In the early 1980s, Muscle and Fitness published an article with a two page layout showcasing the forearms of Casey Viator and sensational newcomer at the time, Gunnar Rosbo. Rosbo’s forearm is above Viator’s arm. Subsequent publications of a very similar photo taken from a slightly different angle showed part of Viator’s face. First, let’s get a perspective on their heights. Casey Viator was always listed as five foot eight inches tall. Here he is with Sergio Oliva, who was often listed as five foot ten inches, but was probably closer to five foot nine. Here is Viator with Boyer Coe, who is listed as anything from five foot seven to five foot nine, but is probably 5 foot nine. So, how tall was Viator actually? Viator may have been closer to five foot seven. Rosbo, on the other hand, was listed as six foot two but may have been a little shorter. This photo of Rosbo and Viator at the beach gives perspective on their heights in relationship to each other. It’s possible that Rosbo was around six inches taller than Viator. Recognizing that height difference and realizing that Rosbo is behind Viator, let’s enlarge Rosbo to compensate for his disadvantageous positioning. Then we can morph back an forth to compare the two.
Their arm positions and their body angles relative to the camera are similar but different enough that this cannot be considered a direct comparison. One structural difference that comes to mind is that Rosbo appears thicker closer to the wrist. This could be differences in hand rotation or pronation but if you look at this image of Rosbo you will notice that he has very mesomorphic looking forearms all the way down to the wrist. However, you can have smaller wrists and still look extremely mesomorphic as demonstrated by Paul Dillett. Viator has decent wrist size but not as much muscle development closer to the wrist. Independent of the size of Rosbo’s wrist bones, the muscles nearer to his wrist, like the extensor pollicis brevis, and the adductor pollicis longus, among other muscles, were more developed on Rosbo. Also, Rosbo’s upper forearm area around the brachioradialis and the extensor carpi radialis longus appear developed higher up enough on his arms to blend in with his brachialis, creating a superhero-ish bowed-out look to the outer forearms.
Both Rosbo and Viator had long, well developed flexor muscles as well as long brachioradialis, the muscle that flexes the forearm at the elbow. Not every bodybuilder perceived as having giant arms has a long brachioradialis. Look at the massiveness of J P Fux but also notice that the area of his forearm near his elbow, all the way down to his wrist is almost a straight line. You can notice it in almost any shot of Fux. Contrast that with Viator or Rosbo, who both have long brachioradialis that have more development closer to the wrist. Additionally, this shot shows the extreme muscularity of Gunnar Rosbo’s flexor muscles also down to his wrist. Many people think of wrist size as overwhelmingly the result of bone size but, in Rosbo’s case, his forearm muscles likely add inches to his wrist size.
Viator, was a bodybuilding phenomenon as a teenager, winning both the 1970 AAU teen Mr America and the 1970 AAU Mr USA followed up by winning both the 1971 AAU Mr America and 1971 AAU Junior Mr America titles. The earliest bodybuilding photos of Viator always showed him appearing blocky and mesomorphic. His shoulders weren’t particularly wide but he was compact, had head to toe muscularity, and long muscle insertions.
This early photo of Rosbo has him appearing ecto-mesomorphic but all the muscle belly length attributes were there, so that when he filled out, he had a total mesomorphic look that not all pro bodybuilders have. Casey Viator had a longer, more successful bodybuilding career, where as Gunnar Rosbo’s career was sidelined early by nerve damage to one side of his body. Casey Viator passed away on September forth, 2013 at 62 years of age. It would be interesting to see what Gunnar Rosbo looks like today but new photos of Rosbo stopped circulating around the time he stopped competing. See this video’s description for more videos on Rosbo, including a three part video of creating a Gunnar Rosbo sculpture.
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