In modern day language that the young people use, to be a “poser” is a bad thing. But in the world of bodybuilding, to be a great poser meant you knew well how to put your well toned body on display and that meant winning a lot of competitions. When the movie, Pumping Iron erupted on the American culture, some of the best talents in bodybuilding were on display. And of all of them, perhaps the best poser in the bunch was Ed Corney.
That is no small achievement Ed Corney was a legend in bodybuilding during the golden age of bodybuilding, which is roughly when Pumping Iron was made. Among his peers, Corney was very much admired and regarded as the best poser the sport of bodybuilding had ever produced. The outcome was a lot of victories for Corney including the IFBB Mr. America, IFBB Universe, IFBB Masters Olympia 60+ which he won twice. Small wonder that in the IFBB Hall of Fame, Ed Corney has place of honor.
Ed Corney entered bodybuilding later in life than most of the men he competed again. It was while Corney was serving a tour of duty in the Coast Guard that a bodybuilder by the name of Millard Williamson encouraged and inspired Ed to enter the sport himself. Corney won the very first bodybuilding contest he entered in 1967 at the age of 33. From then on out, there was no stopping the talented and ambitious bodybuilder as he went on to win the Mr. Northern California body building contest as well as Mr. Heart of California and Mr. Golden West.
From sweeping the state championships, it was a natural next jump for Ed Corney to begin winning in national competitions including the 1971 IFBB Mr. USA title and the IFBB Mr. America contest in 1972. By the time the Pumping Iron film was in the planning stages, Ed Corney was already a dominant force in bodybuilding with a huge amount of wins under his belt.
We tend to associate much more well known body builders with the movie Pumping Iron because that film thrust into the national consciousness such superstars as Arnold Schwarzenegger and the man who went on be become the name we most associate with The Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno. But it was Ed Corney whose picture dominated the cover of the Pumping Iron book as well as the posters for the Pumping Iron movie.
As the movie unfolds on the screen, some of the scenes in which Arnold Schwarzenegger trains with Ed Corney are perhaps some of the most fascinating and dramatic scenes of the film. One classic moment during those training sessions is when Schwarzenegger remarks about Corney, “Now that’s what I call posing” as Corney virtually puts on a seminar in the art of winning bodybuilding championships.
Today, the classic moves of posing that we associate with bodybuilding are often imitated by novice bodybuilders and by those outside the sport who want to “pose” like a muscle man or woman. What few people know is that those classic poses are ones that Ed Corney introduced to the sport of bodybuilding and it is those poses that have come to define how the finest of this demanding physical sport show the dramatic outcome of their exercise. We can be grateful for Ed Corney for creating such graceful moves that have defined the sport of bodybuilding. And we can thank the movie, Pumping Iron for bringing to the attention of the world the phenomenal bodybuilding talents of Ed Corney.