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Lothar Kienle

GMV--102: Lothar Kienle

54 minutes in length

Produced jointly by GMV Productions and SHV Sport & Video
Executive Producer: Wayne R. Gallasch
Associate Producer: Tina Bartusek (now Gallasch)
Cameras: Wayne R. Gallasch and Andreas Promny
Editors: Chris Nicholls and Gary Hopper
Filmed in 1991 in Köln (Cologne), Germany
Specific location filmed: Brinkmeier's Gym


Gallasch's documentary profile of Lothar Kienle, a fine IFBB amateur European champion of the 1980s, raises the issue of what separates a top amateur bodybuilder from a professional one.  In every respect Kienle is a world-class athlete and physique artist.  Really, little stands between the top amateur and the pro except for which contest he's qualified to compete in.  It's an important distinction, since pros get much more media attention and financial support from the immense fitness and supplement industry built up around them.  Kienle never went pro and no longer competes, but remains in the industry as owner of the KJC Club in Ulm, Germany.  Fortunately this video was made when Kienle was in peak shape.  His stats at that point were as follows: age 31, 224 pounds at 6', with a scruffy mustache and curly, unstyled hair.

Gallasch filmed this video during the same sessions for Peter Andreas (see GMV-094), and it has a similar pacing and development -- although not identical.  If you've seen the Andreas tape, you will recognize the gym, as well as the assistant who oils the BB champ.  The first 19 minutes of the tape alternate oiling and posing, with Kienle (wearing blue gym trunks and workout shoes) on Universal bench and shoulder press stations, or posing into the camera or the mirror.  Kienle gets various body parts oiled as he poses them.  He does a side chest pose sitting on the bench, and various arm, back and ab poses, one on top of another.  His pecs are impressive, with a broad sweep along their lower lines.  His forearms are huge, almost as big as his upper arms are.  He is solid everywhere.

Kienle isn't quite in competition shape here.  Since he's not dieted down, his abs must be flexed to show well.  He isn't shaved under his arms (on stage he would be), and without shoes his feet aren't tanned.  Some fans prefer BBs off-season, without the gaunt look that comes from miniscule bodyfat; others prefer a peak competition shape, where the muscles are etched through a skin thinner than varnish.  We'll see that look at the end of this tape.

Though pop music is added to the soundtrack, we hear the live sounds of the gym throughout the tape.  German words are audible most of the time, as is the music played in the gym under the added soundtrack.  An overvoice narrator explains that Kienle did an interview in German that the narrator conveys the gist of in English.  We learn Kienle doesn't count calories off-season, and believes no one wins a top show on the basis of steroid use.  The information about how he trains is sifted in as we get to the workout matching it.

Early on, Kienle spends time doing side chests, back lat spreads, and double-bi and single bi shots (both front and back).  He enjoys flexing his arms as he gets oiled up, staring into the mirror, back at his arms, then at the camera in rapid succession.  We see him in the mirror so often, at times it's like twin Kienles posing.  Andreas can be seen in the background, hanging around while this tape is being made.  Kienle appears to be competing with Andreas's video, and looks more hungry to project himself than Andreas did.  Taller than Andreas, Kienle isn't as beefy, with more aesthetic lines from shoulder to waist.  The assistant oiling each body part taps it when he's ready to move to another spot.  A lot of time is spent displaying the legs -- from the front, back and side, at a distance and close up. The editing is often expressive, conveying the poetics of bodybuilding at its best.

At 20 minutes in, Kienle shifts to workout stations in order to highlight specific body parts.  First he does sitting lat pulldowns behind the neck; posing his torso after that, he's shot through the bars and cables of the lat machine.  Kienle gets in as many side chests as he can, but his arm posing is extensive.  As he lifts one arm in a single-bi shot, he tenses the other one for impact.  He's a master of expression, a crucial aspect of conveying a pose.  After more torso shots, Kienle does some standing concentration curls, leaning over and propping each arm against air alone.  He's got a heavy sweat going by this point, following the curls with a tricep pushdown set shown from the back to expose the "horseshoe" curve of the tri's.  When he drops the grip to pose, the handle carabinered to the cable casts a shadow onto his chest.

At 35 minutes in, Kienle shifts to leg training, wearing a black T-shirt and yellow posing suit to show off as much of his legs as possible.  First leg presses, then leg extensions -- all doubled in a mirror behind him.  He stands to pose his quads and hams in the best sequence on the tape, capturing everything he has to offer.  The camerawork is brilliant, shooting at waist level behind him so we see his hamstrings close up, his quads reflected in the mirror at the same time.

Next we get four minutes of dual posing with Andreas, as he and Kienle hit shots in tandem against a mirrored wall.  Each guy shifts based on what the other is doing, trading off pose for pose.  One lunges down on bent legs while the other stands, then both lunge, one showing his back as the other hits a front double-bi.  This is not the "give me first place" posing on a competition stage, but a spontaneous reaction to another first-class 'builder, more cooperative and synergistic than a stage posedown is.  It's beautiful to watch.

Solo again, Kienle offers his best full routine to us, posing into the mirror like it's the audience at a show.  He's in his element here, loving every minute of it.  The pride in knowing you do something superlatively well is clear in this man's steady gaze.

At the end of the tape two minutes of stage footage from a German competition, with Kienle dialed in, finally reveal his abs in knockout form.  No one else in the heavyweight class had a chance to win that night.  Under the closing credits we get the lineup for this show, revealing that among the best, Kienle sets his own standard as a BB.

May 2001                                    


(Video stills used by permission of copyright holder, Wayne Gallasch, with all rights reserved.  They may not be reposted without his permission.)