Bigger and Better? Raphael Brandao Aims for Arnold Glory

After taking 2022 off, Raphael Brandao has made his goals clear – he’s gunning for the Arnold Classic title. Judging by his latest uploads, the Brazilian phenom has put in the work and added considerable mass to make a serious challenge.

Brandao’s most muscular poses showcase obvious new width and thickness, especially on the arms and delts. He appears bigger than ever before. This is the payoff from committing to improvements rather than competing last season.

However, some prudent skepticism is warranted. We’ve yet to see Brandao’s back in detail. His videos primarily highlight his best front shots through most musculars and front doubles. Until we see the full package, it’s tough to say if his back matches the growth up front.

Questions also remain about his leg development compared to the past. His quads lack the deep separations that his top rivals are already displaying. This could put Brandao at a disadvantage when it comes to battling for the title.

But write off Brandao at your own peril. His shape and lines are extraordinarily aesthetic. When dialed in, he has the ability to surprise and outplace competitors who assume size is everything.

If Brandao nails his conditioning and shows up with a complete, proportional physique, the title could be within his reach. However, in a lineup featuring the likes of Dauda, Horse MD Marcelo James, Justin and others, he can’t afford to be anything less than his career best. The Arnold stage will demand greatness.

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