All-Time Greatest Bodybuilders - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

All-Time Greatest Bodybuilders

Bodybuilding is one of the hardest sports, if not the hardest one. Bodybuilders dedicate their entire life to build their physique. It requires dedication and sheer will to be a bodybuilder and it is not a cup of cake for everyone.

Bodybuilding has been around for a long time and was practiced in ancient Egypt and Greece by strongmen who displayed to the public various feats of strength. It was not until the 19th century, when Eugen Sandow, a German bodybuilder developed it into a display of physique and postures. He is considered as the “Father of Modern Bodybuilding” and organized the first bodybuilding contest way back in 1901. Since then bodybuilding contests were organized throughout the world, and these contests have given us many famous bodybuilders. We have compiled together a list of top bodybuilders of all time that have graced the stages with their incredible physique and techniques.

1. Kenneth ‘Flex’ Wheeler

Kenneth ‘Flex’ Wheeler is a 54-year-old American bodybuilder who has won the Arnold Classic Bodybuilding championship for a record four times. He is also known as the ‘Sultan of Symmetry’. He was a police officer by profession but quit his job to focus on professional bodybuilding. Although he hasn’t won Mr. Olympia but is still considered as one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. He had a very successful bodybuilding career and won around 17 professional titles throughout his career.

He retired from bodybuilding to follow his passion for martial arts.

 2. Ronnie Coleman

Ronnie Coleman is a retired American professional bodybuilder. He is a revered name in the bodybuilding world and because of his superhuman physique people also used to refer to him as the ‘Hulk’. Some people also call him GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) He is the only bodybuilder along with Lee Haney to have won Mr. Olympia a record eight times. He also won many other tournaments and titles such as the World Pro Championship, Grand Prix England & Arnold Classic.

Coleman has been inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame and is generally regarded as the greatest bodybuilder of all time.

His hard work and dedication which was reflected in his intense grueling training sessions which involved heavy-lifting took a toll on his body. After retirement, he had to go through various operations and surgeries in order to recover and repair his body.

3. Phil Heath

Phil Heath, A.K.A ‘The Gift’ is another American professional bodybuilder who has won Mr. Olympia six times. He is also sometimes referred to as ‘The Next Best Thing’. Heath was born in Seattle, Washington in 1979 and majored in business administration from the University of Denver on an athletic scholarship, while playing for varsity’s basketball team.

Phil has also won various other tournaments like Arnold Classic Europe, Sheru Classic, and IFBB Iron Man.

He has used his success as a means of inspiration for others and has been involved in charitable work to help the needy.

4. Jay Cutler

Jason Issac Cutler, also known as just ‘Jay’ is a four-time Mr. Olympia. He started working at the age of 11 as a construction worker and began training in the gym when he was 18. When he was 19 years old, he won the heavyweight class at the NPC Teen Nationals. By the time he was 20, he had already started winning professional bodybuilding competitions like Gold’s gym bodybuilding championships and the Arnold Classics. He became the third Mr. Olympia winner to have won the title in non-consecutive years by dethroning the reigning champions.

He retired from professional bodybuilding in 2013 and has been focusing on his bodybuilding nutritional supplements business venture – Cutler Nutrition since then.

5. Dexter Jackson

Dexter Jackson is 2008’s Mr. Olympia bodybuilding champion. Born and brought up in Jacksonville, Florida, Dexter AKA The Blade has been credited with winning more professional bodybuilding titles than any other person, including 9 Arnold Classic titles. Known for his impressive conditioning, Dexter dominated the bodybuilding universe for 3 decades. He is the only bodybuilder to have won the overall title in both – Mr. Olympia & Masters Olympia competitions. He is also the 2nd oldest bodybuilder to have won the open IFBB pro tournament at the age of 46.

He is a role model to anyone who wishes to achieve a goal but thinks that the age restricts them.

6, Lee Haney

Lee Haney is the only bodybuilder along with Ronnie Coleman who has won Mr. Olympia titles eight times. With a height of 180 cm and a weight of 250 pounds, Lee was a force to reckon with. He was bigger than any of his other competitors! Still, it was shocking to see that such a giant figure can have a well defined chiseled body and eight-pack abs. This may be the reason that he was also called ‘Total-Lee Awesome’.

In 1998, the then President of the United States – Bill Clinton appointed Haney as the chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

7. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is considered as the greatest bodybuilder of all time. He is the most recognizable and famous bodybuilder that has ever walked this earth. Referred has been referred with various aliases like ‘the Austrian Oak’, ‘The Terminator’, or ‘The Governator’. Many of his fans also fondly call him ‘Arnie’.

He was born in Austria in 1947 but always dreamt of moving to the United States. His dream was fulfilled in 1968 at the age of 21.

He has won seven Mr. Olympia tournaments and numerous other bodybuilding tournaments.

In memory of his legacy, Arnold Sports Festival is held on a yearly basis which consists of professional bodybuilding, strongman, figure, fitness and bikini expo.

After retiring from bodybuilding Arnold also had a very successful movie career and is considered as one of the greatest action heroes of Hollywood. He is known for his iconic roles in movies like Eraser, Total Recall, and the Terminator series.  He also has an active political career and was the Governor of California in 2003.


Feature Photo by Anastase Maragos on Unsplash

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