Arnold Schwarzenegger’s advice to Lee Haney

Built Report Arnold Schwarzenegger Lee Haney
Arnold Schwarzenegger teaches Lee Haney how to pose

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Ballet teacher instructs Arnold Schwarzenegger on posing.

“What you have to realize is that people are watching you all the time, they’re not just(watching you) there and there”, was the dance instructor/posing coach’sĀ advice for Arnold Schwarzenegger at the beginning of the 1977 documentary film Pumping Iron. The movie opens with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu in a dance studio, probably somewhere in Venice, California, going through what at first appearsĀ to look like ballet moves but are actually preparations for their upcoming Mr. Olympia contest. After sage advice from the dancer, theĀ movie then freeze frames on Arnold as the theme song written by master composer Michael Small takes us in to the opening credits. The rest is history. For more on the theme song:Ā

Forward fast to Lee Haney’s first Mr. Olympia, Munich, Germany in 1983, where he came in second to Samir Bannout. At the After party thrown by German bodybuilding promoter Albert Busek, Lee Haney was sitting at a table with his wife Shirley when Arnold Schwarzenegger walks up and says to Lee, “You have a fantastic physique. A lot of potential. All the potential in the world but the one thing that I saw is that your presentation lacked polish.”. After a quick rise through the contest ranks, in 1983, Lee was suddenly on stage with veteran bodybuilders like Frank Zane and Albert Beckles who had their acts down through years of competition. At age 23 Haney just didn’t have the experience and it showed in his posing routine. Arnold offered Lee that, once they got back to California, he would introduce him to his posing coach. She could help Lee with his posing positions and transitions and according to Arnold, as quoted by Lee Haney, “Then, you’ll be Mr. Olympia as long as you want to be.”

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Lee Haney at the 1983 Mr. Olympia Contest in Munich, Germany.

When Lee got back to California he met Arnold at his office along with his posing coach. The two helped Lee to created more movement and fluidity in his routine with better transitions between poses as well as a routine designed for a mass monster type of physique as opposed to a more aesthetic Lee Labrada or Frank Zane build. The next year, in 1984, Lee won his first Mr. Olympia contest and went on to win 7 more, breaking Arnold’s record.

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