What turns a standard body into one that ripples with pure, hard muscle? What does it take to join the ranks of the bodybuilding elite? And what does it take to make the transition from great to ‘the greatest’?
Good genes, a no-nonsense hard work ethic and a few bodybuilding supplements, certainly. But there’s something else too, because as we’ll discover, size isn’t everything. Apply yourself in the right way, and you’ll sculpt a physique that’s much more than just big.
Here we take a look at some of the most awesome bodies in bodybuilding and ask – who is the greatest?
Think biggest is best? Think again. Take a look at these sorry looking guns.
The Guinness Book of Records puts the girth of Moustafa Ismail’s arms at a whopping 31”. But are they real? Moustafa strongly denies allegations that his insane biceps and triceps are the product of implants or substance abuse.
Instead, he claims his vast muscles are the result of pumping iron and chowing down on a daily diet that includes 3 lb of chicken, 1 lb of fish and multiple protein shakes. We don’t care how the Egyptian came by his arms, in our considered opinion they look terrible.
So who is the man when it comes to dips, curls and presses?
You want arms? You want arms like these; huge but honed and in perfect proportion. Bobby Robinson is more than a bodybuilder. Growing up amid the racial prejudices of America’s deep South of the 1950s and 60s, this remarkable man prevailed against the odds to win the IFBB Mr America, Mr World and Mr Universe titles in 1975, the year he went pro.
Numerous titles followed and though he finally retired from professional bodybuilding at the age of 56, Bobby is still ripped now, at age 67. He’s an icon and a huge encouragement to the rest of us. You want arms to be proud of? Do it the hard way.
Take a look at the greats of bodybuilding’s golden age; you’ll find chiseled physiques, but compared to today’s standards, relatively puny legs. Fast forward to today and athletes like Jay Cutler boast thighs measuring 30 “, a stat he shares with Branch Warren and others. Kai Green’s thighs are purported to be even bigger at 33 “.
But are they the best legs ever? Not necessarily. In our view, that plaudit goes to another superstar of a bygone era, Tom Platz. His creed was high intensity, high reps, and boy did it pay off. The man’s legs were way bigger and better defined than most of his contemporaries, and still measure up, even when compared to the current batch of big guys.
To acquire a pair of pecs that defy the imagination of most mere mortals takes dedication. To achieve the strength, depth and definition of a truly great set of pecs means hitting the free weights like never before. There’s no magic here, just barbells and dumbbells.
To our reckoning, most modern lifters can’t hold a candle to the best of the past. And who is that? Do you really need to ask? The best pecs of all time belonged to the one, the only, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
When it comes to the rear view, as far as we’re concerned, there’s only really one guy in the running, and that’s Big Ron.
The former police officer has eight Mr Olympia titles under his belt – and would be a contender in any category – but we’ve decided to award it to the big man for his back. This takes dedication.
OK – so muscles are our game – but not even we’re prepared to say who has the best backside. Let’s just give this award to the Belgian blue.
Do you agree with our selections? And if not, who do you think has the best body ever? We’d love to hear from you, and we’re sure you’ll agree; it’s hard graft that builds great bodies.