As with many people that follow strength sports, bodybuilding fans are always looking ahead. As soon as the 2021 calendar season finished, anticipation was already building for what lay ahead in 2022. After two calendar years that saw numerous changes due to the pandemic, the 2022 season schedule appears to reflect one of normalcy, with many contests returning after sabbaticals while others held in different locations are returning to their home bases.
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The full schedule for all divisions is available at the IFBB Pro League website. Here is a glance at what lies ahead for the Men’s Open division.
The calendar season begins on the first weekend of March 2022 and concludes mid-December 2022. There will be 21 contests held in seven different countries. The United States has the most with 12. The country with the second most is Spain with three contests.
All contests have Olympia ramifications. Aside from winners qualifying for the big contest, each non-Olympia show is ranked by tier so that points can be awarded to the second through fifth-place finishers in the Olympia Qualification Series (OQS). The tiers of each show will be listed next to the location. The top three OQS finishers overall will also be invited to the Olympia.
This schedule is subject to change due to shows being added or regulations in different locations affecting whether the show goes on or not. BarBend will update this schedule accordingly.
Tradition returns to bodybuilding thanks to the season kicking off with the Arnold Classic. The second biggest show in the sports gets the new year rolling in a big way with stars such as Brandon Curry, William Bonac, and Cedric McMillan joining 11 other competitors in Columbus, OH.
- Arnold Classic: March 3-6, 2022, in Columbus, OH (Tier 1)
- Boston Pro: March 12, 2022, in Boston, MA (Tier 4)
There is one Men’s Open contest scheduled on the docket for April, but it’s a big one — the Arnold Classic Brazil is returning after a two-year absence. Past champions of this show include Curry, Juan Morel, and Steve Kuclo.
- Arnold Classic Brazil: April 22-24, 2022. Location TBD (Tier 2)
The month of May features two springtime traditions. The Indy Pro takes place in the midwest while the New York Pro returns to its home state after two years in Florida. The latter show is considered by many to be the third biggest title in bodybuilding. Previous winners of the NY Pro include Nick Walker, Iain Valliere, and Sergio Oliva Jr.
- Indy Pro: May 14, 2022, in Indianapolis, IN (Tier 4)
- New York Pro: May 21, 2022, in White Plains, NY (Tier 2)
The bodybuilding summer will start in the Great White North with the Toronto Pro, a show that has been around for multiple decades. The 2021 winner was Joel Thomas. The Puerto Rico Pro will be held on the final weekend of the month. The champion of that show in 2021 was Akim Williams.
- Toronto Pro: June 4, 2022, in Toronto, ON, Canada (Tier 2)
- Puerto Rico Pro: June 25-26, 2022 in San Juan, Puerto Rico (Tier 3)
July will be the busiest month of the year, with five contests currently slated to be held. Athletes will be competing in four different countries throughout the month, starting in Orlando, FL, followed by shows in Spain, Portugal, and Canada. The Chicago Pro concludes the month, and it will return to Chicago after temporarily calling Atlanta, GA home. 2021’s champion of the Chicago Pro show was Hunter Labrada.
- Orlando Pro: July 2, 2022, in Orlando, FL (Tier 4)
- Empro Pro: July 3, 2022, in Spain. City TBD (Tier 4)
- Mr. Big Evolution Pro: July 8-10, 2022 in Portugal. City TBD (Tier 3)
- Vancouver Pro: July 17, 2022, in Vancouver, BC, Canada (Tier 4)
- Chicago Pro: July 22-23, 2022 in Chicago, IL (Tier 3)
Three contests will be held in the southern United States during August. The Tampa Pro and Texas Pro shows will be held on back-to-back weekends. Valliere won both of those shows in 2021.
The final show is a new one with a familiar face being the host. The Ronnie Coleman Pro has been held in the past, but it will feature a Men’s Open lineup for the first time. The eight-time Mr. Olympia will be there to crown the champion as well.
- Tampa Pro: Aug. 5-6, 2022 in Tampa, FL (Tier 2)
- Texas Pro: Aug. 12-13, 2022 in Irving, TX (Tier 4)
- Ronnie Coleman Pro: August 20, 2022, in Houston, TX (Tier 4)
The season begins to wind down as fall approaches. The only contest being held in September is the second annual Arnold Classic UK. Nathan De Asha was the first champion of that show, which qualifies him for the 2022 Olympia already.
- Arnold Classic UK: Sept. 24-25, 2022 in the Birmingham, United Kingdom (Tier 2)
Like September, there is only one show slated for October. The Legion Sports Fest received a lot of buzz in 2021 thanks to former 212 Olympia winner Shaun Clarida taking the Open victory. This could be a good opportunity for competitors preparing for the Olympia to gauge their progress eight weeks out from the big one.
- Legion Sports Fest: Oct. 7-9, 2022 in Stateline, NV (Tier 3)
November presents the last chance to dance when it comes to the 2022 Olympia. The month begins with the Europa Pro in Spain, followed by the Romania Muscle Fest the next weekend. At this point, the qualification period for the 2022 Olympia ends.
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However, the qualification for the 2023 contest begins with the Big Man’s Pro. This is a unique opportunity because the winner of this show could take up to a year away from competing to prepare for their chance at bodybuilding immortality.
- Europa Pro: November 6, 2022, in Spain. City to be Determined (Tier 2)
- Romania Muscle Fest: Nov. 12-13, 2022 in Bucharest, Romania (Tier 3)
- Big Man’s Pro: November 27, 2022, in Spain. City to be Determined (Tier 4)
The calendar year closes in a unique fashion with the Olympia weekend being held in December. It returns “home” to Las Vegas, but it was traditionally held in September. The 2020 contest was in Orlando, FL during December due to the pandemic. It returned to Florida in 2021, but it was held in October. Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay won both contests. Who will be on stage to challenge the champ at the end of the year? We won’t know until the schedule plays out.
- 2022 Olympia: Dec. 16-18, 2022 in Las Vegas, NV
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