Bodybuilding is a sport packed to the brim with big, muscular athletes, but who is the strongest among them? Today we take a look at that, as we break down the strongest bodybuilders of all time.
Bodybuilders are full of muscles, and look incredibly imposing. However, they typically are more looks than practical muscle. Bodybuilding is a sport where strength is not as important as size and bulk. Although there is a certain level of strength that naturally comes along with putting on so much size.
Despite the fact that it is not necessary, some bodybuilders enjoy doing strength training. Therefore through the ages we have seen some extremely powerful athletes take the bodybuilding stage. This is a breakdown of the strongest bodybuilders of all time.
12. Zack Khan
Zack Khan is a super heavyweight bodybuilder, born in India, but competing out of England. He is known for his massive size, which helped him win the 2009 British Championships. Furthermore, he is simply an imposing force, and a mountain of a man.
What earns Khan an entry onto our list of strongest bodybuilders is his ability to bench heavy weights. He is known to regularly bench more than 500lb, which is quite incredible. In addition to that, he is able to curl 100lb dumbbells with no issue.
11. Mike Van Wyck
One of Canada’s best bodybuilders, Mike Van Wyck has been competing since 2005. Furthermore he has competed at the Toronto Pro, as well as winning several national championships. He is known for his bulky frame, and large back.
First fat gripz arm pump. Very impressed with these little rubber grips pic.twitter.com/eM81SVhf
— Mike Van Wyck (@MikeVanWyck) January 31, 2013
When it comes to lifting, Van Wyck is used to doing high reps of solid weight. He has been able to bench 315lb for over 30 reps, which is just incredible. While his max lift is not known, he has also been seen doing 200lb incline dumbbell presses. He is a quite strong bodybuilder.
10. Larry Wheels
Larry Wheels is a bit of a unique entry on our list. While he does have a history with bodybuilding, he is actually more known as a powerlifter. As a result, he is certainly among the most powerful bodybuilders in history. He is known as a bit of a phenom, and every time he hits the gym he is looking to lift heavier than the last time.
Wheels’ Instagram is full of constant videos of him hitting the gym, and lifting heavy. As far as bodybuilders or powerlifters go he is certainly one of the strongest out there. Not only that, but he is constantly looking to get stronger.
9. Stan Efferding
Stan Efferding is another person who flirts the line between powerlifting and bodybuilding. The only difference here, is that he has been highly successful in both worlds. Furthermore, he started off his career as a bodybuilder, before giving powerlifting a try.
It was not until his 40’s that Efferding really began to take things to the next level. He earned his IFBB Pro Card, winning in a few contests. On the other hand, he was able to hit powerlifting personal records of a 606 bench press, 865 squat, and 837 deadlift. Even in his 50’s, he is extremely strong among bodybuilders everywhere.
8. Franco Columbo
The late, great Franco Columbo is one of the most influential bodybuilders of all time. Moreover, he was widely regarded as being the strongest bodybuilder in his generation, despite his smaller stature. At 5’5, people were often blown away by some of the feats of strength he was able to achieve.
Due to the timeframe of his career, Columbu’s lift records are a bit hard to verify. However, it is widely reported that he managed to hit a 750lb deadlift, 665lb squat, 525lb bench press., and 400lb clean and jerk. Additionally, he was known to bend steel bars and impress onlookers. Therefore, he is not only one of the most legendary, but also strongest bodybuilders there ever was,
7. Casey Viator
Casey Viator had the most success as bodybuilder when he was a teenager. In 1971, at the age of just 19, he managed to win the Mr. America title. As a result, he is considered to be one of the best teenager bodybuilders of all time.
Although he only sporadically competed as a bodybuilder after that, Viator did not stop hitting the gym. Subsequently, he managed to hit some impressive lifts in his time training. Some of his best seem to be his full-body workout of a 505lb squat for 14 reps, 215lb behind-the-neck press for 20 reps, 100lb dip for 20 reps, 200lb barbell curl for 20 reps, and 400lb barbell curls for 30 reps.
6. Ben White
Starting his career as a powerlifter, Ben White transitioned to a career in bodybuilding in 2007. Winner of the USA Championships, he had a modest career among bodybuilders. Nevertheless, his powerlifting background gave him an incredibly strong frame.
White is best known for his ability to have an absurd amount of reps. Somehow, he managed to hit an incredible 50 reps while benching 100lb dumbbells. Moreover, he managed to hit a 710lb raw deadlift, in 2003. He was not necessarily the most impressive of the bodybuilders on our list, he is impossibly strong all the same.
5. Tom Platz
Tom Platz had a solid amount of success as a bodybuilder. He managed to win the Mr. Universe title in 1980. Additionally he competed in many Mr. Olympia contests, scoring as high as 3rd place in 1981.
When it comes to strength accomplishments, Platz makes some bold claims. Although it is worth noting that it is difficult to substantiate some of his records. Nevertheless, it is reported that he has squatted 635lbs for 15 reps, as well as 300lb for an astounding 50 reps. Moreover, he has repeatedly squatted for more than 10 straight minutes, for over 100 reps. His ability to squat is unrivaled by any other bodybuilders.
4. Eddie Robinson
After winning the USA Championships in 1989, Eddie Robinson was thought to be one of the more promising bodybuilders at the time. In the end, he would ultimately retire young, at age 34, never quite achieving much success. However, he was still able to maintain incredible physical conditioning.
What lands Robinson on our list, is some of the numbers from his day’s powerlifting. Although some of his more fanatical numbers are a little hard to believe, there are some things that are hard to doubt. He even managed to bench around 535lbs, in just a t-shirt. He is a truly powerful bodybuilder.
3. Johnnie Jackson
Johnnie O. Jackson was able to achieve massive success, both as a bodybuilder, and then a powerlifter. He was a winner of the Arnold Classic South Africa, as well as the Toronto Pro.
As a powerlifter, he set a deadlift world record in the 220lb division, at 814lb.
Jackson perhaps set his strength apart from his fellow bodybuilders with one particular achievement. He managed to hit 10 reps doing side laterals with 100lb dumbbells. Moreover, he has managed to have a competition total of 2,127lb at one point.
2. Chris Cormier
Chris Cormier may be the best bodybuilder to never win the Olympia. He came in third place twice, as well as coming in second place at the Arnold Classic six years in a row. He made a name for himself because of his strong and powerful frame.
When it comes to strength accomplishments, Cormier managed to hit an incline-press for 525lb for two reps and 405lb for 12 reps. Additionally, he did 1,200lb leg presses for 30 reps, as well as 900lb reverse hack squats for 10 reps. Subsequently, he proved to have the strongest legs in bodybuilding.
1. Ronnie Coleman
Ronnie Coleman has it all in his career. Not only did he manage to win the Mr. Olympia an unbelievable eight times, but he did so at a whopping 300lb. Moreover, he was able to be the literal definition of a strong and powerful bodybuilder.
Unlike the majority of the other entries on this list, Coleman was not just strong in one area. He was powerful everywhere, managing to leg press a literal ton for ten reps.
In addition to that, he has also benched 200lb dumbbells for 12 reps. Not only has he done moderate weight, but he has also lifted heavy, squatting 765lb for four reps and 800lb for two reps. All in all, he is clearly the strongest bodybuilder of all time.
Were there any unbelievable strong bodybuilders that we missed? Be sure to let us know in the comments!
Who is the strongest bodybuilder of all time?
In my opinion, Ronnie Coleman is the strongest bodybuilder of all time. The late Franco Columbo at 5’5, was also one of the strongest bodybuilder of his time.
Are bodybuilders actually strong?
Bodybuilder are strong, they’re strong enough to lift quite heavy weights to elicit the desired hypertrophy response.