Who is the best bodybuilder of all time? A list of the top 10 and their achievements

Who is the best bodybuilder of all time? A list of the top 10 and their achievements

The main large-scale bodybuilding competition was held in London in 1901. The first renowned professional bodybuilder was Eugene Sandow. He started as a professional strongman in Europe and inspired modern bodybuilding. Bodybuilding has been evolving through the 1900s and became popular in the 50s and 60s thanks to gymnastic champions and fitness magazines. The best bodybuilder of all time commenced his career in the 1980s and 1990s.

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Best bodybuilder of all time
Body Builders Jay Cutler (L) and Ronnie Coleman (R) attend the Mira! Annual Party at Light NYC on June 9, 2004, in New York City. Photo: Thos Robinson
Source: Getty Images

Bodybuilding requires one to be disciplined and dedicated. Renowned bodybuilding legends achieve their desired physique through thorough strength training sessions, intense exercises involving barbells and dumbbells and having a healthy diet. If disciplined, you can achieve that bodybuilder look in three to six months, depending on your body and how rigorous your sessions at the gym are.

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Who is the best bodybuilder of all time?

The most muscular man in the world does training at least four times a week, with a break of one or two days of rest between sessions. Here are the top 10 bodybuilders in the world and their achievements.

1. Ronnie Coleman

Best bodybuilder of all time
Ronnie Coleman and CEO of American Media, David, attend the Star-Studded 5th Anniversary Of Mira Magazine at Temple in New York City. Photo: Thos Robinson
Source: Getty Images

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Ronnie Coleman won Mr Olympia for eight consecutive years. Nicknamed The Goat and The King, Coleman has perhaps the most dominant bodybuilding frame ever. He has the best Mr Olympia physique ever.

His engaging in extremely heavy workouts makes him the most muscular bodybuilder and Mr Olympia. Ronnie Coleman started bodybuilding in 1990 and retired in 2009. Apart from winning Mr Olympia, he is also a winner of 26 International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) professional titles.

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2. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Best bodybuilder of all time
Austrian Bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger in a scene from the Trimark Pictures movie 'Hercules In New York in 1969 in New York City, New York. Photo: Michael Ochs
Source: Getty Images

Ask who is the most outstanding male bodybuilder, and the answer will most likely be Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has had one of the craziest career switches and is still full of life. The former governor of California was in the entertainment industry before becoming a politician.

Schwarzenegger is known for his acting roles, being a producer, and being a bodybuilder. The 75-year-old started lifting weights when he was only 15 years old. He was nicknamed The Austrian Oak and won Mr Olympia seven times. Arnold Schwarzenegger retired from active bodybuilding in 1980

3. Dorian Yates

The English former bodybuilder is one of the most notable figures in bodybuilding. Also known as The Shadow, Dorian Yates began bodybuilding in 1984. He won the Mr Olympia title six consecutive times (1992-1997). The sixty-year-old holds the record for the bodybuilder with the fifth highest number of Mr Olympia. Dorian Yates retired in 1997.

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4. Francesco Maria Columbu

Francesco Maria Columbu is one of the greatest in the bodybuilding community. The Italian entertainer was also an actor, powerlifter, producer, chiropractor, and author. He was initially a boxer before he got into bodybuilding.

He won the Mr Olympia titles twice in 1976 and 1981, and is considered one of the world's best bodybuilder men. Although he retired in 1981 and was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame in 2001, Franco passed on in 2019.

5. Phil Heath

Best bodybuilder of all time
Mr Olympia Phil Heath poses during a media call ahead of the 2012 IFBB Australian Pro Grand Prix XIII on March 16, 2012, in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Robert Cianflone
Source: Getty Images

Talk of famous bodybuilders, and we have 42-year-old Philip Jerrod Heath, who joined the bodybuilding community in 2002. Nicknamed The Gift and The Next Big Thing, Phil Heath has one of the best and most well-balanced bodybuilding frames among current active bodybuilders.

The six times Mr Olympia winner (2011-2017) holds the position for the second number of all-time Mr Olympia wins, a tie he shares with the legend Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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6. Kevin Levrone

The international federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness Hall of Famer started his career in the early 90s. Kevin Levrone was inspired into bodybuilding by his cousin, who was in the military. The 64-year-old has had notable achievements in his career, which include the IFB Arnold Classic.

Kevin Levrone has been in 13 Mr Olympia competitions but has never taken first place. This has led to him being labelled The Uncrowned King of Mr Olympia. Levrone made a comeback in bodybuilding in 2016 after retiring in 2003. Apart from his love for bodybuilding, the icon keeps himself busy by playing other sports like tennis, golf, and vlogging.

7. Frank Zane

Best bodybuilder of all time
Professional bodybuilder Frank Zane photographed in 1981. Photo: Jack Mitchel
Source: Getty Images

Frank Zane made a name for himself during the 1970s. He is considered a great not just because of his distinct physique but also because of being a pioneer in the 'aesthetics movement. The aesthetic training in bodybuilding focuses on beauty and creating appealing proportions.

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It involves merging muscle shape, symmetry, size, and conditioning. Zane's broad shoulders, tiny waist, and other features made him different from other bodybuilders. Frank Zane was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame in 1999.

8. Bob Paris

Bob Paris cannot miss the list of top 10 bodybuilders worldwide. He came into the bodybuilding scene in the 80s. Despite being considered one of the icons in bodybuilding, Paris once confessed that he did not want to become a lifestyle bodybuilder; instead, he merely enjoyed the discipline and focus bodybuilding brought him.

In 1989, Bob Paris came out as gay, which affected his career as he lost endorsements, promotions, and support from most stakeholders in bodybuilding. Bob Paris retired from bodybuilding in 1991 and is now an author, activist, and public speaker.

9. Jay Cutler

Best bodybuilder of all time
Mr Olympia winner/ IFBB professional bodybuilder Jay Cutler visits SiriusXM Studios on June 19, 2014, in New York City. Photo: Cindy Ord
Source: Getty Images

Jay Cutler has won the Mr Olympia title four times (2006, 2007, 2009. 2010). Cutler started focusing on his body physique in his late teens and joined pro bodybuilding in the early 90s. The 49-year-old is hailed for his quadriceps and the quad–stomp pose.

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Jay got interested in bodybuilding after being inspired by his trainer Marcos Rodriguez. He had a successful career, earning him featured on top fitness magazine covers. After retiring in 2013, Cutler focused on his bodybuilding supplement businesses and other ventures.

10. Lee Haney

Dubbed the biggest Bodybuilder of all time, Lee Haney got his first. Olympia won in 1984, just a few years after going pro. Lee Haney was one of the biggest bodybuilders in size, given that those before him were tiny and only focused on being lean.

He was also fairly tall and also had a huge mass. The 62-year-old has a total of eight Mr Olympia titles. He shares the top spot with Ronnie Coleman. He retired in 1991

Many bodybuilders retire to venture into other interests after years of fulfilling careers. However, the best bodybuilder of all time doesn't lose touch with the sport as he does less intense training away from professional stages.

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