Dubai Muscle Show returns bigger and better than ever

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  • Mr Olympia Brandon Curry will be at the Dubai Muscle Show

    The Middle East’s biggest fitness and bodybuilding exhibition is just a week away.

    Dubai Muscle Show returns on December 5 with its biggest line-up to date featuring a large number of attractions from a diverse range of health and fitness disciplines.

    Boasting huge celebrity appearances, top-class live shows, fitness sessions and hundreds of giveaways, this is a show that offers something for everyone.

    On top of the public expo on December 6 and 7, the weekend will kick off for the first time with the Fitness Business Summit, a one-day series of talks, seminars and Q&As specifically focusing on the ever-changing fitness landscape.

    With world-wide acclaim, it’s a show that has developed exponentially in its four years of existence.

    Starting off in 2016 with a predominant bodybuilding focus, the show now encompasses everything from strongman to MMA, yoga to pole, crossfit to bodybuilding, and a whole lot more.

    Back in 2016, organisers didn’t know just how popular the show would be. Taking place at the Dubai International Marine Club, it was deluged by visitors – which made logistics on the weekend tricky but showed the incredible desire and opportunity for such an event.

    Craig Hartley, marketing director at HBG Events, and one of the main organisers of the Muscle Show explains.

    “The beauty of that venue was it has the nice outdoors part and we thought it was just about the right size for the show,” he said. “We obviously didn’t expect the appeal to be so great and the numbers of people who came to the event. As a result the roads were blocked, people were queuing for hours to get into the event, some of the athletes arrived hours late and it caused all sorts of issues.

    “It was a big first event for us and we wanted to make a big impact. There had been a few similar event that hadn’t really worked out so it was big for us to get that initial success.

    “We had to move into somewhere bigger the following year and the obvious place was the World Trade Centre. That venue is set up for events and the kind of footfall we will get at the show.”

    Despite a couple of early teething problems, one thing that stood out was the ability to attract huge names. First on the list was eight-time Mr Olympia Ronnie Coleman. He headed an incredible line-up that included Jay Cutler, Sergi Constance, Lazar Angelov and a host more.

    This year sees that trend continue. Reigning Mr Olympia Brandon Curry will be attending with other past winners including Phil Heath, Dorian Yates and Coleman.

    However, those bodybuilding-heavy days are gone with a much more rounded show, as Hartley explains.

    “We always wanted to have much more of a fitness show and not just a bodybuilding show,” he says. “The strategy is always to enhance what we have, and then diversify to cater for the different markets to reflect how complicated and sophisticated the fitness industry is becoming. We want to make sure the event is inclusive for everyone.”

    This is no-better demonstrated in the huge expansion of the show in 2018 to include the Dubai Active Show. This year it returns again, with big names such as Kayla Itsines and Kelsey Wells, but also offers the fitness arena, functional and cycle studios where visitors can get hands on – and sweaty. 25,000 people are expected to attend, where they will also be able to get nutritional and training information and take part in back-to-back yoga classes.

    There is no shortage of high-level competition taking place at the event too. On top of the bodybuilding stage, you can also see the Middle East’s Strongest Man and Women crowned in an event organised by Emirates Strength. There will be combat sports inside a cage, the Emirates Weightlifting Championships will take place, and for the first time we will see the Dubai Women’s Fitness Show. The Crossfit Goldrush also returns, as does the Dubai Pole Cup, and in a landmark move  – a world champion will be crowned when the Battle of the Bars takes place.

    “For me, I go to the event every year and I come away determined to train as hard as I can for the next few months. I generally go into it having not exercised as much as I’d want to and I see everyone there, engage with the brands, see the competitions happening and feel like I have a whole new motivation to go to the gym and train. I think that is one of the key things for the event – to try and inspire people to exercise and be healthy but not just bodybuilders and strongmen but all types of people from fitness enthusiast to beginners,” said Hartley.

    The Dubai Muscle Show takes place at the World Trade Centre from December 5-7, with the Business Summit kicking things off on December 5, and the Muscle Show and Active Show on from 6-7.

    For more information see