Muscle Sport Magazine

1983 Mr. Olympia Samir Bannout – My View on the Art of Bodybuilding

By Samir Bannout, 1983 Mr. Olympia

It was during 1971, sometime during my summer vacation from school, I used to accompany my dad to his work as a salesman for an American Company called Am-levco just for the good ride and to enjoy the scenery of the Lebanese countryside. Lebanon as I remember it, is one the most beautiful place on earth; and yes, after traveling the world time and time again, this statement remains true!


As we drove through the street of Beirut, there was an area in which there was a Butcher shop that loved Bodybuilding. The butcher had all kind of pictures posted on his front window, and every time we drove by that spot I used to jump up and turn my head to the left and my head kept tilting to the left until my father would say, “What’s wrong with you and why these reaction every morning in the same area? ” Well, my friends, the fact is, there was a picture of the Amazing Frank Zane, I believed that it was removed from the Pages of Muscle Builder Power Magazine at the time (Muscle and Fitness now) having Frank hitting his most famous pose, the over head double arms with the wrist turned outwards with vascular arms & lat muscle, Wow! That Picture of Frank was out of this world … yes, that was the beginning of Samir Bannout and the passion for Bodybuilding has already began.

Testo 468 x 49

Life is about trial and error. I believe that making a few mistakes is not bad at all as long as you don’t repeat them over and over again. Nobody did it completely without mistakes NOT even Arnold and Zane. I feel good about myself every time I learn something new, and boy there is so much to learn! Before starting anything else… if you want to be a great Bodybuilder, you must have one thing in mind, you’ve got make sure to apply the ART PART with it! What I mean by this is: the 20-inch arms and 55 inch Chest are meaningless if you don’t know how to present them! You must forget about being a Bulldozer when your physique is only a Corvette’s type capacity, just don’t force MASS and neglect The Class, balance and harmony that will make your physique looks awesome. I started by studying pictures of the greats from John Grimek , Bill Pearl, Reg Park & Yes Frank Zane, the man that impressed me the most with his elegant style. I could see all his Poses flow correctly, the same with Arnold. I checked and studied his pictures. He Kind of limited himself to the poses that made him look perfect, AND HE DID!



I recall checking Arnold & Frank Zane’s Poses and trying to imitate them. What I found out was that my physique is actually mixed between the two of them. I could do the side chest of Arnold and his 3 Quarter back shot, the famous one (NO one else could do it right beside him & I would say I came close LOL). Zane has his back’s special poses where Arnold could NOT do, but I could! On the other hand I killed myself trying to do Frank’s famous vacuum pose and I failed miserably. So there you have it, do what works for you and do not copy Zane if you can’t really look like him and so on. Did you ever see Arnold hit a side triceps pose? Yes his Arms were BIG beyond your imagination but lets hit the side tri… well… it’s a piece of cake for Frank! That’s what I’m talking about.. Zane /Pearl /Arnold/ Park/ they were all unique in their own way! They really are masters in their styles.

Nowadays the Bodybuilding sport has taken a huge turn in a backward direction on the Mass without class Physique. Yes I mean that.. I don’t want to name anyone in particular, but let’s just say the majority of champions have not been that impressive if NOT a failure in terms of presentation and why is that? Did you ever see these guys standing in the line up with their arms opened up trying to make themselves looks bigger? Yet without realizing that they where actually doing the opposite!


There is NO need to over doing it. The IFBB should do something about it. What happened to the teachings of Frank, Arnold, and Pearl? Where is the Beauty & Michael Angelo type of physique? Where the hell are we going guys? Would you please wake up and have a reality check up! Never mind what you have won, I don’t care what titles you have. If you weigh 300 + lbs ripped or NOT. To me it does not mean anything if you cannot show that body with elegant and grace, you’ll be labeled as poor poser for the rest of you life!


My advice to you is to contact those guys that could help you. Yes do pay them well if you can.. if you can’t just find a way to improve in that area by practicing the way I did for years.. I heard that one champion was offered help by Frank Zane himself & he did not think that was important, Ha ! When I heard that, I could NOT believe that! This crazy guy has just wasted a Golden opportunity by not acting on this great & incredible offer.. I want to call this Guy a BIG FOOL.. I sure hope he’ll read this one day.. I recall Lee Labrada, one of the most intelligent Bodybuilders, who cashed in on Zane’s help in that department, he drove all the way to Palm Spring to work with Zane, in my opinion it did serve him very well , for sure he made an incredible transformation. He exactly started to act more like Frank and guess what?? He became a giant killer..


Hey listen, I have made many mistakes before and I do advise you sincerely to Look at the Quality and stage performance if you want to be remembered as great Body building Champion.


Bodybuilding is an art. It’s a performing art. Making your body speak on stage, I would compare it to a painter, such as Monet or sculptor like Michelangelo. You should check your painting/ sculpture, as they did when they created masterpieces. Every detail is reviewed until perfect. Bodybuilding is not just about lifting weights. It is about putting all the pieces to the puzzle. Mastery of peaking is critical. Tanning and posing are very important as well. I am not easily satisfied. Every time I attend a bodybuilding contest,


I see MAJOR elements that are missing in bodybuilders. The last Arnold Classic, it just so happened that I was sitting with The Prince Al Thani, and Jon Jon Park. Two individuals that think in the same manner that I do. We observed some of the champions on stage in perfect condition, yet they had horrible stage presence. The winner of the show Kai Greene did have a great presentation and looked fantastic, however, I would not agree 100% with the Governor that his posing was the greatest ever. Kai’s posing routine, in my opinion, was good; Crowds pleasing, entertaining too, nevertheless, it does not contain the mastery of Zane and Arnold, his performance, dancing-wise, I would agree with Arnold! But From my perspective, those little twists, proper angles, turns and transition bodybuilders such as Zane, and Makkaway are still lost in action! But his future is definitely on the bright side and with a little help from my friends; I believe he can be in the top ranks of the great poser some day.


I would like to see current competitors pay more attention to aesthetic and presentation…there is no limit for improvements in this field… remember, it’s performing art.


To reach go to: or www.bannoutnutrition .com

Photo courtesy of Samir Bannout

One Comment

  1. Pingback: The 50th Anniversary: 2014 Mr. Olympia Preview | Muscle Sport Magazine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *