1960s and 70s bodybuilders were able to maintain healthy skin tones like their 1940s and 50s predecessors while having a fuller, more three dimensional, rounder look as a result of the newer supplements introduced in the mid 1950s onward. Way back in 1965, Larry Scott’s muscles were blown up like balloons. They didn’t have the exact same supplements available then as now but, let’s face it, 1965 or 66 Larry Scott is still considered massive by today’s standards. In the 60s and 70s, bodybuilders didn’t have the skinned-cadaver, grainy hardness modern judges demand but they were awash in muscle, which is 79 percent water. Look no further than the scene in Pumping Iron where Arnold shakes out his pumped biceps, resembling two plastic bags packed full of gelatin. All that muscle had an effect on the connective tissue. You can notice diagonal tension lines on Arnold’s biceps perhaps more so than any other bodybuilder. Even in relaxed poses, it creates a kind of striated look. Unlike real muscle striations, these striations run counter to the muscle fibers and give the appearance of the skin and connective tissue containing, or holding back, otherwise unbridled muscle. This line in particular seems to follow the diagonal line of the shoulder but sometimes seen are auxiliary, repeating tension lines down the arm. This is an aspect of what people speak of when they refer to Arnold having a good skin tone. This healthy tautness along with a clear even tone with no obvious, fake tan, which so many top bodybuilders suffer from today, no visible scars or stretch marks, no sloppy vascularity, no excessive leanness to satisfy peculiar judges pining for geriatrically thin skin overlaying grainy, sand-like tissue.
In this shot, the tension lines make it look like Arnold’s biceps are composed of three round masses. Here, you can clearly see the diagonal split on both biceps at the same time, while both arms are fully extended. In this image with Ed Corney, you can see the tension lines diagonally across the outer biceps, past the cephalic vein, and continuing across the inner biceps.
Who else had these tension lines? Here’s Samir Bannout with the split crossing his vein like Arnold in the previous pic. You can see it in Roland Kickinger and Gunter Schlierkamp. Kal Szkalak had that same Arnold water logged look to his biceps and pecs and you can also see the split in his arms here. Sergio Oliva had it. As did Lou Ferrigno. You can see it here on Matt Mendenhall. Bertil Fox. Boyer Coe. Shawn Ray. Multiple lines on Tom Platz. Kevin Levrone. And what’s interesting about Flex Wheeler is that he doesn’t have definitive thick cephalic veins down his arm like Arnold but has many thin tension lines, like his biceps are held in place with saran wrap. These aren’t muscle fiber striations like you see in the deltoids or pecs but, for all intents and purposes, they have that appearance and, if you’re Boyer Coe, you have the appearance of striations on your biceps going both latitudinally and longitudinally.
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