There is a big difference between these guys and a regular gym-goer. Everyone can build a fair amount of muscle if they put their heart into it. However, competitive bodybuilders have spent a lot of time training to be more than the average guy.
From early on, they have decided to hone their body and physique to be their tool and have adopted a strict regimen to develop their muscles. Some say that these men are genetic freaks because they have the superhuman capacity to pack on muscles and let them grow bigger.
We have come up with a list of fifteen of the biggest bodybuilders of all time. The men on our list came from all over the world and varied backgrounds. They have won awards, starred in movies, and endorsed countless bodybuilding products.
Some of them started young, while others were late bloomers who discovered their desire to be bodybuilders past their teenage years. No matter when and where they began their careers, these bodybuilders have made a huge (literally!) impact in the fitness world.
Here are the biggest builders of all time.
1. Ronnie Coleman
Ronnie Dean Coleman is an American bodybuilder who is regarded as one of the best bodybuilders in the world. He has won the Mr. Olympia title eight years in a row and held the record of most wins as an IFBB professional, holding 26 titles during his time.
There is nothing quite like Ronnie Coleman. It is a fact that bodybuilders tend to grow bigger and bigger. Coleman, however, blasted all the previous records and set a new standard with a contest weight of 300 pounds. This is something unprecedented and not many can achieve.
As a football player in college, he started working out to excel in the field. Coleman studied at Grambling State University to be an accountant. After college, he moved to Texas to find a job.
Finding it hard to find a job, he responded to an advertisement and joined the police force. It was there where his fellow officers convinced him to work out.
The gym in their neighborhood where he went was frequented by competitive bodybuilders and powerlifters. From then on, the rest is history.
He won his first competition in 1990 and there is no stopping from there in dominating the bodybuilding world. He earned his IFBB Pro Card and held countless records as well.
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2. Lee Haney
Mr. Olympia is the most coveted title for competitive bodybuilders and Haney won this eight times. This is a record that surpasses even Arnold Schwarzenegger’s seven-title streak.
He will not be remembered as the most conditioned Mr. Olympia or the hardest training. Instead, he was known as the most gifted.
His physique continued to improve throughout his reign. There are years when he was fuller (1985) and the next year sharper (1986) or in some years he was a combination of the two. In his final win, he weighed 252 pounds.
He is known for his classic X-frame. It showed a beautiful shape and overwhelming size, which is a throwback to the classical bodybuilding ideal that is missing nowadays.
3. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Even if you are not into bodybuilding, you probably know who Arnold Schwarzenegger is. He is an Austrian-born bodybuilder who has made a name for himself in the bodybuilding world. Schwarzenegger was phenomenal.
To date, he is the youngest bodybuilder to win the Mr. Universe title at 20.
His continued rise in the fitness world earned him countless titles over the years, including four Mr. Universe and seven Mr. Olympia titles.
After his stint in competitive bodybuilding, Schwarzenneger pursued a career in show business after emigrating to the US in 1968. He went on to star in several movies like Hercules, Stay hungry (where he won a Golden Globe), and Conan the Barbarian.
However, it is the movie franchise, Terminator, that made him a global superstar.
4. Dorian Yates
Dorian Yates is an English professional bodybuilder and is widely considered one of the top pro bodybuilders in history.
He won the Mr. Olympia title six times, having set the record of the first to win the title at 250 pounds.
During this win, he presented an absolute shredded physique with an outstanding high muscle density and extremely low body fat.
Yates is also known for revolutionizing bodybuilding by setting new standards in conditioning and body mass.
Having dominated the sport when there is scant information on supplementation, nutrition, and training is truly outstanding.
Today, he is admired by bodybuilders and follows his method in training and nutrition.
5. Lou Ferrigno
The list of the biggest bodybuilders of all time will not be complete without this guy. He is known as the Incredible Hulk, a title that endeared him to bodybuilding and television fans alike. This is because he is also an actor and starred in the show of the same title.
Lou Ferrigno was shy as a child due to his hearing loss as a result of an ear infection. This infliction and his speech impediment caused him to be bullied by his peers. This experience inspired him to be strong to defend himself.
He started weight training at the age of 13 and won his first major title as IFBB Mr. America in 1969. Ferrigno became the youngest man to win the IFBB Mr. universe competition two times. He is the tallest to ever have done so and the only bodybuilder to get a title for two consecutive years.
He was also the youngest to enter the prestigious Mr. Universe contest at 23. After appearing in several bodybuilding competitions, he eventually joined Hollywood and went on to become the Incredible Hulk, his childhood dream.
6. Paul Dillett
He is a competitive bodybuilder from Canada who has one of the freakiest physiques in the Olympia stage. This appearance earned him the title of Frankenstein and Jurrasic Paul. Pillet was a member of the Canadian football League before bodybuilding.
He made his professional debut at the Arnold Classic in 1993 and won the title in the Night of Champions in 1999. Throughout his twenty years career, Dillet has won a total of four Arnold Classics, three Iron Man Pros, and three Night of Champions. His highest placing in the Olympia was fourth in 1994.
As a competitive bodybuilder, Dillet weighed 320 pounds during the off-season and would cut down to 280 pounds during competition. His best contest weight was 265 pounds.
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7. Jay Cutler
Jay Cutler is a four-time Mr. Olympia winner, winning the title in 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2010. He started weight training at the age of 18. In one of the interviews, Jay mentioned that he was inspired to enter bodybuilding by his personal trainer Marcos Rodriguez.
The first bodybuilding contest he joined was the 1992 Gold’s Gym Worcester Bodybuilding Championships. He did not win the title but placed second. This opened the doors for him in the bodybuilding scene.
In the succeeding years, he won the Arnold Classics title in 2002, 2003, and 2004. He placed second in Mr. Olympia four times before claiming the title in 2006.
He retired in 2013 and concentrated on his bodybuilding supplement business.
8. Big Ramy
Big Ramy is the second biggest bodybuilder of all time with a competition weight of 316 pounds. His full name is Mandioud Elssbiay and he is an Egyptian professional bodybuilder and a member of IFBB. He is the 2020 and 2021 Mr. Olympia champion.
This professional bodybuilder was a fisherman in Kuwait before he started to train professionally.
He earned his pro card by winning an overall title at the 2012 Amateur Olympia in Kuwait City, merely three years after he started his training. He made his professional debut at the New York Pro in 2013 and won the contest.
Big Ramy earned his nickname by competing at 300 pounds!
9. Roelly Winklaar
One of the greatest bodybuilders of the modern times, Roelly Winklaar is a Curacaoan / Dutch IFBB professional bodybuilder. His rare combination of massive size and excellent conditioning is what earned him a spot on this prestigious list.
Roelly was born in Curacao before moving to the Netherlands when he was five. Although he enjoyed bodybuilding, he only paid serious attention to it after a near-fatal crash.
It was then that he set his eyes on becoming a professional bodybuilder. He earned his pro card in 2009 and made a debut at the 2010 Arnold Classic. After winning the IFBB New York pro in 2010, he became a new bodybuilding star.
He competed in various contests, ranking among the top ten. Winklaar bulks up to a whopping 320 pounds during the off-season and cuts down to a contest weight of 265 pounds. He is well-known for his impressive physique and gigantic arms.
10. Dennis James
Dennis James is a German-American bodybuilder. He began his bodybuilding journey at the age of 18 and won his first competition in 1985, the South German Championship. From then on he continued to join various contests and won the International German Grand Prix in 1986 and New York Championship All Junior category.
Since he was not a German national, he was barred from joining the German Nationals. He only returned in 1990 after he left Germany.
Throughout his career, he joined a total of seven Mr. Olympias. His highest ranking was 4th in 2003. He retired from competitive bodybuilding in 2012 but continued to train and mentor other bodybuilders.
During the off-season, James weighed around 300 pounds and cut it to a contest weight of 260 pounds.
11. Rich Piana
Piana was an American professional bodybuilder. His titles include the National Physique Committee (NPC) Mr. Teen California in 1989. Mr. California in 1998, and National Physique competitions in 2003 and 2009.
Other than his impressive bodybuilding career, Piana is known for his bodybuilding achievements, open talks about the use of steroids and consequences, and his over-the-top personality. He was also a YouTube vlogger and owner of a 5% nutrition brand until he died in 2017.
12. Dennis Wolf
Wolf was born in the former USSR but emigrated to Germany with his family at the age of 14. Like many of our bodybuilders on the list, he started working out at a very young age. He was 15, but his interest in the sport increased when his father brought him a bodybuilder magazine.
He started getting in shape and competing at 21 and turned pro in 2005. He made his professional debut at IFBB in 2006.
Wolf or Big Bad Wolf won the Arnold Classic in 2014 and earned the fourth spot at Mr. Olympia in 2015. He is known for his small waist, outer quad sweep, and having one of the biggest bodies in professional bodybuilding.
13. Jean-Pierre Fux
Jean-Pierre Fux is a former Swiss IFBB pro and exploded in the international bodybuilding scene in 1996. He was famous for his cartoon-like physique but with a good soul.
He won several competitions between 1994 to 200. His off-season weight was at 300 pounds and cut down to 260 pounds during the competition. He was competing until 2001 until his career was cut short by a freak accident.
14. Gunter Schlierkamp
Gunter is a retired German IFBB professional bodybuilder. He is one of the bodybuilders who refuses to give up, with the body and mind of a champion.
Known in the bodybuilding world as the Gentle Giant, his ferocious exercises have led him to the list of these elite men. His most legendary feat was defeating Ronnie Coleman at the GNC Show of Strength in 2002. His competition weight is 297 pounds.
15. Greg Kovacs
Greg is a Canadian IFBB professional bodybuilder who competed in bodybuilding from 1996 until his retirement in 2005.
He may not have a stellar record in the sport, but he is regarded as one of the biggest professional bodybuilders ever to grace the competition. His highest professional ranking was placing 13th overall at the 2004 Arnold Classic.
During the off-season, Kovacs weighs about 420 pounds, which is about the weight of two average men combined. Suffice it to say, he is the biggest of all time.
There you have it, Top 15 of the biggest bodybuilders in the world as of 2021. The list is not easy to reach, and kudos to these guys for their achievement in bodybuilding.