Muscle Sport Magazine

Big Ramy & Dennis James – Olympia Winning Formula

There was something missing the entire time. Yes, Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay did have a measure of success the past six years when he was part of The Camel Crew at Oxygen Gym in Kuwait, but he was without his mentor Dennis James. When Ramy first burst onto the bodybuilding scene in 2012, he had only been training three years. James took him under his wing in the the USA once Elssbiay earned his IFBB pro card in 2012 in Kuwait.

Right out of the gate, the Egyptian won the prestigious New York Pro in two consecutive years (2013 and 2014) and it seemed that he was destined to go on and win an Arnold Classic and/or Olympia before too long. His first few attempts at a Sandow were disappointing with eighth and seventh place finishes in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

At some point, the two parted ways and Ramy became the main name at the epicenter of what Kevin Levrone jokingly called “anabolic chicken.” Oxygen Gym had brought in a number of bodybuilders who put on an exorbitant amount of lean mass and it was no mystery how for anyone who even remotely follows this sport. But that’s the game today – bigger is better.

Elssbiay became even larger than before and had tasted victory at a few shows, such as the 2015 Arnold Classic Brazil, 2016 Kuwait Pro, and 2017 Arnold Classic Europe. His Olympia placings were also improving, taking fifth (2015), fourth (2016) and was Phil Heath’s runner-up in 2017, where he looked the best he ever did. But year later, Elssbiay came in to Las Vegas way off and fell all the way back to sixth; it seemed that the strategy that worked 12 months earlier – not worry about size and focus on detail and aesthetics – were ignored.

An injury kept him out of the 2019 Olympia and Elssbiay placed a very respectable third at this year’s Arnold Classic in Ohio. The Olympia had many ‘ifs’ surrounding it but that may have ended up being a blessing in disguise; it gave Ramy a chance to be reunited with James.

They trained together in crunch time and it was obvious at prejudging that Ramy was on. These two men know each other extremely well and Ramy obviously responds to James, who did not mince words about the Oxygen Gym crew.

“I was looking out for his best interests and Oxygen… they were just looking to see hw big they could get him,” James said during the “Meet the Olympians” on December 16. “It’s bodybuilding, but we want to see beautiful shape and physiques with good conditioning, not just mass with no conditioning.

“Back then, they (Oxygen Gym) didn’t have the knowledge, so maybe he was like a guinea pig.”

When asked about his he felt to be back training with James, Elssbiay said without hesitation, “I’m really happy to be back with Dennis because he’s my brother. When I’m training with him, I always feel comfortable because I started with him. He supports me; he believes in me and he thinks that I can be Mr. Olympia. I have been working with him more harder than ever (before).”

And the results speak for themselves…

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