The Top 10 Best Male BodyBuilders Of All Time
Whether you are a bodybuilding beginner or you have been lifting for years, it is a fact that one way or another you have looked up to professional body builders because they just have such a drive in resistance and weight training that give you more motivation to work harder. Furthermore, professional bodybuilders are an inspiration in achieving your fitness goals, especially that they have unprecedented combinations of leanness and muscular definition.
It is definitely a fact that genetics play a significant role in defining your physical appearance in general, however you certainly will not be able to get your International Federation of Bodybuilding without putting a great amount of effort and hard work.
With that, even if everyone has different opinions on who they think as the best bodybuilder of all time, there are certainly many of those male bodybuilders who have won countless titles and others who go unrecognized for near-perfect muscular form and definition. Hence, to give you more a background on who these people, read more about this article to know who we believe to be the top 10 bodybuilders of all time:
10. Frank Zane
During the Golden Era of bodybuilding in the 1970’s, Frank Zane rose to fame alongside guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu. Frank Zane is an American bodybuilder who initially started out as a mathematics and chemistry teacher. The reason that Zane is part of this list is because in the field of body building he essentially started the “Zanelike” term and aesthetics movement in bodybuilding. During his peak era, he put emphasis on beauty, proportions, and balance. Unlike today’s bodybuilders who tend to give more attention to imposing, massive physiques, Zane was greatly known for his balance, shape, and perfection. With that, he had a balanced body physique that seems to be carved similar to a Greek god, rather than just being the largest guy in the room. With that, he had wide shoulders, a small waist, and a large back that gave him a unique yet astonishing physique. Hence, the “Zanelike” physique or term came to life which basically means that your leanness is defined by a 190-frame inspired by Zane’s physique.
Because of his body physique despite weighing 60 pounds less, Frank Zane was able to beat Arnold Schwarzenegger to the 1968 IFBB Mr. Universe title. Moreover, thanks to his efforts he won three straight Mr. Olympia titles, from 1977 to 1979, being able to win at only 185 pounds with 18″ arms but an unprecedented 29″ waist. Surely, if there was ever a guy who had a V-Taper, it was Frank Zane. So while the bodybuilders of today are just so massive, Zane is a bodybuilder that you aspire to look like.
9. Phil Heath
Phil Heath made his pro debut in 2006, after discovering bodybuilding in 2002. Phil health is an American bodybuilder who secured seven straight Mr. Olympia wins from 2011 to 2017. His massive physique has surely paved the way for him to win these straight wins for consecutive 7 years. However, just recently, Shawn Rhoden dethroned him from the Mr. Olympia title.
He possesses large quads, a massive and defined back, and arms larger than most people’s legs. In addition to that, Heath has a near-perfect structure, featuring a tiny waist, huge deltoids, and chiseled abs. Combine those facts with his great conditioning, and it is no surprise as to why he is definitely one of the best. Because of his physique, he has gained the nickname ‘The Gift.’ Even if some people may disagree that he appears too narrow, many would still definitely agree that Heath’s physique is one of the best in the world of bodybuilding.
8. Ronnie Coleman
Ronnie Coleman surely belongs to this list because he has set a new standard of bodybuilding with a contest weight of around 300 pounds, which many of today’s bodybuilders try to achieve. Ronnie Coleman shocked the bodybuilding world after winning his first Mr. Olympia title in 1998 when 6X Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates retired. During this time, Coleman’s size and conditioning was at its peak to the point that it was unmatched. Because of that, he was able to steal the Olympia from Shawn Ray, Nasser El Sonbaty, and Kevin Levrone. Ronnie Coleman surely had everything in the starting stages of his career, including mass and detail. However, most bodybuilding would agree that nothing was more impressive than his back. Even today’s best bodybuilders such as Phil Heath cannot match the size of the muscle bellies and the symmetry that Coleman displayed in his back during his early years. But towards the end of his reign, Ronnie Coleman just misses out on the top spot because of the lack of definition his midsection. However, it is a fact that with his 26 titles throughout his career, including eight Mr. Olympias, Ronnie Coleman is definitely considered as one of the strongest and best bodybuilders of all time.
7. Lee Haney
Despite his competitive record and his ground-breaking combination of muscularity and mass, Haney rarely gets the recognition he deserves. Lee Haney was the first to bring both size and conditioning to the table of bodybuilding. He had groundbreaking muscularity and astonishing shape. With his amazing body physique, Haney is the only bodybuilder to ever win Mr. Olympia and never lose his title. During his prime years, Haney was bigger than all of his competitors almost tipping the scales at 250 pounds. Even though he was considered to be bigger than all of his competitors, he still walked on stage with an 8-pack and razor sharp cuts every time. After winning eight straight Mr. Olympia titles, he retired. Many bodybuilding enthusiasts have said that Haney bowed out of bodybuilding as he knew he was about to lose to Dorian Yates during the end of his career.
6. Dexter Jackson
Dexter Jackson has competed in 19 Mr. Olympia contests. After finishing in the top 4 for years on end, Dexter Jackson finally got his taste at history winning the Olympia in 2008. Moreover, he is well-known in the field of bodybuilding because of his deep set of abs. Because of his razor-sharp cuts and on-point conditioning, he gained the nickname “The Blade.” Dexter Jackson has won the Arnold Classic five times which is a record breaker because he is the only bodybuilder to do this. He also holds a record-breaking 28 IFBB professional bodybuilding titles.
5. Kevin Levrone
Kevin Levrone is considered by many as one, if not the most, underrated bodybuilders of all time, Kevin Levrone amazingly continued to impress fans with his unbelievable sculpted arms and delts, along with an absolutely chiseled midsection. With this, he gained the nickname as “The Maryland Muscle Machine.” Although he is definitely one of the best bodybuilders of all time, he was not able to gain the coveted Mr. Olympia title. He had always placed second four times at the Mr. Olympia contests. However, Levrone won over 23 pro show titles. During 2016 at the age of 51, he made his comeback at the Mr. Olympia contest, taking another shot for the title. However, he placed 16th in the competition, yet many fans and athletes still agreed that he was one of the true winners of the competition because at such an age he still showed the best physiques.
4. Dorian Yates
Dorian Yates appeared in the scene of bodybuilding after Lee Haney retired. The six-time Mr. Olympia is arguably one of the best bodybuilders of all time for many fans. Dorian Yates is an English Bodybuilder who has won the Mr. Olypmia title six consecutive times from 1992 to 1997. Dorian Yates stands at 5’10” with a 262 lbs competition weight. This definitely made him a force to be reckoned with in the world of bodybuilding. More than this, his achievements and amazing body conditioning and body physique, Yates’ work ethics had impacted and amazed many fans. He stated that he dedicates himself to working out every day for the whole year. His exercise routines involve intensive and brutal workout plans. With a machine-like focus to training and hard dedication to his craft, it paved the way for him to compete and win in such a time that there were also amazing bodybuilders such as Ronnie Coleman and Paul Dillet.
3. Shawn Ray
Gaining the nickname ‘Mr. Symmetry’, Shawn Ray definitely embodies proportion and balance. Even not being able to win even a single Mr. Olympia title, he still is considered one of the most inspirational physiques of bodybuilding. Other than his body symmetry that amazed a number of judges and fans, he also showed a ton of muscle mass that led him to consistently win 5th place in the times that he joined the Mr. Olympia competition. He was a rare breed in bodybuilding, especially that today most people only focus on mass gaining and not on body symmetry.
2. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Today, most people know Arnold Schwarzenegger as an actor and a politician. However, he is definitely very famous in the world of bodybuilding. However, it must be noted that in the early 1990s, most bodybuilders showed better condition and mass than Schwarzenegger displayed when competing. In today’s standards, Schwarzenegger would not be able to compete. However, during his prime years, he possessed a well-developed and symmetrical physique that was also definitely massive. He is also taller than most bodybuilders given his large 6’2″ frame. This made him even more imposing and striking compared to his competitors. With that, Schwarzenegger was the youngest Mr. Universe at just 20 years old. Moreover, he won a number of different titles over the years, including a further four Mr. Universe titles and seven Mr. Olympia titles. More importantly, Arnold defined the Golden Era of bodybuilding and really helped the sport grow in popularity. It is also good to highlight that Arnold is more than just a bodybuilder, his life story is full of inspiration and success as he sought out and conquered his goals. With that, even if there are guys bigger or more cut than Arnold, he is definitely still one of the greatest of all-times.
1. Flex Wheeler
Kenneth ‘Flex’ Wheeler is best known as the ‘Sultan of Symmetry.’ Throughout his career, he amazingly racked up an impressive 17 professional titles. He never won the Sandow, placing just behind the Olympia champs a total of three times. However, for many fans and athletes in bodybuilding, Flex is definitely the best bodybuilder of all time. He was once described by Arnold Schwarzenegger as one of the greatest bodybuilders he had ever seen. With this, he also won the Arnold Classic four times. Furthermore, Ronnie Coleman even acknowledged that Flex Wheeler was the best bodybuilder he competed against. In 1997, he achieved the most sought after ‘triple crown’ by winning the Ironman, the Arnold Classic, and the San Jose Classic.
Flex Wheeler was everything bodybuilding represented which is size and detail with very few weaknesses. Flex’s flawless competing physique was always composed of size, muscular definition, proportion, and symmetry. In addition to that, he had the best midsection in the game and a chiseled body to go along with it. With these, In a line-up of all the pro bodybuilders across the eras, he definitely has the best physique in the bodybuilding world.
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