A lot of people who lift weights do so just to get fit, lose weight, and tone up. If asked, many would even say they never want to look like a bodybuilder. Some people are pretty turned-off by huge muscles and may even worry that they’re going to get “too big” if they start taking their weights workouts more seriously.
The reality is that it takes a tremendous amount of time, effort, and commitment to build bodybuilder-sized muscles, and genetics play a part too. Not everyone is genetically equipped to build massive muscles. However, bodybuilding is a sport of extremes, and some people want to get as big as humanly possible.
Interestingly, in the sport of bodybuilding, the biggest competitor isn’t always the winner, and some of the biggest bodybuilders are not all that successful. Shape and conditioning are just as important as big muscles for winning bodybuilding shows. However, for some, getting bigger is all that matters, even if it keeps them off the winner’s podium.
So, who is the biggest bodybuilder ever? That’s a tricky question to answer. Some bodybuilders exaggerate their stats, and their weight and mass during the off-season are often significantly greater than when they’re competing or in a gym.
So, rather than crowning the biggest bodybuilder ever, in this article, we’re going to list 18 of the biggest, most muscular bodybuilders ever to walk the planet Earth!
The 18 Biggest Bodybuilders Ever
Here are 18 of the biggest bodybuilders ever. Each one is freakishly muscular and would make even the most in-shape person feel skinny. They’re not all famous, and some have never won an important bodybuilding title, but each one is a bonafide mass monster!
1. Ronnie Coleman
Ronnie “the King” Coleman is an eight-time Mr. Olympia winner who managed to combine massive muscle size with a very balanced physique. Ex-policeman Coleman is known for being one of the strongest bodybuilders ever, and he is considered by many to be the best, most successful bodybuilder of all time.
Born in Monroe, Texas, in 1964, 5’ 11” Ronnie Colman weighed a massive 300lbs. during competitions and bulked up to 330lbs during the off-season.
2. Dorian Yates
Six-time Mr. Olympia winner Dorian Yates was one of the first of the new breed of mass monsters. He combined colossal muscle mass with very low body fat to win almost every competition he entered. Known for his back development, Yates was virtually unbeatable during his professional career.
Born in 1962, Brit Yates was 5’ 10” tall and weighed a massive 275lbs for contests and 310lbs during the off-season.
3. Dave Palumbo
Bodybuilder Dave “Jumbo” Palumbo certainly lived up to his name. Despite never winning any professional titles, he was still one of the biggest bodybuilders ever.
He even had a medical condition named after him – Palumboism – which is the term used to describe the distended abdomen many huge bodybuilders experience when they use excessive amounts of insulin and growth hormone.
Born in 1968 in Manhattan, New York, Palumbo regularly competed at a weight of 300 lbs, despite only being 5’ 9” tall.
4. Markus Ruhl
Markus Ruhl was a bodybuilding fan favorite, even if the judges tended to overlook him in competitions. Known for his incredible muscle size and ripped condition, Ruhl started out as a football player, but a serious knee injury ended his dreams of playing in the NFL.
Turning to bodybuilding, this mass monster frequently came close to winning several professional titles but never quite reached the top.
Born in Germany in 1972, 5’ 10” Markus Ruhl tipped the scales at 320lbs during the off-season and competed at 282lbs.
5. Dennis Wolf
Like his compatriot Markus Ruhl, German bodybuilder Dennis Wolf is another European giant; however, in competition, Wolf has been a little more successful. Known by the fans as Dennis the Menace or the Big Bad Wolf, he turned pro in 2005, won the Arnold Classic in 2014, and came fourth in 2015’s Mr. Olympia. Dennis Wolf was born in 1978 in Tomok in Russia. He’s 5’ 11” and weighed 300lbs in the off-season, dieting down to 260lbs for competitions.
6. Lou Ferrigno
Lou Ferrigno is one of the few old-school bodybuilders to make it onto our list. Featured alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Pumping Iron, Ferrigno had a successful bodybuilding career but is probably best known for his role as TV’s The Hulk.
6’ 4” Ferrigno weighed 285lbs at his competitive best and tipped the scales at 330lbs during the off-season. Lou Ferrigno was born in Brooklyn in 1951 and last competed in 1995 in the Mr. Olympia masters division.
7. Greg Kovacs
Greg Kovacs made a career from being one of the biggest bodybuilders never to win a professional competition, with his best result being 13th in the 2004 Arnold Classic.
Weighing in at over 400lbs, it’s not unfair to say that Kovacs was probably the biggest bodybuilder ever. Born in Niagara Falls, Canada, in 1968, 6’ 4” Kovacs competed at 330lbs but ballooned up to over 420lbs in the off-season.
8. Mamdouh Elssbiay
Better known as Big Ramy, this Egyptian Bodybuilder is one of the few people to ever have competed at a ripped weight of over 300lbs.
He won the Mr. Olympia title in 2020 and is the biggest man to lift that title. A pro since 2013, Big Ramy’s competitive weight is an astonishing 316lbs, which increases to 350lbs in the off-season. He was born in 1984 in Al-Sebea, Egypt. Before turning to bodybuilding, Big Ramy was a fisherman!
9. Gunter Schlierkamp
Often known as the Gentle Giant, German Gunter Schlierkamp was a dominant force in bodybuilding from 1990-2006.
While he didn’t win many titles, he was always a crowd favorite and was usually in the top ten of most of his competitions.
Born in Olfen, Germany, in 1970, Schlierkamp’s heaviest competitive weight was 297lbs and weighed 345lbs in the off-season.
10. Paul Dillet
Paul Dillet had a long and successful bodybuilding career lasting 20 years. He appeared in five Mr. Olympia contests, with the best placing of fourth in 1994.
Known for being one the leanest men on stage, Dillet was very vascular and always turned up in phenomenal shape. Known as Jurassic Paul, Dillet was born in 1965 in Montreal, Quebec. He weighed 285lbs for competitions and 330lbs in the off-season. He retired from bodybuilding in 2006.
11. Zack Kahn
Having massive muscles doesn’t make you invincible, as injury-prone IFBB professional bodybuilder Zack Kahn knows all too well. A pro since 2009, Kahn has not competed much because of recurring injuries, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming one of the biggest bodybuilders ever.
If he ever manages to shrug off his injury problems, he will be a force to reckoned with! Born in 1980 in Kashmir, Pakistan, 6’ 0” Zack Kahn’s competitive weight is 285lbs, which increases to 325lbs during the off-season.
12. Nasser El Sonbaty
Egyptian IFBB pro bodybuilder Nassar El Sonbaty was born in 1965 and competed in 53 bodybuilding shows over the course of his long career.
Known as the professor for his bespectacled, studious look, his best result was winning the 1999 Arnold Classic and second place in the 1997 Mr. Olympia.
Nassar El Sonbaty competed at 290lbs and weighed 330lbs during the off-season.
13. Jean-Pierre Fux
Jean-Pierre Fux’s bodybuilding career was tragically cut short by serious injury when he was pinned under 700lbs while squatting for a magazine photoshoot. The Swiss athlete never returned to competition but, at his prime, was almost always the biggest bodybuilder on stage.
He was born in Brig, Switzerland, in 1968 and weighed an impressive 275lbs at his competitive peak and 325lbs during the off-season.
14. Roelly Winklaar
Roelly Winklaar, known as the Dutch Beast, is one of the biggest bodybuilders competing today. With several top-five placings in the Mr. Olympia, he is very much the people’s champion, and his fans believe he has the potential to lift the winner’s crown.
A former gymnast, Roelly Winklaar, is a very popular bodybuilder with a massive following. Born in 1977, 5’ 7” Winklaar weighs a massive 320lbs during the off-season, slimming down to 285 for shows.
15. Jay Cutler
Four-time Mr. Olympia winner Jay Cutler is one of the biggest bodybuilders to hold the title. After turning pro at the age of 23, Cutler has had a very successful bodybuilding career and was the man who dethroned legendary champion Ronnie Coleman (#1 on our list).
Born in Sterling, Massachusetts, in 1973, Jay Cutler’s off-season weight is 310lbs, and he competed at a lean 280lbs when at his peak.
16. Dennis James
Not to be confused with Dennis Wolf, professional bodybuilder Dennis James is also known as Dennis the Menace.
Born in Heidelberg, Germany, at 5’ 7”, James might not be the tallest bodybuilder, but he was undoubtedly one of the most muscular.
His best result was fourth in the 2003 Mr. Olympia, but almost always broke into the top five of whatever events he entered.
Dennis James competed at a weight of 260lbs but bulked up to 300lbs during the off-season.
17. Kai Greene
Known as the Predator, Kai Greene is an IFBB pro bodybuilder, actor, and artist. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he’s been a pro since 2005 and is instantly recognizable because of his long dreadlocks.
In 2014, he came second in the Mr. Olympia and has many IFBB titles to his name, including the Arnold Classic. Kai Greene weighed 310lbs in the off-season at his biggest and best, cutting down to 285lbs to compete.
18. Craig Golias
Not all bodybuilders train to compete. Some do it simply because they want to look HUGE! One such man is Craig Golias. After a very short career, Golias quit competitive bodybuilding in 2010 and has since focused on living up to his nickname – Goliath.
Photos of Golias look photoshopped – he’s that big. And while he might not have the most aesthetically pleasing physique, it’s hard to deny that he’s one of the biggest bodybuilders ever.
6’ 3” American Golias was born in 1983 and is reported to weigh an astonishing 350lbs, making him bigger than most competitive bodybuilders. However, when he did compete, Goliath weighed a measly 200lbs – the lightweight!
Love it or loath it, bodybuilding is a fascinating sport. It’s incredible to see how training and nutrition (and maybe a few performance-enhancing drugs!) can turn a once regular-looking person into something resembling a real-life superhero.
That’s not to say such extremes in muscularity are healthy. Many of the bodybuilders on this list are no longer with us, victims of their extreme lifestyles and steroid abuse. There is a vast difference between training with weights for health and pushing the extremes of muscular development.
While most of us will never weigh 275lbs+ or more and may not even want to, there is no denying that huge bodybuilders are a fascinating sight.