There have been countless bodybuilders over the years, but the 7 bodybuilders on this list stand-out to me as role models to the sport of bodybuilding. Some of these bodybuilders were world-champions; however you do not have to be a top-ranked bodybuilder to be considered one of the coolest bodybuilders of all time.
1. Charles Atlas
Charles Atlas was born in 1892 and died in 1972. During that period Charles Atlas went onto become a household name. Charles Atlas ads could be seen in magazines and comic books all over the Country. The typical ad would show a skinny guy going to the beach or somewhere else and getting beat up and then it would show the skinny boy after he had took the course by Charles Atlas. The secret to Charles Atlas and his bodybuilding course was boasted to be “Dynamic Tension”.
Although Charles Atlas was a great fitness guru he was also one of the best marketers of the 20th century. Charles Atlas probably inspired many more marketers then he did bodybuilders and fitness buffs.
2. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Austria. He became interested in bodybuilding through magazines that were started by Joe Weider. Arnold Schwarzenegger began to lift weights regularly and eventually after winning some competitions he was invited to come over to the United States. He went on to become an ambassador to the sport of weightlifting as well as entering politics as the Governor of California. Oh Yeah, Arnold Schwarzenegger also is one of the biggest action movie stars of all time. Arnold Schwarzenegger is by far the most famous bodybuilder on this list. Arnold Schwarzenegger helped to make bodybuilding a mainstream sport.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has won the Mr. Olympia 7 times. He may have been able to win it more times but he began focusing on his movie career. Arnold Schwarzenegger is by far the most recognizable name on this list of the top coolest bodybuilders of all-time. It does not matter whether you love him or hate him because his bodybuilding reputation has already been casted in gold.
3. Dr. Charles Eugster
Charles Eugster did not start lifting weights until 6 years ago. Charles Eugster will never be a Mr. Olympia. Charles Eugster does not have the huge muscles of a gladiator. The reason Charles Eugster makes the list as one of the coolest bodybuilders is because he did not start lifting weights until he was 87. Today Charles Eugster is 93 years old and still pumping iron.
4. Joe Weider
Joe Weider is considered by many to be the grandfather of modern bodybuilding. Joe Weider created multiple venues of expression for bodybuilders. Joe Weider has inspired numerous people to pursue bodybuilding and has literally changed countless lives through his bodybuilding empire. One person who was greatly inspired by Joe Weider and his bodybuilding magazines was Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold first came to the United States because of Joe Weider and Joe Weider took him under his wing. Joe Weider was able to sell more magazines and make more money because of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but Joe Weider was also a quality role model who helped not only Arnold Schwarzenegger but countless other body builders. Joe Weider is truly a legend within the bodybuilding community and even the fitness world as a whole.
When Joe Weider was 17 years year sold he started his first bodybuilding Magazine and called it “Your Physique”. The magazine was started in 1917 and in 1953 the name was changed to the Muscle Builder. In 1980 the name of the magazine was changed again to Muscle & Fitness. Today Muscle & Fitness is still a very popular magazine and can be found on newsstands for sale almost everywhere in the United States.
Joe Weider was also the person who stated the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding competition and other bodybuilding competitions. Joe Weider has truly inspired countless people to take up bodybuilding and to increase their physical fitness levels.
5. Ronnie Coleman
Ronnie Coleman may be the greatest bodybuilder to ever live. People who are not into the bodybuilding often know of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but rarely do people outside of the bodybuilding world know of Ronnie Coleman, and that is truly a shame. Ronnie Coleman has won the Mr. Olympia title 8 consecutive times. In total Ronnie Coleman has won 26 IFBB titles. Nobody has own more IFBB titles than Ronnie Coleman has.
6. Eugen Sandow
Eugen Sandow is known as the father of modern bodybuilding. Eugen Sandow began posing for crowds when bodybuilding was not very well-known. Thomas Edison made a number of films and one of them featured Eugen Sandow. The Edison film of Eugen Sandow posing his muscles was the first time ever a bodybuilding display was performed on video camera. You can see Eugen Sandow performing in the Edison video above. Each year the winner of the Mr. Olympia is awarded a statue that is modeled after Eugen Sandow. The award given to the winner of the Mr. Olympia each year is called the “Sandow”.
7. Joe Gold
Joe Gold is the primary reason that the fitness and working-out lifestyle became common in the United States. Joe Gold was the founder of Gold’s Gym. Gold’s Gym is still around but Joe sold it many years ago. Almost all of the major bodybuilders worked out at Gold’s Gym in Venice, California. Arnold Schwarzenegger was constantly lifting weight at Gold’s Gym and became very good friends with Joe Gold.
In 1970 Joe Gold sold Gold’s Gym and then he started World Gym. Joe Gold remained active in the fitness World and operated World Gym until he died in 2004. Joe Gold was not only a great businessman but a very loyal person who helped numerous people become healthy. His legacy lives on today with Gold’s Gym spread around the world and his World Gym still in business. Joe Gold was definitely one of the pioneers that helped popularize the mainstream acceptance of bodybuilders and their unique lifestyle.