The bodybuilders on this list come from all over the world, Europe to the U.S., and have varied backgrounds. While some got their start almost as children, picking up their first weight at 11 or 12 years old, others were late bloomers who only got into fitness when they reached 19 or 20. Regardless of how they started training, who they trained with, and whether they took hiatuses in their career or have been stable staples on the competition circuit, the bodybuilders on this list have all risen to the top of their game and made a huge impact in the fitness world. They have an incredible capacity to pack on muscle and, over the years, just managed to grow bigger and bigger.
10. FRANK ZANE
Frank Zane is an American former professional bodybuilder and author. He is a three-time Mr. Olympia, and his physique is considered one of the greatest in the history of bodybuilding due to his meticulous focus on symmetry and proportion.
9. KEVIN LEVRONE
Kevin Mark Levrone is an American IFBB professional bodybuilder, IFBB Hall of Famer, blogger and musician. During his professional career, Levrone competed in 68 IFBB Professional contests. He has won 23 Pro Shows, holding the record of the most wins as an IFBB professional until Ronnie Coleman set the new record in 2004. Despite having been away from competition for well over a decade since he retired in 2003 Kevin officially announced in mid 2016 that he would return to once again compete at the professional level on stage at the Mr. Olympia contest. At age 51 Levrone made his professional bodybuilding return competing, as announced, at the 2016 Mr. Olympia.
8. FLEX WHEELER
Kenneth “Flex” Wheeler is a retired American IFBB professional bodybuilder. He won the Arnold Classic a then-record five times and was once described by Arnold Schwarzenegger as one of the greatest bodybuilders he had ever seen. Ronnie Coleman said that Wheeler was the best bodybuilder he competed against.
Phillip heath is an American IFBB professional bodybuilder and the current Mr. Olympia. He is a six-time Mr. Olympia winner, having placed 1st in the competition every year from 2011 to 2016. His 2016 Mr. Olympia win tied him with Dorian Yates for the fourth all-time number of wins behind Lee Haney (8), Ronnie Coleman (8), and Arnold Schwarzenegger(7).
6. DEXTER JACKSON
Dexter “The Blade” Jackson is an American IFBB professional bodybuilder and the 2008 Mr. Olympiabodybuilding champion. Jackson has won more professional bodybuilding titles than any other person. He is from Jacksonville, Florida.
5. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER
Arnold Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American actor, producer, businessman, investor, author, philanthropist, activist, politician and former professional bodybuilder. He served two terms as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 to 2011. Schwarzenegger began weight training at the age of 15. He won the Mr. Universe title at age 20 and went on to win the Mr. Olympia contest seven times. Schwarzenegger has remained a prominent presence in bodybuilding and has written many books and articles on the sport. He is widely considered to be among the greatest bodybuilders of all time as well as bodybuilding’s biggest icon.
4. SHAWN RAY
Shawn Ray is a former professional bodybuilder and author In a 2005 interview, Ray said, “the two influences that were the main reasons that I got into bodybuilding in the first place, was bodybuilders Chris Dickerson and Bob Paris.” In a 1990 documentary, Ray cited François Benfatto as a major inspiration, along with Paris. In over 30 major bodybuilding competitions, Ray only failed to place in the top five once.
3. DENNIS JAMES
Dennis James is a German IFBB Pro bodybuilder. He started training in bodybuilding when he was 26. His first Mr. Olympia was in 2000 as well, where he placed 11th. He has competed in a total of seven Mr. Olympias, with his highest placing coming in 4th in 2003. In 2010, James said that the 2010 Mr. Olympia will be his last competition. He also said that he has lied about his age in the past and that he will be “45 years old soon”. He announced the end of his career in 2012
2. ROELLY WINKLAAR
Roelly ‘The Dutch Beast’ Winklaar first came to national prominence in the US with his overall win at the 2009 IFBB Arnold Amateur Championships, displaying a rare combination of massive size and shredded conditioning that heralded big things to come. After earning his pro card, Roelly returned for the 2010 IFBB Arnold Classic and turned plenty of heads with an eye-popping physique that earned him a strong seventh-place finish in a deep field in his IFBB debut. After placing third at the 2010 IFBB Australia Pro Grand Prix, Roelly shocked the bodybuilding world by winning the 2010 IFBB New York Pro. Seemingly out of nowhere, a new star was born.
1. RONNIE COLEMAN
Ronnie Coleman is a retired American professional bodybuilder. The winner of the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding title for eight years in a row, he is regarded as one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. Alongside his eight Mr. Olympia wins as a professional bodybuilder, he held the record for most wins as an IFBB professional with 26, breaking the record of 22.