Greatest Bodybuilder Physiques

Some of the greatest bodybuilders in the world have achieved inspirational physiques, thanks to sheer hard work and commitment. A combination of strict training programmes, eating the correct nutrition and raw determination is the basis for their ripped physiques and multitude of bodybuilding trophies.

It’s not necessarily the case that bigger is better – in years gone by, there was less emphasis on sheer size and mass. More focus was put on perfect symmetry and a chiselled statue resembling that of a Greek god was required if you wanted to win competitions!

An impressive physique must certainly be muscular, but you don’t need to have the biggest muscles to be much admired. So which bodybuiders have the greatest physiques of all time? Read on to find out!


Phil Heath


  1. Phil Heath

Height: 5ft 9ins

Weight: 240 lbs

The reigning Mr Olympia, he has won seven successive titles from 2011 until 2017 with his near-perfect proportions. His large deltoid muscles and arms, small waist and chiselled mid-section give him the type of physique most of us can only dream about. Seattle-born Heath, aged 38, is a former college basketball player, who started bodybuilding in 2002. He’s a big believer in the value of nutrition and in 2014, he and business partner Joey Firestone created Gifted Nutrition – a supplement and sports nutrition company.


  1. Franco Columbu

Height: 5ft 5ins

Weight: 185 lbs

Retired Italian bodybuilder Franco Columbu was nicknamed the “Sardinian Samson” during his competitive days. The 76-year-old who made his professional debut in the 1968 Mr Universe contest, was a double IFBB Mr Olympia champion in 1976 and 1981. His toned physique, with large muscles on his small frame, was even more remarkable when you consider he was born in 1941, in an era when training methods and supplements weren’t as advanced. Considering his small frame, it was amazing that he was fifth in the 1977 World’s strongest man contest – and that was after suffering an injury!


  1. Frank Zane

Height: 5ft 9ins

Weight: 185 lbs


Zane had such a lean frame that he inspired a new term in bodybuilding – anyone with a lean physique is described as “Zanelike”. With his amazing physique, he won the IFBB Mr Universe title in 1968, beating Arnold Schwarzenegger who was 60 lbs heavier! Pennsylvania-born Zane, now aged 75, concentrated on perfect lines and attention to detail, rather than building up huge mass. He was one of only a handful of bodybuilders who pulled off this approach, winning with 18-inch arms and a 29-inch waist.


  1. Ronnie Coleman

Height: 5ft 11ins

Weight: 300 lbs

Louisiana-born Ronnie Coleman won his first Mr Olympia title in 1998, when his massive size and conditioning were unparalleled. Renowned for its muscle and symmetry, his most amazing feature was his back, which few bodybuilders have been able to match even today. Now aged 53, the former policeman won eight Mr Olympia championships and numerous other titles. He achieved his physique through dedicated training, nutrition and supplements. His bodybuilding career lasted from 1989 to his retirement in 2009.


  1. Kevin Levrone

Height: 5ft 11ins

Weight: 253 lbs

Often described as the most “underrated bodybuilder of all time”, Kevin Levrone was renowned for his chiselled arms and mid-section. Nicknamed the “Maryland Muscle Machine”, he never achieved the greatness he deserved, having come second at Mr Olympia on four occasions and never winning the title. However, he had a host of other trophies under his belt, including the Arnold Classic in 1994 and 1996. Now aged 53, he retired from competitive bodybuilding in 2003. However, in 2016, he announced his comeback.


  1. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Height: 6ft

Weight: 249 lbs

Schwarzenegger has been the most well-known face in bodybuilding since winning his first Mr Universe title in 1970. His combination of sheer size and muscles, as well as his outgoing personality, led to him becoming an A-list Hollywood actor and the highest-paid action film star, best known for the Terminator franchise. He was also a successful politician, becoming the Governor of California from 2003 to 2011. As a bodybuilder prior to 1990, when bigger muscles and bulk became more commonplace, he won seven Mr Universe titles. The Austrian-born bodybuilder, now aged 70, relied on hard work and nutrition to maintain his lean physique.


  1. Lee Haney

Height: 5ft 11ins

Weight: 250 lbs

Born in Georgia in 1959, Haney was a pioneer of bringing both size and conditioning to the competitive circuit. The eight times Mr Olympia was bigger than all of his rivals and had an amazing eight-pack and razor sharp cuts. He was one of the first bodybuilders to dominate the field with mass and took training to a whole new level. Now aged 58, he hosts his own fitness show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, after winning his last Mr Olympia title in 1991.


  1. Dexter Jackson

Height: 5ft 6ins

Weight: 215 lbs

Dexter Jackson, nicknamed “The Blade”, had his first major victory when he won the Mr Olympia title in 2008. He acquired his nickname as a result of his razor-sharp cuts, boasting the deepest set of abs in bodybuilding. Now aged 48, he had an amazing year in 2008, winning the Arnold Classic, the New Zealand Grand Prix, the Australian Pro Grand Prix VIII and the Russian Grand Prix. The Florida bodybuilder remains active in competitions and in 2015, he was runner-up in Mr Olympia.


  1. Shawn Ray

Height: 5ft 5ins

Weight: 215 lbs

Known as “Mr Symmetry”, Shawn Ray is the ultimate definition of balance and proportion and fans are astounded he has never won the Mr Olympia title. Now aged 52, the Californian bodybuilder entered more than 30 regular bodybuilding competitions and many of his counterparts felt it was a travesty that he never won one of them. Packed with muscle, he won over audiences with his artistic displays, but he didn’t win the titles. He is now a philanthropist who has helped raise and donated more than $55,000 to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.


  1. Flex Wheeler

Height: 5t 10ins

Weight: 240 lbs

Winning the first four shows he entered when he debuted in 1993, Kenneth “Flex” Wheeler earned an astounding 17 professional bodybuilding titles, including the Arnold Classic a record four times. The legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger described him as one of the greatest bodybuilders he had ever seen, while Ronnie Coleman described Wheeler as the best bodybuilder he had ever competed against. Now aged 52, the California-born bodybuilder was everything the sport represented. He had great size and muscle definition. He had an amazing mid-section and a chiselled physique that combined mass, proportion, definition and symmetry.


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