Today we’re going to take a break from talking about nutrition and supplements to go back in time and look at the top 10 bodybuilders of all time. This will be written in two parts – featuring 5 bodybuilders each. I’m not going to try to rank these guys because it’s really a matter of opinion. I think you’ll enjoy this trip down memory lane.
Top Bodybuilders of all time – 1st 5
Everyone knows who Arnold Schwarzenegger is because of his success in bodybuilding, acting and politics. He was born in Graz, Austria on July 30, 1947. He stands at 6 feet 2 inches. At his peak, he had 22 inch arms, a 57 inch chest, a 34 inch waist, 28.5 inch thighs and 20 inch calves.
At the age of 20, Arnold won the titles of Mr. Universe, Mr. Germany, and Jr. Mr. Europe. This was just the beginning. He went on to win the Mr. Olympia 7 times. He has also produced many bodybuilding events around the world and started the Annual Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic in 1989. During the presidency of George Bush he was Chairman of the Presidents Council of Physical Fitness and Sports.
Arnold took his fame and launched one of the most incredible movie careers, starring in films such as Pumping Iron, Conan the Barbarian, True Lies, The Terminator, End of Days, Kindergarten Cop, Commando, Predator, Raw Deal, Batman and Robin and many others.
In 2004, Arnold became the 38th governor of California and was once re-elected to this office.
Now that’s what I call cashing in on fame and talent!
I remember this guy very well from the late 70′s and early 80′s. He was actually an Italian actor when he wasn’t competing in bodybuilding. Born in Sardina, Italy on August 17, 1941, Franco was 5 feet, 5 inches tall, though some say that was a bit of a stretch.
But despite being pretty short for a man, he went on to become a very successful bodybuilder, winning the overall Mr. Olympia title in both 1976 and 1981 and the Lightweight Mr. Olympia title in 1974 and 1975. He also won the 1968 NABBA Mr. Universe, the IFBB Mr. Europe title in 1969, the 1970 AAU Mr. World, the 1970 and 1971 IFBB Mr. World, plus many others. As a power lifter he won the titles of Champion of Italy, Champion of Europe, and Champion of Germany.
During competition for the World’s Strongest Man, he was injured pretty severely and was not expected to walk again. He was extremely determined and was able to walk again.
As a good friend of Arnold Schwarzenegger, he served as best man at Arnold’s marriage to Maria Shriver. He was featured in movies with Arnold such as Pumping Iron and also had roles in The Terminator, The Running Man, and Conan the Barbarin. He was the lead actor in the movie Beretta’s Island.
Franco attended Cleveland Chiropractic College and today holds a DC degree. He is also an author of many bodybuilding books such as The Bodybuilder’s Nutrition Book.
Lee Haney was born on November 11, 1959 in Fairburne, GA. At his peak, he was 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighed in at 246 lbs.
He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in child psychology. In 1979, Lee won his first bodybuilding title of Teenager Mr. America. Between the years 1984 – 1991, he won the Mr. Olympia title 8 times, breaking Arnold’s record of 7. Other titles he won included 1983 Night of Champions, and Grand Prix Las Vegas 1983.
In 1998, he was appointed as Chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport by President Bill Clinton.
He retired from bodybuilding in 1991 and today owns and operates fitness centers in Atlanta, GA.
Lou Ferrigno was born in Brooklyn, NY on November 9, 1951. At the age of 13, Lou lost 80% of his hearing due to an ear infection. At his peak, he was 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 285 lbs. In 1971, he won the Pro Mr. America – WBBG, Teen. In 1973, he won the IFBB Mr. America and also the IFBB Mr. Universe. In 1974, he won the IFBB Mr. International and the IFBB Mr. Universe.
He went on to become a well known actor, both in television and film. Most people remember Lou as “The Hulk” from 1977 to 1982. From 2000 – 2007, he played himself in the TV series, The King of Queens. He was starred in many movies including Pumping Iron, Hercules, The Incredible Hulk, The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, The Death of the Incredible Hulk, The Godson, Surge of Power and The Naked Truth, to name a few.
I thought that an interesting note was that he was elected as the Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy in the year 2006 on February 13th.
Dorian Yates (also known as the “Shadow”) was born in Sutton Coldfield, England on April 19, 1962. At his peak, he was 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed in at 260 lbs.
As a teenager, Dorian got into trouble and was confined to a youth detention center where he earned the reputation of being the strongest and fittest of the detainees. This 6 month detention made him realize he needed to turn his life around. He began to focus on bodybuilding.
Between 1992 and 1997, Dorian won the Mr. Olympia title 6 times. Some other titles he won include: 1984 Mr. Birmingham, 1985 Novice West Coast, 1988 British Championship, 1991 Night of Championship, 1991 English Grand Prix, 1994 Grand Prix Germany, 1994 Grand Prix Spain, and 1994 Grand Prix England.
Using the training type known as HIT or High Intensity Training, Dorian transformed bodybuilding training. In 1994 he started his own bodybuilding company called Heavy Duty Inc.
<<<Check out Part II of this article where I list the last 5 – Click HERE>>>