Who Is The Strongest Bodybuilder?
The title of world's strongest bodybuilder naturally goes to one person and then another over a period of time. Some claim to be the strongest bodybuilder, while others prove it through competition, although different competitors have sometimes used different tests of strength upon which to base their claim. The dead lift and the clean and jerk, especially the latter, are usually the tests of strength upon which a title is based.
Former 98 Pound Weakling - For many years, Charles Atlas, of magazine advertisement fame, was considered the strongest bodybuilder around. Much of this of course was self promotion, and Atlas himself never made the claim, although he probably didn't deny it either, and remained well into his advanced years a very fine specimen of a man.
The Terminator To Superman To The Hulk - One of the more famous bodybuilders of recent time, a bodybuilder-turned-movie actor-turned-politician is Arnold Schwarzenegger. The one time Mr. Universe still looks like he could fit the role, and do well in competition should he choose to. Steve Reeves, who played Superman, did not of course have super-human strength, but certainly was world-class as a professional bodybuilder. Jay Cutler and Lou Ferrigno are two others well known in the bodybuilding profession, the latter currently holding the Mr. Olympia title. Ferrigno won both Mr. America and Mr. Universe titles, but gained his greatest fame in his portrayal of The Incredible Hulk. There are career paths for bodybuilders beyond bodybuilding itself.
A distinction can often be made between the greatest bodybuilder who wins contests based solely upon muscle size and definition, and the strongest bodybuilder. Having the greatest muscle definition does not by any means indicate an ability to possibly approach a clean and jerk record. Big muscles are by definition strong muscles, but not necessarily always powerful muscles, which require specialized training to be able to lift heavy weights for several repetitions, as is often required in competition.
What These Guys Can Do - Greg Kovacs is regarded by some as being the greatest bodybuilder currently competing, and some consider him to be the greatest of all time. Kovacs, who weighs in at 350 pounds, sports a 70" chest, and 26" arms. To give you some idea of what one considered to be the world's strongest bodybuilder is capable of, consider the following (don't try these at home).
For the incline-bench press, Kovacs has pressed 675 pounds for 6 repetitions. He has lifted 455 pounds for 6 repetitions in the military press. His leg press best effort is 2000 pounds, 19 repetitions, and his best effort at bent-over barbell rows is 6 repetitions of 495 pounds. As far as the dumbbell curl is concerned, 10 repetitions at 120 pounds is all he could muster.
What Did You Do In High School? - Mention should also be made of Mark Henry, who certainly qualifies as one of the strongest bodybuilders ever. In the squat, Henry lifted 953 pounds, while still in high school. That was a high school record. He also dead lifted 903 pounds, just 20 pounds short of the existing world's record, and as an Olympian could clean nearly 500 pounds in the clean and jerk.
Something Not Everyone Can Do - Should you desire to establish a mark as the world's strongest bodybuilder, you would face a long road of hard and intensive training, and at some point would have to make a choice between focusing on muscle definition and muscle power. It probably goes without saying that genetics plays a rather vital role in bodybuilding, with most of us rarely reaching a level at which we could clean and jerk our own weight, or even come close, and will have to settle for simply looking somewhat fit and muscular, which isn't all that bad either.