecca continues to garner attention because of its frequent high-profile guests. Among the notables who checked it out in April was Dexter Jackson, 2008 Mr. Olympia, who worked out with fellow legend Flex Wheeler. The Blade’s verdict: “Baddest gym in Vegas. Hands Down!!!”


His next go-round as the Norse God, Thor: Love and Thunder, has been pushed to early 2022, but Chris Hemsworth recently talked to The Telegraph about his year-round training and dieting. “There’s an aesthetic that the role requires,” he said. “Bodybuilding is seen as vanity, whereas if I put on a bunch of unhealthy weight, or got unhealthily skinny for a role, I’d probably be called a serious actor.…The training across 10 years of doing it is a full-time job. That and then a 12-hour shooting day—it’s a real grind. It’s incredibly rewarding, too. You have to look at it like a professional athlete.”

Hemsworth getting “tired” / Instagram


DMX at Woodstock 99 / YouTube

The death of DMX at 50 on April 9 rocked the muscle world nearly as much as the music world. His hyper-intensive rap songs were like audio preworkouts, fueling countless PRs over the last quarter-century. Ronnie Coleman during his Olympia reign made such DMX songs as “Party Up,” “Ruff Riders’ Anthem,” and “X Gon’ Give It to Ya” the essential fuel in his training soundtrack, thundering through the dusty speakers of Metroflex Gym daily. On Instagram, Phil Heath wrote about seeing DMX in concert and how his songs brought out “the inner badass while going to the gym and other areas in life…Thank you, X! Your anthems will forever be in rotation!!!”


Walking the Talk / Instagram

Known for his vast appetite, showcased on the travel show F*ck, That’s Delicious, rapper Action Bronson has long been a bodybuilding fan and previously a workout fiend. One of the songs on his debut album was even titled “Ronnie Coleman.” Yet as his fame grew, he spent less time in gyms and more in restaurants. By the middle of last year, he’d reached 400 at 5’8”. Since then, Action has adopted a healthier diet and a high-intensity training program. So far, he’s shed 130 pounds, a transition chronicled on his Instagram page. He told the New York Times: “My body is catching up to my ambition.” In the April 29 episode of F*ck, That’s Delicious, he stated his new motto, a message for all of us: “If we’re gonna eat, we’re gonna fuckin’ lift.”


Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on April 26, Arnold Schwarzenegger came clean about his marijuana past. He fessed up to partaking with his “very good friend” uber-stoner Tommy Chong, of Cheech and Chong fame, in the ’70s. “I started working out with a few hits before we went to the gym, and worked out this way, and it was really fantastic,” Arnold effused. Near the end of Pumping Iron, he’s seen taking a celebratory toke after winning the 1975 Mr. Olympia. But that may have been his final hit, because he told Kimmel he quit that year to get more serious about acting and business. Arnold didn’t want his career to go “up in smoke.”

Schwarzenegger & Chong, Gold’s Gym, Venice, CA, circa 1974


💪 Men’s open and 212 bodybuilding kicks off the 2021 season with three IFBB Pro League contests.