Top Bodybuilders of the 2000’s
You may have read my article about the top bodybuilders of the 1990’s earlier this year. The article is very popular and Dorian Yates edged out Flex Wheeler and Ronnie Coleman. The 2000’s were characterized by mass monsters. Much of this had to do with the influx of HGH and Insulin. Muscle bellies swelled to unknown proportions but so did their waist lines. Gone were the days of 200 pound bodybuilders (for the most part). I had a hard time ranking the top bodybuilders of the 2000’s because many of them are my favorites of all-time, and had to push aside my emotions and rank them as objectively as possible.
- Ronnie Coleman– The G.O.A.T. No one has brought together a package quite like Mr. Coleman’s. His back, legs, arms, and chest are among the greatest of all time. I prefer his look in the 90’s over his nearly 300 pound frame in the early 2000’s, but Ronnie will always be the greatest of all time. Biggest Win: 8 Time Mr. Olympia, World Record Holder for Most IFBB Pro Wins.
- Jay Cutler– The 4 time Mr. Olympia played bride’s maid to Ronnie multiple times, but did get his due in 2006. Jay had a blocky waist, but had great quads. Jay went on a streak from 2001-2011 finishing either #1 or #2 in competitions. Biggest Wins: 4 time Mr. Olympia.
- Dexter Jackson– The “Blade” is among my favorite bodybuilders of all time. Dexter started off competing at bantam weight in the early 1990’s. This past Mr. Olympia he weighed close to 240 pounds. That is almost 100 pounds of muscle this man has gained in the last 2 decades. The Blade always comes in great shape and has finished in the top 10 in every pro contest he has entered. Biggest Win: 2008 Mr. Olympia.
- Chris Cormier– The “Real Deal” had a long career in bodybuilder where he finished first or second an outstanding 30 times. Chris never did win a Mr. Olympia or Arnold Classic, but came close multiple times. Biggest win: Too many to list.
- Victor Martinez– Victor is still competitively bodybuilding as of 2014. Victor is known for great proportions and a small waist. Victor was very close to upsetting Jay Cutler in the 2007 Mr. Olympia. Biggest Win: 2007 Arnold Classic.
- Gunter Schlierkamp– Gunter was the best tall bodybuilders of the 21st Gunter stood at 6’1 and weighing close to 300 pounds. Gunter had large arms and a tiny waist. Gunter shocked the world in 2002 by winning the GNC Show of Strength and beating Ronnie Coleman. Biggest Win: 2002 GNC Show of Strength.
- Gustavo Badell– The “Freakin’ Rican” rose from nowhere in the mid 2000’s to challenge the greats. After finishing 24th in his previous attempt in the Mr. Olympia, Gustavo shocked the world by finishing 3rd in 2004. Gustavo had great conditioning and proportions when he was on. Biggest win: 2005 Ironman Pro.
- Lee Priest- I had a lot of trouble figuring out where I should place Lee on this list. Part of me wanted to put him at #4. I decided at #8 because of his Mr. Olympia finishes. Lee is the best short bodybuilder of all time (No offense Flex Lewis). Lee has some of the best arms in the business. Lee also is famous for bulking up to incredible weight before dieting down to contest shape (200 lbs). Biggest Win: 2005 Australian Pro in front of his home country.
- Phil Heath- I really didn’t want to include Phil on this list. He is obviously the best bodybuilder of the 2010’s, but after looking at his resume in the 2000’s, I decided he had to go on the list. Phil is genetically one of the most gifted bodybuilders in history. His muscle bellies are among the best since Flex Wheeler. Biggest Win in the 2000’s: New York Pro (2006).
- Branch Warren- I was at the 2005 Charlotte Pro Show providing contest coverage when I saw Branch Warren get on stage. I had met Branch before at the Arnold Classic but didn’t realize how freaky the guy was. Branch is an old school bodybuilder with some of the best legs since Tom Platz. Branch also brings grainy conditioning every time. Biggest Win in the 2000’s: New York Pro (2007).
I was extremely sad not to put Markus Ruhl and Darrem Charles on my top 10 list. Although polar opposites, both were fan favorites of the 2000’s. Markus Ruhl had some of the best pecs and shoulders anyone has ever seen, while Darrem brought an extremely conditioned physique every contest. Melvin Anthony and Dennis Wolf were also very successful in the 2000’s. Another classic physique that would have performed favorably in other decades were Ahmad Haidar.
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