I have been watching a lot of podcasts recently with both the current and retired professional bodybuilders. The question that they are all asked towards the end is who would be their top six bodybuilders of all time. I have been thinking about who my top five would be and I have found it harder to decide who to leave out as opposed to who I would put in. I have already written posts about some of my top five which should make it easier however below you will find my top five:
1. Sergio Oliva. Sergio Oliva holds the distinctions of being the second ever winner of the Mr Olympia contest, one of only three men to defeat Arnold Schwarzenegger in a bodybuilding contest and is also the most genetically gifted bodybuilder ever. His son, Sergio Oliva Junior currently competes in the IFBB.
2. Steve Reeves. Steve Reeves was the first true bodybuilding superstar. He won every contest available in the 1940’s and 1950’s, one of the first bodybuilders to move onto a career in movies when he played Hercules and had a successful writing career. If I could look like any bodybuilder it would be Steve Reeves.
3. Dorian Yates. Dorian Yates is England’s most successful bodybuilder with six consecutive Mr Olympia wins. The only Mr Olympia contest he lost was his first in 1991 when he placed second to the great Lee Haney who won his eight and last Mr Olympia before retiring. Dorian Yates was a true innovator when it came to bodybuilding. He took Mike Mentzer’s Heavy Duty Training principles and perfected them by taking what was useful for him and discarding what didn’t work for Dorian Yates.
4. Arnold Schwarzenegger. This was an easy one. Without Arnold Schwarzenegger bodybuilding would not have come as far as it has today. I like to think of Arnold as the Mohamed Ali of bodybuilding in that he knew how to promote not just himself but bodybuilding through movies, politics and by creating and promoting the Arnold Classic competition.
5. Dexter Jackson. No professional bodybuilder has won more contests then Dexter Jackson. Part of this is because there are more competitions that bodybuilders can enter now as opposed to when Steve Reeves was competing, partly due to the length of Dexter Jackson’s competitive career. Dexter Jackson’s first bodybuilding contest was the 1992 NPC Southern States where he placed third in the lightweight class. At the 2019 Mr Olympia he placed fourth. Keep in mind that Dexter Jackson is Fifty years old. Another reason is that Dexter Jackson is incredibly consistent with his conditioning. Dexter Jackson is known as, “The Blade” since he is always in great condition. Despite all his success Dexter Jackson is still incredibly humble.
I really wanted to make a top six however there were so many contenders such as Lee Haney, Reg Park, Mike Mentzer and Ronnie Coleman that could be included that choosing five was difficult enough. If I was to make a top six of each decade then all of them would be in the list for their respective era’s. Mike Mentzer was the first winner of the Mr Universe with a perfect score. Lee Haney was the first man to win eight Mr Olympia titles. Ronnie Coleman is the only other eight times Mr Olympia winner and in 2002 became the first person to win the Arnold Classic and Mr Olympia in the same year. Reg Park was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s idol, a true English Gentleman and took over from Steve Reeves in the role of Hercules.