12 of the greatest male bodybuilders of all time

Bodybuilding is a unique sport. The “skills” of the contestants are displayed by the physique they bring to the stage. Several factors help determine the winner of a bodybuilding contest – definition, symmetry, proportions, posing ability and, yes, size. If everything is equal between two competitors, then the bigger bodybuilder wins (almost always).

The list of 12 Bodybuilders Below Knew Size Was Their Greatest Strength, And They Brought A Lot Of It. Some may have been more successful than others, but their presence on the biggest bodybuilding stages will forever be in the spirit of the sport.

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Lou Ferrigno

The film pump iron was technically a docudrama; some aspects of the 1977 film were exaggerated. One fact was true – when Lou Ferrigno competed in the 1975 Mr. Olympia, he was the greatest elite bodybuilder in the world at that time.

At 6-foot-5, Ferrigno competed at 275 pounds, which was then unheard of. Despite a weight advantage of over 40 pounds, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s muscular maturity, form and conditioning earned him his sixth Mr. Olympia in South Africa.

Fast forward to the 1990s. Ferrigno returned to the sport in hopes of winning the Olympia. He finished 12th in 1992 and 10th in 1993, but this last appearance was significant. He told the late bodybuilding journalist Peter McGough of FLEX Magazine that he was north of 290 pounds the day before the contest. The number may never have been verified, but its size was memorable for the fans in attendance and the contestants standing alongside it.

Kai Green

When Kai Greene rose to prominence in the late 2000s, many fans compared his back development to eight-time Mr. Olympia champion Ronnie Coleman. It had the overall size to match as well. At 5’8″, Greene reportedly weighs as much as 300 pounds off-season. He maintained that height through 2019, according to RxMuscle.

At Olympia’s 2014 press conference, Greene referenced a 40-pound weight advantage over then-champion Phil Heath. Bob Cicherillo, the Olympia MC, estimated Greene weighed around 285 pounds. Greene finished second to Heath in 2014, his last Olympia appearance.

Greene has translated his size, development and bodybuilding popularity into big-screen success and starred in projects like Netflix. stranger things and the movie Pogaru.

Dallas McCarver

When the late Dallas McCarver took the stage at the 2012 North American Championships, he captured the eyes and hearts of many fans. He won the competition to earn his IFBB Pro card and was immediately seen as the next big star in bodybuilding due to his size and strength.

In 2016, the six-foot-tall Chicago Pro winner stepped on the scale at 329.8 pounds wearing clothes and shoes. “Big Country” McCarver has created expectations for more Arnold Classic and Olympia wins in the future. Sadly, a year later, McCarver died at age 26.

Greg Kovacs

Canadian Greg Kovacs burst onto the scene in the mid-1990s and became an instant sensation. He was featured prominently in magazines for his immense size. At 6’4″, Kovacs weighed up to 420 pounds in the offseason and competed north of 300 pounds on several occasions. There is no footage of Kovacs stepping on a scale, but he measured his arms in front the camera – a legitimate 25-inch and more bent, as you can see in this video below from The strength and power of Nick:

While Kovacs was an attraction for his height, this never translated to success on stage. His best finish was 13th at the 2004 Arnold Classic. He died aged 44 in 2013 from heart failure.

Paul Dillet

Competitors chasing Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates six times in the 1990s thought they had to match Yates’ height. Very few were able to do this until the arrival of Paul Dillett. At 6’1″, Dillett was best known for his unique vascularity and immense height. He got as heavy as 310 pounds during the offseason. The heaviest he would have competed on stage weighed in at 285 pounds.

His iconic victory was on the Night of Champions in 1999. His highest Olympia finish was fourth in 1993 and 1994. He retired in 2006 and founded the World Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation as a promoter.

Gunter Schlierkamp

Schlierkamp came from Germany to the United States. He was the world amateur bodybuilding champion in 1993 and had the potential to make a significant impact at the professional level. However, it took nearly a decade after turning pro for him to find success.

After receiving a special invitation to the 2002 Olympia, Schlierkamp finished fifth, showing he had the size to hang on to Coleman. Fast forward less than a month later, and Schlierkamp showed up at the 2002 GNC showdown, weighing nearly 290 pounds. The judges were impressed with his forward poses and rewarded him with a higher rank than the reigning Mr. Olympia in that contest, making him one of the top contenders for the 2003 Olympia.

At 6’1″, Schlierkamp is said to have competed north of 300 pounds on more than one occasion. He placed fourth at the 2005 Olympia, won by Coleman. He never came close to the title again and took his retirement in 2006. Since his retirement, Schlierkamp has appeared in numerous films, including the 2006 film Oktoberfest.

Markus Rühl

No bodybuilder is as well known for a signature pose as Markus Ruhl was for his most muscular version of the crab. Ruhl was considered by many to be the most bizarre bodybuilder of the 2000s due to his tremendous development of traps, shoulders and arms. His upper body generally stood out in any formation he was in.

According to Ruhl, he weighed 280 pounds at Olympia 2000 and would stay in that range for most of his career. He got as heavy as 320 pounds in the offseason. He retired in 2010 after two professional wins, the most significant being the 2002 Night of Champions.

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Ronnie Coleman

No article on the greatest bodybuilders can exist without the mention of the eight-time Mr. Olympia, Ronnie Coleman. Coleman wasn’t initially considered a monster of mass until he placed second to Schlierkamp at the 2002 GNC Show of Strength. Coleman went to work that offseason and showed up at the Olympia 2003 weighing 287 pounds at pre-judging, according to his trainer, Chad Nicholls, and reported by FLEX review. Coleman dominated the contest.

A year later, Coleman returns to the Olympia even bigger. When his music started for his pose routine, the voice of Olympia promoter David Pecker can be heard announcing the champion as 5’11” and 295 pounds. Once again, Coleman won with a perfect score.

Coleman retired in 2007 with eight Olympic titles and is still considered by many to be the strongest bodybuilder of all time.

Rich Piano

Rich Piana has never participated in a professional show. Still, he racked up a massive social media following thanks to his size, his eating habits (which included a pint of ice cream every night) and his intense training methods, including an arm-eight workout. hours we are going.

Piana didn’t hold anything back when talking about how he developed his physique, which weighed in at around 315 pounds at most. When he dieted for photo shoots, he reached a weight of 290 pounds.

In 2017, Piana collapsed and went into a medically induced coma; he died about two weeks later at age 46.

Jamie “the Giant” Christian

In a sport dominated by men under six feet tall, Christian, aka “The Giant”, is 6’5″ and still actively competing as this article was written.

In July 2022, Christian, who calls himself the tallest athlete in the IFBB Pro League Men’s Open, said he weighed 315 pounds as he prepared for the 2022 Yamamoto Cup Pro in Italy. His trainer and fellow IFBB Pro bodybuilder Miloš Šarčev thinks Christian has more potential for growth.

Olivier Richter

You can say you’ve won the height game when it’s recognized by Guinness book of world records (GBWR). The organization recognized Olivier Richters as the world’s tallest actor and bodybuilder. At 7’2″, the “Dutch Giant” has plenty of muscle on his frame, weighing in at 342 pounds when measured for GBWR honor.

Richters is more active in the movie business than in bodybuilding, appearing in blockbuster movies like Marvel’s Black Widow and The king’s man. He doesn’t consider himself a contender, but it’s hard to omit him from a list of notable mass freaks as he holds the Guinness World Record.

Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay

Last but not least is the reigning two-time Mr. Olympia, Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay. Big Ramy made a big first impression on his pro debut at the 2013 New York Pro. Some competitors avoided standing next to him because they didn’t want to look upstaged by the huge man from Egypt.

Elssbiay is reportedly 5’10” and weighed as much as 341 pounds during the offseason. He competed on the sport’s biggest stage, weighing over 300 pounds. He weighed 316 pounds at the 2015 Olympia, but the extra height did not help his cause.Heath would win his fifth of seven Olympic titles while Elssbiay finished fifth.

Elssbiay has focused more on conditioning in recent years, but still packs a lot of muscle. The ripped 290-pound version of Big Ramy was impressive enough to win his first Olympia in 2020. He defended his title a year later with an additional five pounds on his frame. Time will tell if he tries again to compete at 300 pounds or more, but remains one of the most successful big men in the history of the sport.

Featured Image: @theofficiallouferrigno, @ronniecoleman8 on Instagram

Teresa E. Burton