Who are the top 8 men bodybuilders of all time? Bodybuilding is over a century old, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. It combines exercise and diet to create a powerful physique. These days, the sport attracts competitors and enthusiasts from all over the world, and we get to witness the pinnacle of physique development on stage.
Over the years, we’ve seen some incredible bodybuilders on stage, and today, we’ll have a more in-depth look at some of them.
In no particular order, here are eight of the best bodybuilders of all time:
1. Ronnie Coleman
Ronnie Coleman is one of the top 8 men bodybuilders of all time and one of the most recognized names in modern bodybuilding. Known for his monstrous size, incredible proportions, and stage presence, Ronnie won a staggering 26 titles throughout his career, including a record-tying eight wins of Mr. Olympia.
Ronnie set a new standard in male bodybuilding by achieving a stage weight of around 300 pounds – something very few men have ever achieved.
Ronnie is also considered one of the strongest bodybuilders and has a video of an 800-pound squat.
We can all learn from Ronnie that there is no substitute for hard work, and we should never stop working on self-improvement.
2. Frank Zane
Unlike many bodybuilders that purely focus on adding more size, Frank Zane is best known for meticulously focusing on symmetry and proportions. It’s no surprise that many consider him to be one of the most incredible physiques in bodybuilding history.
In 1968, Zane snagged the Mr. Universe title away from Arnold Schwarzenegger despite weighing a whopping 60 pounds less. Thanks to his impeccable physique, he managed to win three consecutive Mr. Olympia titles, despite having to compete against much larger bodybuilders on stage.
What we can learn from Frank Zane is that mass isn’t everything and that paying a lot of attention to even the smallest of details can genuinely set a bodybuilder apart from everyone else.
3. Dexter Jackson
Jackson received the nickname “The Blade” for his impeccable conditioning and deep abs. Having won more bodybuilding titles (over thirty) than anyone else, Jackson has had a fantastic bodybuilding career.
Despite his third place at the 2007 Mr. Olympia and the countless critics, Jackson would go back the following year and win the title. Jackson has also won the Arnold Classic five times between 2005 and 2015.
In 2015, at almost 46, Jackson placed second in the Mr. Olympia contest.
We can learn from Dexter that determination and the ruthless pursuit of our goals matter much more than our age or what the critics say about us.
4. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Along with Ronnie Coleman, Arnold Schwarzenegger is another household name in bodybuilding. Known for an impeccable and well-proportioned physique, Arnold managed to win seven Mr. Olympia titles between 1970 and 1980.
Arnold also holds the record for the youngest Olympia winner, having won his first title at 23.
Arnold is well-known as a wildly successful person in business, actor, and politician outside of bodybuilding.
Here is a lesson from the man himself:
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”
5. Phil Heath
Nicknamed “The Gift,” Phil Heath arguably has one of the most impressive physiques in bodybuilding. With a chiseled midsection, and remarkable overall symmetry and balance, Heath quickly made a reputation for himself in bodybuilding after discovering the sport in 2002.
In 2005, he won the NPC’s overall title, which allowed him the right to compete as an IFBB pro. The following year, he won his first pro tournaments – the Colorado and New York Pro Championships. He decided not to enroll in the 2007 Mr. Olympia, stating that he needs more time to improve – and that he did.
In 2010, he placed second in Mr. Olympia. In 2011, he won the title and defended it for six years in a row, until he lost it in 2018 to Shawn Rhoden.
A great lesson we can learn from Phil is to bide our time, know when to act, and improve ourselves behind the scenes.
6. Lee Haney
Lee Haney is one of the top 8 men bodybuilders of all time and one of the most impressive bodybuilders. At the age of 31, Haney was already an 8-time Mr. Olympia winner, having as many titles as Ronnie Coleman.
After placing third in the 1983 Mr. Olympia, Lee Haney would win a staggering eight consecutive times from 1984 to 1991. He is also the only famous Mr. Olympia winner who never lost the title.
Some rumors suggest that Haney retired from bodybuilding because he felt that he was about to lose his title to the next person on our list – Dorian Yates.
A lesson we can all learn from Lee is to know when enough is enough. Haney dominated the bodybuilding world in the 1980s and knew when to step down as an undisputed champion.
7. Dorian Yates
Similar to Haney, Dorian Yates is also an undefeated Mr. Olympia champion. He is deemed the first true mass monster to ever step on the Olympia stage. But he wasn’t just mass and no conditioning. Yates was 275 pounds on stage and boasted incredible leanness – he was among the first bodybuilders to boast truly shredded glutes and hamstrings.
Thanks to these two things, he went on to win six consecutive Mr. Olympia titles between 1992 and 1997.
Another thing that set Yates apart from many bodybuilders was his unique training style. Unlike most that relied on volume, Dorian trained only four times per week and focused on high-intensity work.
A valuable lesson we can learn from Dorian Yates is experimenting and seeing if there might be a better way to achieve something, despite what conventional wisdom suggests.
8. Jay Cutler
Jay Cutler was the primary rival of Ronnie Coleman in the 2000s, and their race for the Olympia title was genuinely entertaining to witness. He is one of the top 8 men bodybuilders of all time and is regarded by many as the greatest bodybuilder.
Cutler finished just behind Coleman in many competitions but finally dethroned him and took the Olympia title in 2006. What’s more, Cutler is the only bodybuilder to lose the Olympia title (in 2008) and then come back the following year to win it back.
According to some, Cutler could have been the most accomplished bodybuilder if it weren’t for Coleman. He won four Olympia titles and was a runner-up to Ronnie in four – 2001, 2003, 2004, and 2005.
A lesson we can learn from Jay Cutler is about perseverance and trusting the process, no matter how many failures it takes to achieve our goals.