The most obvious reason only a few men have been able to make it to the elite level of bodybuilding competition is… you guessed it, genetics!
Yes, some bodybuilders have worked their butts off in an effort to become competitive but it’s just not enough (Maybe in smaller, less significant competitions).
It really takes God-given genetics to have that “It” factor because anyone can look good if they work hard in the gym and diet correctly. But when it comes to muscle insertions, ability to grow like no other, and symmetry, few stand in the prestigious category of the “genetic elite”!
Here are the top 5 bodybuilders with the best genetics ever…
5. Matt Mendenhall
AKA Mr. Genetics… the greatest bodybuilder to never turn pro, Matt Mendenhall was something special. Heck, if Lee Haney (Eight-time Mr. Olympia) thought Mendenhall was the most genetically gifted bodybuilder he had ever seen, then he deserves a spot here.
Haney described Matt Mendenhall as having no weaknesses other than his drive and passion for the sport. He suffered from illnesses and even an accident where he was flung out of a car, so nothing was easy for him, however, it’s evident he no longer took as much of an interest in the sport due to the mental aspect of competing.
His career looked very promising, as he placed behind Lee Haney in 1982, at only 22 years of age. However, in 1983 he had the flu three weeks out from the NPC Nationals which stripped him of body weight and his conditioning fell off significantly.
Mendenhall competed for a few years with no luck and then in 1986, he placed second again at the NPC Nationals before falling ill again and he truly never recovered after this. His career fell off and after a few more appearances, Mendenhall decided to throw in the towel for good.
So regardless of the unfortunate circumstances, Matt Mendenhall was definitely a gem in the sport of bodybuilding and that is why we had to include him in the top 5 list!
4. Kevin Levrone
What would a list of the top genetically gifted bodybuilders be without the “Maryland Muscle Machine” Kevin Levrone?
This genetic monster was as impressive as a bodybuilder could get and until this day it’s still hard to believe he had never won a Mr. Olympia contest. He literally looked like a superhero because of his perfect lines, fullness, and sheer size (It was a sight to see).
Levrone’s best body parts were without a doubt his arms, shoulders, and traps.
No one could argue that Kevin Levrone had one of the greatest physiques of all time. He held the record for most IFBB wins with 23 pro wins until Ronnie Coleman surpassed this record. Levrone placed second in the Mr. Olympia competition four times which is incredible in itself.
3. Flex Wheeler
If there was ever a perfect specimen created just for bodybuilding, then Kenneth “Flex” Wheeler would be that person… The “Sultan of Symmetry” had a physique which was iconic and praised by the best of the best. In fact, Arnold Schwarzenegger said Flex Wheeler was one of the greatest bodybuilders he had ever seen (No wonder he made the list).
Wheeler was honestly, probably the greatest bodybuilder ever, to have never won the Mr. Olympia competition. Many still believe it was a shame for him to have never been awarded a first place trophy.
Flex Wheeler’s most notable attributes were his tiny joints and waist… so combine that with long, full muscle bellies, and you have the definition of a god-like physique.
Wheeler won the Arnold Classic four times and placed second at the Mr. Olympia contest three times.
2. Ronnie Coleman
If you didn’t see this one coming then you’ve likely never followed bodybuilding… the “King” Ronnie Coleman is the freak among freaks, which is why he is tied for most Olympia wins with eight titles to his name.
When you think of “freaky,” Ronnie Coleman naturally comes to mind because he had size, conditioning, and genetics which were off the charts (His vascularity was just insane)!
Now, let’s not take anything away from Ronnie Coleman by just talking about his genetics because he busted his butt in and out of the gym, and it showed on stage. You can find videos of him squatting 800 pounds and dumbbell pressing 200 pounds in each hand, so there was no lacking in his work ethic.
The man deserved his eight Olympia titles and is a fan favorite even up until this day.
1. Phil Heath
So not everyone will agree but taking all factors into consideration regarding ideal genetics for a bodybuilder, Phil Heath is without a doubt a “Gift” to the sport of bodybuilding. Besides the fact that people mention his more narrow clavicles compared to other competitors, Heath has no flaws.
In fact, his seven Mr. Olympia titles prove he is a one-of-a-kind talent (Especially to win so many times in the current era of bodybuilding) and many people believe he deserved an eight.
When Phil Heath won his first Olympia title in 2011, there was literally no one in history who could have looked better. Now, we must explain why Heath has the best genetics of any bodybuilder of course…
His arms are arguably the greatest the sport has ever seen (When you think of big arms, you think of Phil Heath). His triceps are so long and full that Roelly Winklaar may be the only guy to compare him to in that department, so when paired with his long, full and well-developed biceps… it’s game over!
He has incredible legs, a massive and full chest, and probably one of the greatest backs we’ve ever seen (Looks like a roadmap back there).
Literally, everything about Phil Heath is as close to unworldly perfection as you can get. A big reason for this is the fact that his muscle bellies are so long and full compared to most other bodybuilders who aren’t as genetically blessed.
This is where Heath has nearly everyone beat and although many people might not agree, his incredibly impressive feat of winning seven Sandow trophies in modern times would seem nearly impossible for anyone else at any point in time.
Phil Heath works hard to bring his best physique to every contest but without supreme genetics, there’d be no “Gift”.