T Nation

Strongest Pro Bodybuilder

Currently, who is the strongest Pro Bodybuilder? What are his numbers?

My guess is that it’s Ronnie Coleman…


Ronnie does come from a powerlifting background and has put up some big numbers in those days, so you could be right. But there are also some big mothers like Greg Kovacs at 6’5 and 330lbs at COMPETITION weight(let alone offseason) that I would assume put up some monstrous amounts of weight. Funny that back in the 70’s, Franco Columbu who was one of the smalllest pros, was also one of the strongest men in the world, literally. He competed in the World Strongest Man competition in the late 70s.

I’d agree that it’s Ronnie. In his video, you can see him as he DL’s 805 x 2, front squats 495 (?) for something like 8, and benches 200 pound DBs x 12. He’s a monster.

If you believe the old SuckleNeck ads, then Kovacs is the strongest. But that’s garbage. Check out pics of him at the Arnold this past weekend…the man is done–probably couldn’t squat 315.

Yeah, Franco used to DL over 700, I think, at a bodyweight of about 190.

Try to remember that many bodybuilding videos and most photographs use fake plates, so unless you witness the feat first hand, or the results are from a sanctioned meet don’t believe the hype.

I remember reading a “Coleman” article in which he was quoted saying something to the effect of, “Some people lift heavy weight for low reps, others lift lighter weight for high reps. I lift heavy weight for high reps.” That is one of the dumbest things I ever read. After all light and heavy are relative terms.

Eddy Ellwood of England 4 time Mr.Universe pulled 840lbs DL and I am inclined to believe him as he competes in Strongest man, though his grip strength is suspect so maybe he used straps?

Does it matter? Anyone with the knowledge and resources to juice properly and lift weights is going to get strong. Sure, they are at the pinnacle of their sport; they have to pay attention to juice, diet, and training. Lets face it though, without performance enhancing drugs the world’s strongest man takes on a new meaning.

I would love to deadlift 700lbs. Right now, I’ve maxed out at 495 but that’s good for me I guess. Its incredible to me that if I found the resources, jabbing a needle in my ass for a couple of months would break that plateau nicely.


I don’t think so. There are alot of people who take steroids that don’t deadlift anywhere close to 700lbs and some who are clean that do. It’s just not as easy as “jabbing a needle in my ass”, as you say.

Rick J., while I would not testify for Ronnie’s intelligence, I will attest that the weight in the video is real!

Lucid, the points you make are true, but the question is about strong bodybuilders. To exclude juicers would be to not bother asking the question.

pound for pound I think Johnnie Jackson is one of the strongest guys. Ronnie is stronger but outwieghs him by at least 60lbs.

How about Jimmy “The Iron Bull” Pellechia.

Haha. Someone had to say it.

Thats bullshit…watch the video yourself you will see that its real!
Ronnie is probably the strongest bodybuilder but he is getting old now and Nasser El Sonbaty is one strong mother as well!

Mariouz Pojinoski [spelling?]
He’s not a bodybuilder but he sure could be.

I’ll say Franco Columbo-- a badass in the ring as well.


Did you ever see The Iron Bulls video? WOW!

Mariusz Pudzianowski

he is one mean looking dude.

ZEB, I was referring to his “claim” of a 1000 lb bench.

Aye, whats that about Franco Columbo in the ring?
Did he box or something? Didn’t know bout that.

Mariusz was a decent amateur boxer and still trains Kyokushin karate twice a week. 'ard as nails!

I’m with Pricey on this one… Johnnie Jackson puts up some sick numbers. Pound for pound, he is one strong dude. Technically he’s still a rookie too! Give the guy afew years to mature and BOOM, he’ll be opening up some eyes.

That Mari guy is huge, he really should give Pro BB a try!!!

All time: Franco Columbu, Casey Viator, Dorian Yates, Even Arnold was stronger than most of his contemporaries and some of today’s, coming from a powerlifting background as he did (where he met Franco). Generally, any bodybuilder w/ a PL or olympic lifting background would be the strongest of the crop, with more functional, “pure” strength and power.

Current examples on the scene: Ronnie of course, definitely Johnnie Jackson, Joe DeAngelis. Chris Cormier is supposed to be a pretty strong, heavy trainer. Remember strength to weight ratios. All pro bodybuilders are big- it’s the nature of their game. Any they are all on mega gear, more so than most lifters. Yet, many of the “off season” 300 pounders cannot SQ, BP, DL what lifters and strongman their same weight can, and in fact there are many lifters between 148-181 that outlift them. Polliquin once said he knew quite a few 270 lb Olympia contestants that could barely get 315 off the racks in the bench.
Apples to oranges.
BTW, Franco’s best DL was 750. He was the man!