Washougal bodybuilder finds focus – Camas Washougal Post Record

Sitting on a plateau in Wyoming, immersed in a series of deeply emotional meditative thoughts, Jon Lee realized that he was dying. Not literally, of course. But he believed that he was killing himself, in a way. He felt as though something was missing from his life. Shaken by the recent death-by-sucide of a friend, he began to ask himself difficult questions.

“For me, it just felt hollow,” Lee explained. “I decided, ‘You know what? You need to put together what’s truly important to you and live your best life, because your friend did the same thing (as you’re doing now), and look where it led him.’”

At the time, the Washougal resident didn’t know that his epiphany would eventually lead him to a bodybuilding career. But he’s certainly glad that it did. His new passion has helped him find what he was desperately searching for on that fateful day three-and-a-half years ago.

“I’m absolutely, passionately in love with this journey,” Lee said. “I don’t have any clue where the destination is going to take me. It might be world champion, and it might not. I might fall in love with being a coach. You never know what’s going to happen with it. But being in love with the journey is the No. 1 thing that I currently am (focusing on). It’s almost like an epiphany. I’m overwhelmed with that. It’s a powerful thing.”

Lee, who participated in his first event earlier this year, recently competed at the 2022 International Natural Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (INBF) Cecil Phillips Classic, held Saturday, July 30, in Eugene, Oregon.

The event is the only natural sanctioned professional qualifier in Oregon, according to its website, which also states that the INBF is “the most stringent of all natural federations.”

“That is the reason I chose that particular organization,” he said. “It’s the only one that I’ve found that (puts on) truly natural bodybuilding shows. … At the time of the show, you have to be 10 years clean of all substances on a banned substance list.”

Lee competes in the “physique” division, in which participants strive to attain a lean, athletic upper-body look, featuring symmetry and proportion rather than large amounts of mass.

“The judges are looking for how lean you are — your abs, your obliques, chest, shoulders. They’re really looking for that ‘X’ frame,” he said. “They’re not really judging the mass or the striations of legs – you don’t really need to train your legs at all, although I do substantially. And then of course, (they look at) your presentation.”

Lee grew up in Colorado and served in the United States Navy before settling down in Clark County with his wife Christina. Together they own and operate Luvitlife, an online shopping community affiliated with LuLaRoe, a designer and seller of women’s clothing that uses a multi-level marketing model to distribute its products.

It was actually a LuLaRoe leadership conference, in fact, that brought him to Wyoming and pivotal personal discovery in 2019.

“(My friend’s death) really, really hit me to the bone,” he said. “All of (the conference was about) dealing with your own emotions and digging deeper and all these things. For me, it went to a whole other level, because of what happened with my friend.”

At that point, Lee was a self-described weightlifting advocate, a “typical ‘bro’ guy in the gym pumping out curls in the mirror.”

But his friend’s death — and some wise words from his daughter, Candace — provided him with the motivation he needed to embrace a more focused approach to his lifestyle.

“In rebuttal to me trying to give her those, ‘Listen, if you put your mind to it, you can do anything’ (speeches), she said, ‘Whatever. You go to the gym every day and you’re not going to do anything with that.’ And I was like, ‘No, you know what? I’m going (to do something).’ What happened with my friend Doug is what set this whole thing in motion. And me being a Navy veteran with a militant nature fed right into that, to be able to just put my head down day after day after day and not deal with that grief. And it helped me get through it in a healthy way. But now it’s progressed into, ‘I want to show my kids first hand that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.’”

Lee initially decided that he was going to train to enter a Spartan competition, a series of obstacle races of varying distance and difficulty ranging from 3 miles to marathon distances.

“That hasn’t happened (yet),” he said with a laugh. “I shifted my focus when my wife and I (went) to Las Vegas last year. It just so happened that the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation was having their world championships in Vegas that weekend. I went and watched it, and it was really, really interesting. I didn’t know a lot about it, but I wanted to learn more. I was very, very impressed with the physique of the athletes, because the one thing that I knew going into was this was supposed to be an actually clean show.

“There were maybe 200 people in the audience, so it wasn’t a big, big deal, but it was an incredible environment. I saw athletes, friends and family helping competitive athletes that were having issues. But when I watched, the one thought that I walked away with was, ‘I could do that.’”

During the next several months, Lee taught himself how to be a bodybuilder, embracing a “from the ground up” approach.

“I probably should have, at some point, gotten an actual coach to help me progress through this, but I haven’t,” he said. “I have utilized YouTube and Instagram, and educational videos. I really dialed myself into a few specific creators who’ve got really great information and try to keep it simple.”

Christina had seen her husband struggle with his weight in the past, but knew right away that his latest effort was going to be “different.”

“He started to do research on how food affects him and the weight that he gains,” she said. “He started cleaning up his diet and working out at the gym every day. As the weight started to go, he told me he wanted to compete in a men’s physique competition. I have never doubted that he could do it. I did not have any idea about this type of competition, but Jon did all the research and talked to a lot of people and began watching a ton of videos. He started practicing, and his body was changing in front of our eyes.

“Our family is so proud of him and the sacrifices he has made to achieve this goal. It has taught our children that they need to set a goal and work hard at it, and they, too, can achieve it.”

Lee made his competitive debut in the INBF’s Natural Columbia Classic Pro-Am in Federal Way, Washington, on June 11. He placed second in the men’s physique debut category, fifth in the men’s physique novice category and third in the men’s physique master’s 40-plus category.

“Literally, I was so scared,” he said. “I thought I was going to get in there and just embarrass myself. I didn’t want to fall off the stage and I didn’t want to get last place. But I was a whole lot more ready than I thought I was. I didn’t fall off the stage, I didn’t get last, and I learned a ton. And the critiques that I got back from the judges were pretty incredible. They said that I had amazing stage presence.”

Lee’s training regimen is rigorous. He begins every day early with a two-hour workout session at 24-Hour Fitness Vancouver, then focuses on his nutritional intake for the rest of the day, typically consuming a chicken breast and brown rice when he gets home from the gym, French toast about three hours later, and a light salad with chicken and ranch dressing in the late afternoon.

He also runs on a treadmill to keep his heart rate up and is in bed by 8:30 p.m., in his view “the most important piece” of the recovery process.

“My family is such a high priority, and we run a business where my schedule is kind of all over the place, so I can piecemeal things in,” he said. “A big portion of my day, seven days a week, is going through the grind at the gym in the morning, and then spending the rest of the day going through the specific process of recovery for the next day, because that’s just as important.”

Lee, 45, said he now hopes to win the INBF world championship in the masters bodybuilding category when he turns 50.

“I guess I just kind of have a can-do attitude,” he said. “I’m the type of guy that says the old saying, ‘Shoot for the moon and you hit the stars.’ Let’s say that (winning the world title) never happens. I’m still living an incredible, healthy, awesome lifestyle.”

He believes that he is in a good place right now and is optimistic for his future.

“What I now have is the complete enjoyment of knowing that I’ve tapped into a source that is slowly but surely filling that void,” Lee said.

“Is the void filled? No, absolutely not. I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied. That’s life. We’re inevitably in the pursuit of something. I was failing at that before, and I think that my friend, Doug, probably was too. Who knows what led to that dark moment?” Lee continued. “I do know for sure that where there’s yin, there’s yang, and I’m heading towards a much better place because of it.”

Bodybuilding Legend Lee Labrada Shows Off His Shredded Quads at Age 62 – BarBend

Lee Labrada brought a unique blend of grace and aesthetics to the bodybuilding stage that helped him earn 22 pro titles throughout the ’80s and ’90s. And he accomplished all of this despite typically weighing around 185 pounds come showtime. To put that in perspective, he was competing against the likes of eight-time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney, who tipped the scales at 250 pounds at one point.

And while he hung up his posing trunks back in 1995, Labrada maintains a strong presence in the fitness industry today. He’s currently the CEO of the sports nutrition company Labrada Nutrition — makers of Lean Body protein — and his son, Hunter Labrada, is staking his claim as a force on the Olympia stage.

Oh, and it just so happens that Lee Labrada is still in phenomenal shape at the age of 62, as he showed in a recent leg day Instagram post:

[Related: The History & Winners of the Masters Olympia Bodybuilding Competition]

The video shows off Labrada’s shredded quads as he knocks out a set of leg extensions. He looks fit for an athlete in their prime, so it’s even more impressive that he’s maintained his size nearly 30 years after stepping away from the sport.

And if you want an even closer look at those 62-year-old gams contracting and pulsating, Labrada is happy to oblige:

[Related: Phil Heath Vs. Kai Greene and 9 Other Fiery Bodybuilding Rivalries That Shaped the Sport]

Lee Labrada’s Bodybuilding Career

Though Labrada never won a Mr. Olympia title, he competed at the big show seven times from 1987 to 1993, placing inside the top four every year. The Sandow may have eluded him, but Labrada did achieve a career highlight in 1985 when he won the Mr. Universe competition.

Labrada retired from the sport in 1995, with his last show coming at that year’s Arnold Classic.

Today, Labrada stays involved in bodybuilding by sharing workout tips and posing tutorials with athletes like Terrence Ruffin on the Labrada Nutrition YouTube page. He’ll also occasionally post videos of himself training with Hunter, who came in fourth during last year’s Olympia competition and is currently prepping to step on stage at his third Mr. O from December 16-18 in Las Vegas, NV.

Featured Image: @leelabradaofficial on Instagram

Three-Time Mr. Arizona Robert Farrow Has a Deep Connection to Bodybuilding – Muscle & Fitness

Many people associate bodybuilding with the stage, but the foundation of the sport lies in the gyms around the world where you can find the champions training. One such gym is Deezel Gym in Arizona, and its owner, Robert Farrow, feels that connection well because he lives the bodybuilding lifestyle himself. The 2012 North American Champion was Isabelle Turell’s guest on the “Fit Rockstar Show,” but there is another title that he feels is a prestigious one – the NPC USA Championship.

“I just love that show,” he told Turell. “It’s the best of the best.”

The connection to that show may be because of how strongly he feels about living in the United States. Farrow is originally from England. After a round trip of moving to the US, then back to England, his family finally settled in America when he was 10. His love for bodybuilding goes back as far as when he was that young. He mowed people’s yards so he could earn spending money to support that passion.

“The first money I made, I went down to the BX, and I bought myself a junior barbell set,” he recalled. “That was the first purchase I ever made. I just wanted to be bigger. I just wanted more muscle.”

As the owner of Deezel Gym, he has plenty of barbells to work with now, and he gets to stay involved in an industry that he feels did a lot for him throughout his life.

“Bodybuilding has given me so much, and this is my way to give back. I want to help people through bodybuilding.”

Farrow and Turell talk more about his career and contributions for the sport as well as his original inspiration from Tarzan, and more. Catch the full episode of The Fit Rockstar Show over at www.wingsofstrength.net, and check back for the new episodes every Saturday at 12 Noon Eastern time.

Nick Walker Conquers Chest Training With Bodybuilding Coach Brandon Long – BarBend

2021 Olympia fifth-place finisher Nick Walker was joined by bodybuilding coach Brandon Long on Walker’s YouTube channel on July 30, 2022. The video featured the first episode of Walker’s new “Olympia Prep Series,” which will follow Walker’s training and day-to-day prep leading up to the 2022 Mr. Olympia in Las Vegas, NV, on December 16-18, 2022.

In the first episode of Walker’s “Olympia Prep Series,” he and Long team up for a chest, delts, and triceps workout. Check out the upper-body workout below, followed by a detailed breakdown of the workout:

[Related: Mike O’Hearn and C.T. Fletcher Decipher Motivation vs. Passion]

Nick Walker’s Chest, Delt, and Triceps Workout

Below are the exercises Walker performed during his upper body workout:

Pec Deck & Incline Dumbbell Press

The first movement in Walker and Long’s workout is the pec deck flye to warm up the joints and get their blood flowing in the chest for the heavier movements to come. Walker the pec deck machine provides a good warm-up and pump, though it could be utilized for hypertrophy purposes as well. After several working sets, Walker and Long perform drop-sets to near failure. The stack is not nearly enough for “The Mutant” as he adds a 45-pound plate to it.

I like to start with a flye, get a good stretch, a good contraction — really pumps up the chest for the heavier compound movements, as well as prevent injury.

The first compound movement in Walker’s workout is the incline dumbbell press, which Walker works up to 165-pound dumbbells on. Walker is a big fan of dumbbell pressing movements as they ensures even muscular development on each side of the body, leading to a overall chest in his view.

[Related: Derek Lunsford Focuses on Mobility and Range of Motion to Build His Chest for the 2022 Olympia]

Incline Press Machine

The second compound working movement in Walker and Long’s workout is an incline plate-loaded press machine. The machine they use has the option to add resistance to the upper, middle, and lower portions of the movement to hit the each set of muscle fibers differently. Walker and Long work their way up to two 45-pound weight plates on the middle sleeves, a 25-pound plate on the upper sleeves, and another 45-pound plate the bottom sleeves. They hit a working set following with a back-off set.

Cable Side Laterals & Flat Chest Press

Moving onto shoulders to give the chest some rest, Walker and Long hit behind-the-back cable side laterals. This shoulder movement helps work the delts in the stretched position, which helps build capped shoulders.

It’s hitting my hamstring, it’s like added resistance.

Back on chest, Walker and Long head over to a plate-loaded flat chest press machine. Saving heavier compound movements for the end of a workout can make them more effective by pre-exhausting the muscle. Their last set was a drop-set to finish off their chests.

Rope Pushdowns & Seated Tricep Dip Machine

Moving onto the triceps, Walker and Long hit pushdowns using straps instead of a rope to put more emphasis on the triceps. Triceps pushdowns are a great movement for not only warming up the triceps but building thickness in the horseshoe-look that is desirable in the side triceps pose.

The second triceps movement and last exercise of the day was the seated plate-loaded dip machine. Using a seated machine allows for Walker and Long to add additional load without the need to stabilize themselves like they would need to in a standard dip.

[Related: Bodybuilder Hunter Labrada Shares How Many Warm-Up Sets He Does During a Workout]

Looking to the Olympia

Walker technically began prep the week before meeting up with Long but caught a stomach bug that set back his schedule. Walker is slated to compete at the 2022 Mr. Olympia contest on Dec. 16-18, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV. His fifth-place finish at his Olympia debut in 2021 secured his slot for 2022. We’ll see if during this Olympia prep series Walker does enough to satisfy the 2022 Mr. Olympia judges to the point that they award him the Mr. Olympia title over two-time reigning Mr. Olympia champion Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay.

Featured image: @nick_walker39 on Instagram

IFBB Pro Donna Salib Went From Bodyslams To Bodybuilding – Muscle & Fitness

Donna Salib is a well-accomplished IFBB pro, Olympia qualified, bodybuilder living just outside of Louisville, KY, where, as she says, “we are known for our bourbon and horses.”

A look over her bio will find items such as: retired paramedic/ firefighter, personal trainer, prep coach, certified strength and conditioning coach and ambassador to charities such as Active Heroes (military veterans and their families) and Hannah’s Care Packages. Clearly this is someone who’s interested in helping people. To find such a selfless person in a sport dedicated to selfishness is quite refreshing.

While earning her IFBB pro card at the 2017 North Americans, and winning the KY State Open Women’s Champion, and earning a Michael Soong’s all time historic world record in raw powerlifting are pretty cool to have on your résumé, Salib is also one of those Olympia-bound bodybuilders whose career has spanned the now infamous Ms. Olympia hiatus.

The nearly four years that the Ms. Olympia lay restlessly in her grave was a significant epoch for several of the ladies whose careers, were disrupted. To this day, it’s impossible to ge around the fact that they actually dropped the top women’s event in bodybuilding history in the name of greed. Argue all you want, but that’s what it was — greed. It certainly wasn’t out of reverence for the office of Ms. O.

It’s hard to place an actual label on this group of ladies whose sights were set on the Olympia prior to its stoppage in 2015, kept the fire burning during its hiatus, and got back in the race when the Ms. O finally came back, but suffice it to say that they personified the “Rising Phoenix” competition that held the spot open while the grand dame of women’s bodybuilding rested.

In 2019, Jake Wood and his team brought back the Ms. O and put the brass ring back up within reach. Donna Salib is one of those ladies who was reaching for it when the O perished and is reaching for it again now that Ms. O got back up on her feet. That, in and of itself, is a great story. But, there’s way more to Ms. Salib than her impressive accomplishments and her return to the fight for the post hiatus Ms. Olympia. The coolest of which, and least talked about, is her role as a pro wrestler on TV!

“Coolest” is, of course, indicative of what I think of wrestling, particularly because of how it created “somewhere for bodybuilders to go.” While you may dismiss it as something cheesy, finding out that Salib is actually Ms. Marvelous — wife and valet to Mr. Marvelous, aka Melvin Maximus — your ears would perk up.

Donna Salib sitting in a hotel lobby
Wings of Strength

How did you get into Pro Wrestling?

It started with Ohio Valley Wrestling.

*[Note: At one point, OVW was one of the incubators of the WWE, launching the careers of several WWE Superstars, including Bautista and John Cena. Later, OVW became the developmental territory for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (or TNA)].

My husband Hany had been wrestling for awhile and he was a bodybuilder too. I always wanted to be involved with him. So I’d go with him to all the events. People started telling me I should do something with him. We started playing around with some things, then I thought, oh my word this is fun!

What was your act?

I started as his valet [manager]. He was really flashy. Known as a big spender. Ms. Marvelous would come out with him to the ring in a gown, flexing and looking scary. I ended up in the ring doing tag team stuff. My career ended with me doing a tag team with my husband!

Did the gown and the hair and the jewels come naturally to you?

NO!! I’m the biggest tomboy – no hair, nails, shoes… Ugh, it’s just not me. But Ms. Marvelous needs to do all this girly stuff. But, I went with it any way, because my husband was enjoying it and having fun. It went over so well too. The fans loved us. Every time I came out, Ms. Marvelous was always dripping in jewels. I’d always take off a bracelet and give it to one of the girls in the audience. It became a big thing to get one of my bracelets. On the 1,000th episode of OVW, Hany proposed to me after our match!

Aww…That’s a memory you’re not likely to forget! What about now? Are you guys still wrestling?

I guess you could say I’m semi-retired now, for several reasons. First, we’re beat up. People think wrestling is all fake, but it’s not. It’s definitely choreographed, and we are cautious, but the impacts are real. It’s very taxing physically. And, in OVW, it’s a grind. You really don’t get paid unless you’re hustling – on the road. We sold a lot of merchandise and it was a lot of work.

How is doing contest prep while you’re on the road wrestling?

Well, that was another issue. During prep I have to be very regimented. A lot of the places we go don’t cater to contest prep. It’s a huge hassle to pack everything you need, bring food, and there wasn’t always a refrigerator. I had to make a decision because bodybuilding is No. 1. I wanted to be with my husband, but wrestling takes too much away from bodybuilding. And, it was just time to move on. My husband was so beat up. We’re in our 40s, WWE is not picking us up. They asked me, but not him. There’s no way I would do that. This is his thing. I’m just here to have fun. We just enjoy going and watching now. It was just time to go and move on. It was not worth the risk of getting hurt and disrupting bodybuilding.”

Did wrestling contribute anything positive to bodybuilding?

I’d say it made me better at entertaining people. It really helped take the jitters away on stage.

Do you have a dog?

Yes!! Two bullies.

Are you cooped up in a condo or do you live in a house with a yard?

This is embarrassing, but my husband does real estate and he’s really good at it. We live in, let’s just say a REALLY nice house.

Are those accommodations similar to how it was when you grew up?

Heck no! I grew up one of six kids. My dad worked construction. We lived in an old farmhouse with no indoor bathroom. We had a “ringer washing machine” attached to the kitchen sink. You know what that is?

The thing with the crank that rings out the water between two rollers kind of thing?

Yes, that! There was no bathroom; we used an outhouse and we pulled water out of a well. It was the hickest time you could think of! We had a big river behind us and a creek on either side of us. When the snow melted, our property would flood. We literally had to take a boat to the main road so we could get to the bus to school. No phone, no TV… We were always outside. When it came time for dinner, mom would go out to the car and honk the horn a certain number of times. One long honk if it was an emergency.”

Sounds like Waltons Mountain. Did you live off the land or have a big garden? Did you hunt?

“With six kids – we had a humongous garden! My dad hunted. A farmer who lived next to us would give us goat’s milk to help feed the kids. If I was good, I got a Mr. Goodbar. It was simple country life.”

So how did you go from being a paramedic/ firefighter to where you are now?

“I was firefighter and paramedic for 17 years. I saw too much, I guess you could say. I had to leave because of PTSD. I fell back on personal training and that kept building. I actually suffered from the eating disorder bulimia – kicking that got me into bodybuilding because I had a reason to eat.

[Salib’s husband chimes in: “Now she wont stop eating!!”]

The man upstairs puts me where I’m supposed to be. I feel like I was put here to help people. If I can’t do it as a first responder, then I’ll help people get fit, lose weight, get stronger… I love seeing people happy and thriving. I use this platform now to reach people at all different stages of their journey. I always have good things to say about people to lift them up. I hope people remember me because I was nice to them. Not because I was a paramedic, or wrestling on TV, or in the Olympia. I’m very simple.

Donna Salib posing in the middle of a road wearing a black dress pulling up her hair
Wings of Strength

You may be, but the sport you’ve chosen isn’t. Women’s bodybuilding has taken some lumps. How do you see it recovering?

Women’s bodybuilding is striving to make the sport look good again. We’re out to dispel the misconception that women with muscles are manly. I like the look of girl muscle. Olympic sprinters who are muscular don’t get called manly. We’re definitely in a different era now. The feedback now is to make you look more feminine. That allows us to feel beautiful and pampered… it allows us to be more magnificent. The manly stigma has made girls step back and reassess what they’re doing and where they’re going.

I have issues with guys who coach women and get them to use drugs that a guy would use. I’ve seen some bad things happen and some girls be ruined bitterly. Who coaches you and how do you deal with the 8,000-pound pink elephant in the room?

My husband coaches me. We research. I talk to my doctor. I think about longevity. I don’t want to go out to dinner with my son and have him be embarrassed. Moreover, I want to make sure I stay safe. My health and longevity are number one. Girls have to choose their coaches wisely and then listen to them! If you don’t listen to your coach then why do you have one? It’s not the coach’s fault if you don’t listen to them.

There seems to be more of a sisterhood these days. I see a lot of you ladies really showing reverence and respect for each other rather than the old school overt cutthroat competition. How do you support your sisters?

I kill people with kindness until they like me. I’m always genuinely friendly and I like bodybuilders! When the competitor’s list comes out for the show I’m doing, I make goodie bags for each of the competitors and give them out at the finals.

Goodie bags? Isn’t the word “goodie” another term for sabotage? You can’t tell me there’s no chocolate in that bag.

Yes there’s chocolate! And different candies…coffee and truffles too. This year I did soy candles, glass fingernail files, hand lotion and chocolate – always chocolates. I give the bags at the finals, after it’s all over. Being a female in this sport is not easy. If someone brings me a gift, it’s going to put a smile on my face. Maybe my little goodie bag puts a smile on another girl’s face; it makes me happy.

The charities you champion are interesting. Particularly your support of my fellow veterans. Can you tell me a little about that?

I come from a long line of military family members. Deployed everywhere. Even my son served, (he’s out now). I’ve always been very active in supporting vets. The big thing I’m involved with now is called Active Heroes – in Louisville (Shepardsville). It’s a 148-acre ranch with gorgeous land and wide-open spaces with log cabins, pavilions. It’s a Retreat for Vets and their families, where they can come and reduce stressors of everyday life. If they’re having trouble, we try to serve them. Suicide is a huge issue vets deal with. We lose about 22 a day. That’s almost one every hour. It’s really terrible. Going on the retreat – totally free – with their families puts them in a place where they can worry less about things, get away from the world.

What’s your role?

I was an event coordinator and dealt with a lot of events to help veterans and their families. I would have food and other things brought in that were donated by vets who own businesses. They are very supportive and glad to know that it’s available. There are so many charities that sound good, but you don’t know where the money is going. With Active Heroes, it’s obvious where the money is. It’s eight years later and I’m still at it.

King Kamali Joins Bodybuilding Roundtable on ‘The Menace Podcast’ – Muscle & Fitness

Dennis James hosted a bodybuilding roundtable on his latest episode of “The Menace Podcast.” The guests included renowned competitor coach Milos Sarcev, bodybuilding legend Chris Cormier, and a new panelist, King Kamali. Kamali was a controversial figure during his onstage career, and he isn’t shy about sharing his opinions and advice, either. One form of advice that the 1999 NPC Nationals Champion wanted to pass along to athletes now was words of wisdom he received from a former Mr. Olympia.

“Lee Haney told me something that stuck in my head. I was backstage when I won Nationals, and he said ‘kid, don’t worry about where you place. Just win the crowd.’” he said. “Just have fun up there, win the crowd, and you’ll be fine. That’s exactly what I did.”

One popular topic of discussion in recent weeks had been about the Athlete’s Rep position, currently occupied by Bob Cicherillo. The panel discussed the back and forth between Cicherillo and Fouad Abiad as well as what the athletes themselves should be doing regarding the position. Kamali isn’t actively competing now, but he knew exactly who to go to when he needed help as an athlete, and it wasn’t Bob Chick.

“My athlete rep for many, many years was [Steve] Weinberger,” said Kamali. “If I needed something he would be like ‘come down here. Let me talk to you.’”

The panel discussed several different topics, including which continent has the best bodybuilders, Kamali’s training style and schedule, Derek Lunsford’s possible entry into the men’s open division, and a lot more. Subscribe to the Muscle & Fitness YouTube channel so you can see all episodes of TMP when they drop every Sunday at 3:00 PM Eastern time. Don’t forget to follow @themenacepodcast on Instagram as well.

The Best Bodybuilding Forearm Workouts for Your Experience Level – BarBend

There (probably) isn’t a gym rat on the face of the Earth who neglects their arms. After all, your biceps and triceps are some of the top glamor muscles. Even at a young age, an adult probably invited you to “make a muscle” by flexing your arm. But what of the forearms?

In the realm of bodybuilding, the devil is often in the details. Smaller, secondary muscles like your forearms don’t get the lion’s share of the limelight, but they do a lot for the overall appearance of your physique.

Man rests on his forearms during gym workout
Credit: Ruslan Shugushev / Shutterstock

You might think that simply holding onto a dumbbell or barbell is enough forearm work to build them up. While this may be true for beginners, if you want to build forearms that Popeye would envy — without slamming down multiple cans of spinach — you’ll have to train them directly. 

The Best Forearm Workouts for Bodybuilding

Beginner Bodybuilding Forearm Workout

For rank beginners, muscles like the calves, abdominals, and especially your forearms tend to grow on their own by virtue of resistance training itself. After all, these muscles play a large role in supporting your mechanics while you lift.

As such, most beginning physique aspirants don’t need to give their forearms too much attention in the first few years. They should grow just fine on their own, provided you’re gripping properly and training your arms or back. 

The Workout

A good back and biceps workout will give your forearms more than enough stimulation to grow. If you’re new to lifting weights, your forearms likely aren’t used to maintaining a closed fist against significant resistance. 

Standard “pulling” movements in which gravity is attempting to yank the weight of your hand will do just fine. 

Note that you can train your forearms with or without this specific workout. The deadlift, pull-up, and any manner of row are all fantastic options for early forearm growth, while also giving you a lot of back stimulation to boot. 

Intermediate Bodybuilding Forearm Workout

With a few years of real gym experience under your belt, it might be a suitable time to start assessing your physique for strengths and weaknesses. If you feel your forearms are lagging behind or are disproportionately underdeveloped, you can begin to add some dedicated work to your training plan.

The Workout

At an intermediate level (think between three and six years in the game), you probably don’t even need a dedicated “forearm day” yet. What you can do, though, is plug a couple of forearm-specific movements into the tail end of any workout. 

Training forearms as a capstone to your back or arm days makes sense from a congruence perspective, but you can also do some forearm exercises after leg training if you want to hammer them while they’re fresh.

As you can see, this back-and-biceps workout sneaks in plenty of forearm stimulation without requiring it to be the centerpiece of your session. 

As you move through the workout, the exercises demand more and more of your forearm and grip strength, culminating with a loaded carry that tests how long you can squeeze your hand shut. 

Advanced Bodybuilding Forearm Workout

Whether you’ve pocketed your pro card years ago or simply want to build the most impeccably-developed physique you can, advanced bodybuilders need to give attention to even the smallest muscles that many others overlook.

Your forearms are no different. Dedicated forearm work takes time out of your likely-busy gym schedule, but it’s the best way to make a stubborn muscle grow if compound lifting isn’t enough.

The Workout

You have two options for forearm training as an advanced physique athlete — you can give them their own day entirely, or train your forearms when you first walk into the gym for another session.

Man grips exercise rope during cable curl
Credit: ALL best fitness is HERE / Shutterstock

As long as you don’t kick off a back workout with forearm exercises (it might be hard to hold onto heavy rows if your grip is torched), you can get a good session in 15 to 20 minutes and still have plenty of time (and energy) left over for the rest of your day.

  • Cambered Bar Reverse Spider Curl: 3 x 12
  • Cable Wrist Curl: 2 x 12-15
  • Cable Wrist Extension: 2 x 12-15
  • Dumbbell Wrist Rotation: 1 x 15-20
  • Plate Pinch or Farmer’s Carry3 sets for maximum distance or time. 

An advanced forearm workout will exercise each of the small functions your forearms perform. This means loading the motor patterns of flexion, extension, and rotation, as well as incorporating some isometric crushing via curls and carries. 

Anatomy and Function of the Forearm

Your forearm is one of the most complex pieces of muscular machinery on your body. There aren’t just one or two muscles that affect the motion of your wrist and hand — there are dozens. 

As such, memorizing every individual muscle tissue between your wrist and elbow isn’t exactly a practical use of your time. More importantly, it probably won’t do much to bolster the efficacy of your workouts.

However, understanding the anatomical function and motor behavior of those muscles might help you understand the “why” behind the forearm exercises you have in your routine.

Wrist Flexion

Your brachioradialis, flexor carpi radialis, and flexor carpi ulnaris are three of the bigger muscles on the underside of your forearm. They help perform the action of wrist flexion, which draws your palm downward. 

They also provide a lot of heft to the appearance of your forearm. You can train this action with all manner of resistance, but dumbbells and cables are the most common tools.

Wrist Extension

Extension, or bending your wrist backward, is the opposite function of wrist flexion. The musculature on the top of your forearm assists in performing this action. 

You’ll generally notice that wrist extension is more difficult to perform than flexion, and you may have a reduced range of motion as well. As such, wrist extension exercises are commonly performed with very light weights, but are equally important for balanced muscular development.

Wrist Rotation

The wrist joint doesn’t actually rotate — the bones of your forearm do. Your forearm consists of two primary bones, the radius and ulna. These two bones twist around one another to rotate your forearm and hand in space. 

While rotation exercises are great, they may not necessarily be the best bang for your buck for muscle growth. However, rotation and flexion-extension movements have been shown to be beneficial for remedying certain cases of elbow pain. (1)


The ability to close your hand around an object is crucial for all manner of exercise, particularly upper-body resistance training. After all, you can’t grow your pecs or blast your lats if you can’t hold on to a weight in the first place.

The motor action of clasping something in your palm is actually performed by the many, many tiny ligaments and tendons in your hand, and isn’t strictly caused by muscular contraction. However, the soft tissues in your hand attach to the muscles of your forearm. 

pair of hands gripping each forearm
Credit: Tim_Booth / Shutterstock

This is why, even without a flexion-extension cycle, isometric movements like the plate pinch, farmer’s carry, or deadlift will tax your forearms to a serious degree as they strain to keep your fingers wrapped snugly around whatever you’re holding. 

Forearm Training Tips

Training your muscles properly is an art. This is as true for your quadriceps or shoulder as it is for the tiny muscles in your forearms. While the rules of hypertrophy remain the same no matter what muscle you’re working on, there are unique tactics you can employ when working on your forearms that might improve your results. 

Start Slowly

If you’re brand new to the gym, you probably don’t need to do dedicated forearm work as those muscles work to adjust to the rigors of resistance training

Even if you’re quite comfortable lifting weights already, you shouldn’t dive headfirst into a bunch of bonus forearm work on top of your existing routine. 

Your forearms may be bearing a lot of training volume that you don’t consciously notice, so be sure to add additional work with caution and in small increments. 

Don’t Go (Too) Heavy

Progressive overload is essential to long-term muscle growth, plain and simple. However, the “smaller” the exercise, the harder it will be to add noticeable amounts of weight.

If you’re performing wrist curls with a 10-pound dumbbell, for instance, moving to the 15-pounders represents a 50% increase in resistance — a dramatic jump you would never make on an exercise like the squat or overhead press.

As such, be wary of trying to beef up your forearms via using heavier and heavier weights. You’ll probably get stronger over time, but don’t force the issue. Your form is likely to degrade rapidly and you may even put yourself at risk of injury

Use Strict Tempo

Tempo refers to the cadence at which you lift or lower a weight. While moving fast or explosively is great for developing muscular power, you should take things much slower if you’re training your forearms.

Many of the motor functions your forearms perform are at least partially assisted by the connective tissues in your wrists and fingers. These tendons and ligaments aren’t really susceptible to hypertrophy, but they can bear force.

If you knock out your wrist curls or extensions sloppily, you run the risk of your soft tissues bearing load that should be placed on your muscles. 

Get Creative With Your Equipment

The barbell is the de-facto weapon of choice for strength athletes. Most bodybuilders tend to be quite fond of it as well. However, you may have to use your noodle a bit if you want to comprehensively train your forearms.

Your wrist anatomy is highly individual. The range of motion you have in flexion, extension, or rotation is quite limited when compared against other larger joints, which may make it difficult to feel comfortable performing forearm exercises with a barbell (or even dumbbells).

Don’t be afraid to look beyond free weights. You can train your forearms with cables, resistance bands, lacrosse balls, weight plates, or even a PVC pipe and some string if you have them on hand. 

Forearm Gains Matter

Your arm is more than just your biceps and triceps. Your shoulders — and, obviously — your forearms contribute a great deal to how jacked you look overall.

In fact, the appearance of your forearms signals that you work hard in the gym even if you aren’t at the gym (or the beach). Whether you’re wearing a t-shirt or a button-down with the sleeves rolled, your forearms are on full display more often than you might think. 

If they’re the first impression you make with your physique, you’d better make sure they’re up to snuff. 


1. Lee JH, Kim TH, Lim KB. Effects of eccentric control exercise for wrist extensor and shoulder stabilization exercise on the pain and functions of tennis elbow. J Phys Ther Sci. 2018 Apr;30(4):590-594. doi: 10.1589/jpts.30.590. Epub 2018 Apr 20. PMID: 29706713; PMCID: PMC5909009.

Featured Image: Ruslan Shugushev / Shutterstock

What is Gear in Bodybuilding? – Fitness Volt – Fitness Volt

Gear in bodybuilding is usually a touchy-feely subject. And no, we’re not talking about weightlifting belts, wrist or knee wraps, or lifting straps — although those are gym gear too. This article covers the big boy gear, also known as performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), juice, roids, gym candy, or the most common, steroids.

Although you now have many pro bodybuilders discussing gear use on social media — which is a big shift from a few years ago — you shouldn’t expect to walk up to a random jacked dude in your gym and ask him what gear he is on — unless you want to walk away with a black eye. 

While bodybuilders generally get a bad rap for steroid use, it is (and has been) used in almost every physical sport you can imagine. 

Interestingly, a bodybuilder wasn’t the first pro athlete to use steroids. A major league baseball player (MLB), Pud Galvin is arguably the first athlete to use a performing-enhancing drug (PED). 

Galvin allegedly started using gear in the 1870s. He used a type of testosterone known as the Brown-Sequard elixir that reportedly elevated an individual’s testosterone levels and improved their physical performance. 

It’d be safe to say that the gear did wonders for Galvin as he was MLB’s first 300-game winner and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1965. 

Trivia: Anabolic Steroids Control Act was passed in 1990 and establishes penalties for physical trainers or advisers who endeavor to persuade or induce individuals to possess or use anabolic steroids. The law was changed after Ben Johnson, a sprinter, tested positive for the steroid stanozolol at the 1988 Olympics. 

Related: Gyno in Bodybuilding: The Ultimate Guide

Note: The content on Fitness Volt is for informative purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice to diagnose, prevent, and/or treat health problems. If you’re suffering from a health issue, are pregnant, or are under 18 years old, you should consult your physician before starting any new supplement, nutrition, or fitness routine.

What is Gear?

What is Gear

Anabolic steroids or gear can help boost muscle mass, performance, and endurance and shorten recovery time between workouts. 

Anabolic steroids, also called anabolic-androgenic steroids (AASs), can play different roles in a bodybuilder’s regimen. Most pro bodybuilders use different drugs, depending on the time of the year — if they’re in the off-season or prepping for a show. 

A bodybuilder might be on three to four steroids while prepping for a show. There are different steroids to help you build muscle and put on size, lose body fat, and achieve a diced look on stage. 

However, during the off-season, bodybuilders usually limit their gear use to one to two compounds, one of which is generally testosterone. 

Some pro bodybuilders allegedly use synthol to make their muscles look round and full, but that is a story for some other day. 

Most synthetic drugs are artificially derived from testosterone — the male hormone responsible for sexual development and function in men. Plus, it is important for promoting and maintaining muscle growth and developing secondary male sex characteristics, such as a deepening voice and facial hair.

How Do Steroids Work?

Many people think of steroids as magic potions that work even if you smell them from afar. However, that’s not the case. 

Steroids travel through the bloodstream to the muscle tissue, where they bind to an androgen receptor. The drug can subsequently interact with the cell’s DNA and stimulate the protein synthesis process that promotes cell growth.

The effectiveness of gear in bodybuilding depends on several factors, including the ingredients and the source of the steroids and your training, diet, and recovery routine. 

PEDs are illegal in most parts of the world, and being caught while in possession of roids is a felony. The steroids legal situation has created a black market for the compounds, and most drugs on the market are of substandard quality and might do more harm than good.

Bodybuilder Doing Exercise

Types of Gear in Bodybuilding

Do some digging, and you’ll quickly learn there are more steroids on the market than you can remember. 

Strength athletes use gear for the following three reasons:

  • Building muscle
  • Improving strength and endurance
  • Burning fat

Plus, there are steroids that can help with recovery and metabolic enhancement, but they aren’t as popular as the roids used for the three goals mentioned above. 

Steroids can be taken in the following ways:

  • By mouth
  • As pellets implanted under the skin
  • By injection
  • Through the skin as a cream or gel

Oral forms are taken by mouth and include:

  • Fluoxymesterone (Halotestin), or “Halo”
  • Mesterolone (Proviron)
  • Methandienone (Dianabol), or “Dbol”
  • Methyltestosterone (Virilon)
  • Mibolerone (Cheque)
  • Oxandrolone (Anavar, Oxandrin), or “Var”
  • Oxymetholone (Anadrol), or “Drol”
  • Stanozolol (Winstrol), or “Winny”

Injectable forms include:

  • Boldenone undecylenate (Equipoise), or “EQ”
  • Methenolone enanthate (Primobolan), or “Primo”
  • Nandrolone decanoate (Deca Durabolin), or “Deca”
  • Nandrolone phenpropionate (Durabolin), or “NPP”
  • Testosterone cypionate (Depotest)
  • Testosterone enanthate (Andro-Estro)
  • Testosterone propionate (Testex)
  • Trenbolone acetate (Finajet), or “Tren”

How Do Athletes Use Gear in Bodybuilding

As much as we hate to admit it, genetics play a vital role in bodybuilding and can dictate how your professional bodybuilding career might turn out. It is one of the aspects of the sport that you have no control over. 

Bodybuilder Taking Capsules

But why are we talking about genetics while discussing how bodybuilders use gear, you ask?

Well, there are many factors that can influence how a bodybuilder uses roids to improve their physique, including their genetics, musculature, current condition, goal physique, and timeline. 

Different patterns of steroid use include:

  1. Cycling: In this, a person usually takes gear in cycles of 6 to 12 weeks — known as the “on” period, followed by four weeks to several months off.
  2. Stacking: It involves using several different types of steroids and supplements to improve their effectiveness. 
  3. Pyramiding: Some folks gradually increase their drug dosages to a peak, then reduce the amount.
  4. Plateauing: It includes alternating, overlapping, or substituting with another steroid to avoid developing a tolerance.

Side Effects of Using Gear

Using steroids is complicated. Even taking prescription drugs might not work out as intended and might result in the following side effects:

In men:

  • shrinking testicles
  • decreased sperm count
  • baldness
  • development of breasts
  • increased risk for prostate cancer

In women:

  • growth of facial hair or excess body hair
  • decreased breast size
  • male-pattern baldness
  • changes in or stop in the menstrual cycle
  • enlarged clitoris
  • deepened voice

In teens:

  • stunted growth (when high hormone levels from steroids signal to the body to stop bone growth too early)
  • stunted height (if teens use steroids before their growth spurt)

However, research suggests many people overdo roids by 10 to 100 percent while taking the compounds for non-medical purposes, including bodybuilding. [1]

Using steroids can lead to permanent health damage, even after you stop using the compounds. Some of the more serious health issues resulting from roid use are:

  • kidney problems or failure
  • liver damage and tumors
  • enlarged heart, high blood pressure, and changes in blood cholesterol, all of which increase the risk of stroke and heart attack, even in young people
  • increased risk of blood clots

Must Read: 21 Bodybuilders Who Died of Heart Attack

Risks of Gear in Bodybuilding

The use of anabolic steroids can lead to many temporary and permanent health problems. In fact, the sport of bodybuilding is dealing with a host of deaths allegedly due to drug use.

Bodybuilder Posing At The Mirror

One of the most common problems with using gear is that over time, the human body builds tolerance to the roids and many folks end up taking larger doses to get the same effects.

Another common issue with taking synthetic testosterone is that it might cause your body to stop producing natural test, and you might have to resort to injecting T for normal body function — even after quitting bodybuilding.

Furthermore, most bodybuilders, especially newbies, consume steroids on a trial-and-error basis, meaning they switch up drugs, doses, and timings based on information gained from other athletes, coaches, websites, or gym bros.

Besides the physical damage, roid use can also mentally affect an individual. Some of the common mental side effects of using gear include:

  • paranoid (extreme, unreasonable) jealousy
  • extreme irritability and aggression (“roid rage”)
  • delusions—false beliefs or ideas
  • impaired judgment
  • mania

Check Out: The Tragic Downfall of Ms. Olympia Runner-Up Denise Rutkowski

Contemplating Using Gear for Bodybuilding?

“The answer is already no.”

The above advice came from none other than — the three-time Classic Physique Olympia champ, Chris Bumstead.

Chris Bumstead
Chris Bumstead

We could tell you if starting your first steroid cycle is a good idea or not, but we’d rather let Bumstead do the talking. After all, who better to answer this question than an Olympia winner. So here it goes:

“The answer is no. I have this new theory where if you have to ask someone else if you should take something potentially harmful to your body, the answer is already no,” Bumstead said.

“That decision has to be your own, and it has to be a well-educated decision, because people like bodybuilding for a few years, and they take steroids and they’ll be like ‘I don’t actually like bodybuilding.’ Then they’ll quit bodybuilding, and their body is still f—ked up from the juice or whatever they took in the meantime.”

“So that decision, you shouldn’t ask anybody that. You should just know, and you should be f—king dedicated to wanting to do it. So no, you shouldn’t if you’re asking me that.”

If you thought this was it, we have some more bad news. Although roids might not be as addictive as psychedelics, they can lead to a substance use disorder. It is one of the reasons why many bodybuilders never stop using gear, even after hanging up their bodybuilding boots. 

Given below are some of the most common withdrawal symptoms associated with using gear:

  • depression
  • fatigue
  • restlessness
  • loss of appetite
  • sleep problems
  • decreased sex drive
  • steroid cravings

First, there is no guarantee of safety while using gear. Plus, if you’ve decided to take steroids, you should get complete blood work done at least once every couple of months by a registered physician. You should also only take roids based on prescriptions. 

Check Out: Chris Bumstead Gives Advice On Starting Steroids

Other Gear in Bodybuilding

If you were looking for lifting gear that could improve your performance in the gym but somehow ended on this article about steroids, here are some articles you might find helpful instead:

Wrapping Up

It’s no secret that most pro bodybuilders, including the ones you see on the Olympia stage, use steroids. However, most elite bodybuilders do not recommend starting using roids to other people, especially hobbyists. 

There is no going back after you start your first cycle. Roids have health implications and are not worth it for people who do not want to turn pro and compete at the top level. 

Remember: Steroids are no magic pills. To make it to the top level in competitive circles, you need to have the genetics, grit, and work ethic of a champion. 3CCs of a drug alone isn’t going to cut it. 


  1. NIDA. Anabolic Steroids DrugFacts. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/anabolic-steroids. August 12, 2018, Accessed July 25, 2022.

12 of the Biggest Men’s Bodybuilders of All Time – BarBend

Bodybuilding is a unique sport. Competitors’ “skills” are displayed by the physique they bring onstage. Several factors help determine the winner of a bodybuilding contest — definition, symmetry, proportions, posing ability, and, yes, size. If all things are equal between two competitors, then the bigger bodybuilder (almost always) wins.

The list of 12 bodybuilders below knew size was their greatest strength, and they brought a lot of it. Some may have been more successful than others, but their presence on bodybuilding’s grandest stages will be remembered in the sport’s zeitgeist forever.

[Related: Hunter Labrada Explains What Optimal Rest Periods Are]

Lou Ferrigno

The film Pumping Iron was technically a docudrama; certain aspects of the 1977 movie were exaggerated. One fact was true — when Lou Ferrigno competed at the 1975 Mr. Olympia, he was the largest elite bodybuilder in the world at that time.

At 6’5” tall, Ferrigno competed at 275 pounds, which was unheard of then. Despite a 40-plus pound weight advantage, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s muscle maturity, shape, and conditioning won him his sixth Mr. Olympia in South Africa.

Fast forward to the 1990s. Ferrigno returned to the sport with hopes of winning the Olympia. He finished 12th in 1992 and 10th in 1993, but the latter appearance was significant. He told the late bodybuilding journalist Peter McGough of FLEX Magazine that he was north of 290 pounds the day before the contest. The number may not have ever been verified, but his size was memorable for the fans in attendance and competitors who stood alongside him.

Kai Greene

When Kai Greene rose to prominence in the late 2000s, many fans compared his back development to eight-time Mr. Olympia champion Ronnie Coleman. He had the overall size to match as well. At 5’8”, Greene would weigh as much as 300 pounds in the off-season. He maintained that size as late as 2019, according to RxMuscle. 

At the 2014 Olympia press conference, Greene referenced having a 40-pound weight advantage over then-champion Phil Heath. Bob Cicherillo, the Olympia MC, estimated that Greene weighed around 285 pounds. Greene placed second to Heath in 2014, his last Olympia appearance.

Greene translated his size, development, and popularity from bodybuilding into success on the silver screen and featured in projects like Netflix’s Stranger Things and the film Pogaru.

Dallas McCarver

When the late Dallas McCarver took the stage at the 2012 North American Championships, he captured the eyes and hearts of many fans. He won the contest to earn his IFBB Pro Card and was seen immediately as the next great star in bodybuilding because of his size and strength.

In 2016, the six-foot-tall Chicago Pro winner stepped on the scale at 329.8 pounds with clothes and shoes on. “Big Country” McCarver built expectations for multiple Arnold Classic and Olympia wins in the future. Unfortunately, a year later, McCarver passed away at age 26.

Greg Kovacs

Canada’s Greg Kovacs hit the scene in the mid-1990s and became an instant sensation. He was prominently featured in magazines for his immense size. At 6’4”, Kovacs weighed as much as 420 pounds in the off-season and competed north of 300 pounds several times. There is no footage of Kovacs stepping on a scale, but he did measure his arms on camera — a legitimate 25 plus inches flexed, as you can see in this video below from Nick’s Strength and Power:

While Kovacs was an attraction for his size, it never translated to onstage success. His highest placing was 13th at the 2004 Arnold Classic. He passed away at 44 in 2013 due to heart failure.

Paul Dillett

The competitors chasing six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates in the 1990s thought they had to match Yates’ size. Very few were able to until Paul Dillett came along. At 6’1”, Dillett was best known for his unique vascularity and immense size. He got as heavy as 310 pounds in the off-season. The heaviest he reportedly competed onstage was 285 pounds.

His signature win was at the 1999 Night of Champions. His highest placing at the Olympia was fourth in 1993 and 1994. He retired in 2006 and founded the World Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation as a promoter. 

Gunter Schlierkamp

Schlierkamp came to the United States from Germany. He was the 1993 World Amateur Bodybuilding Champion and had the potential to make a significant impact at the professional level. However, it took almost a decade after turning pro for him to have success.

After receiving a special invite to the 2002 Olympia, Schlierkamp finished in fifth, showing he had the size to hang with Coleman. Fast forward less than one month later, and Schlierkamp showed up at the 2002 GNC Show of Strength, weighing almost 290 pounds. The judges were impressed with his front poses and rewarded him with a higher rank than the reigning Mr. Olympia in that contest, making him a top contender for the 2003 Olympia.

At 6’1”, Schlierkamp reportedly competed north of 300 pounds on more than one occasion. He placed fourth at the 2005 Olympia, won by Coleman. He never got as close to the title again and retired in 2006. Since his retirement, Schlierkamp has appeared in numerous films, including the 2006 movie Beerfest.

Markus Ruhl

No bodybuilder may be as known for a signature pose as Markus Ruhl was for his version of the crab most muscular. Ruhl was considered by many to be the freakiest bodybuilder of the 2000s because of his tremendous trapezius, shoulder, and arm development. His upper body generally stood out in any lineup he was in.

According to Ruhl, he weighed 280 pounds at the 2000 Olympia and would stay in that range for most of his career. He got as heavy as 320 pounds in the off-season. He retired in 2010 after two pro wins, the most significant being the 2002 Night of Champions.

[Related: Mike O’Hearn: Success in Fitness Comes From Staying Consistent, Not Expecting Recognition]

Ronnie Coleman

No article on the biggest bodybuilders can exist without the mention of the eight-time Mr. Olympia, Ronnie Coleman. Coleman wasn’t initially considered a mass monster until he placed second to Schlierkamp at the 2002 GNC Show of Strength. Coleman went to work that off-season and showed up at the 2003 Olympia weighing 287 pounds at pre-judging, according to his coach, Chad Nicholls, and reported by FLEX Magazine. Coleman dominated the contest.

One year later, Coleman returned to the Olympia even bigger. When his music started for his posing routine, the voice of Olympia promoter David Pecker can be heard announcing the champion as 5’11” and 295 pounds. Once again, Coleman won with a perfect score.

Coleman retired in 2007 with eight Olympia titles and is still considered by many to be the strongest bodybuilder of all time.

Rich Piana

Rich Piana never competed in a professional show. Still, he accumulated a large social media following thanks to his size, diet habits (which included a pint of ice cream every night), and his intense training methods, including an eight-hour arm workout that we viral.

Piana held nothing back when talking about how he developed his physique, which was around 315 pounds at his biggest. When he would diet down for photo shoots, he would reach a weight of 290 pounds. 

In 2017, Piana collapsed and entered a medically-induced coma; he passed away about two weeks later at 46 years old.

Jamie “The Giant” Christian

In a sport dominated by men under six feet tall, Christian, aka “The Giant”, is 6’5” tall and is still actively competing at the time this article was written.

As of July 2022, Christian, who calls himself the tallest IFBB Pro League Men’s Open athlete, reported weighing 315 pounds while prepping for the 2022 Yamamoto Cup Pro in Italy. His coach and fellow IFBB Pro bodybuilder, Miloš Šarčev, feels Christian has more potential to grow.

Olivier Richters

You can say you won the size game when recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records (GBWR). The organization credited Olivier Richters as the world’s tallest actor and bodybuilder. At 7’2”, the “Dutch Giant” has a lot of muscle on his frame, weighing 342 pounds when he was measured for the GBWR honor.

Richters is more active in the film world than in bodybuilding, appearing in hit films like Marvel’s Black Widow and The King’s Man. He doesn’t consider himself a competitor, but it’s hard to omit him from a list of notable mass monsters when he holds the Guinness world record.

Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay

Last but certainly not least is the two-time reigning Mr. Olympia, Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay. Big Ramy made a big first impression in his pro debut at the 2013 New York Pro. Some competitors avoided standing next to him because they didn’t want to appear dwarfed by the massive man from Egypt.

Elssbiay is reportedly 5’10” and has weighed as much as 341 pounds in the offseason. He has competed on the sport’s biggest stage, weighing above 300 pounds. He weighed 316 pounds at the 2015 Olympia, but the extra size didn’t help his cause. Heath would win his fifth of seven Olympia titles while Elssbiay finished in fifth.

Elssbiay focused more on conditioning in recent years but still carries a lot of muscle. The 290-pound ripped version of Big Ramy was impressive enough to win his first Olympia in 2020. He defended his title one year later with five additional pounds on his frame. Time will tell if he tries to compete at or above 300 pounds again but remains one of the most successful big men in the sport’s history.

Featured image: @theofficiallouferrigno, @ronniecoleman8 on Instagram