Ask Joe The Pro Vol. 10 - Who Are The Top 5 Naturals?

Natural bodybuilder Joe the Pro Ohrablo has the run down on all past Mr. Olympians, as well as the top 5 natural bodybuilders currently competing.

Sergio OlivaHey Joe how would rate each past Mr Olympia? What are their strengths and weaknesses? – Tyrell Jones

Wow good question and I’m excited to answer it! Let’s take a look at each former Mr. O starting with the very first:

Larry Scott - The inventor of the “Scott bench”, arguably the best arms in bodybuilding ever. Larry Scott was the very 1st Mr. Olympia. With long, thick biceps and full triceps Larry was ahead of his time. Of course dating back to the 60’s Larry, like most bodybuilders of that era, sported a much ‘softer’ look to their muscles compared to the guys today. Some old school guys prefer that look actually. I think Larry looked great and overall was very thickly developed with some of the sickest guns that the Olympia stage has seen!

Sergio Oliva - Speaking of arms, Sergio’s arms were so long and thick he had to cut the sleeves off most of his shirts! Arthur Jones said Sergio Oliva had the greatest genetic potential he has ever seen in a bodybuilder. Jones actually measured Sergio’s arms cold and pumped and noted there was no difference! This means Sergio maximized his potential for arm mass. This guy looked insane! Wide flaring lats and shoulders tapering down to a tiny waist and thick legs, Sergio was wayyyy ahead of his time. He made the “victory pose’ famous and even beat Arnold back in the day. Sergio tried to make a comeback in the 80’s but he was past his prime. I would be very curious to see how Sergio would fare in today’s bodybuilding world with his freaky genetics.

Arnold - What can anyone say about Arnold? The Austrian oak put bodybuilding on the map with the filming of ‘Pumping Iron”. Probably the best chest and biceps in bodybuilding of all time (yeah even better then Scott’s lol). Arnold motivated millions of bodybuilders to take up the iron game. Arnold had charisma many of his predecessors didn’t have and helped bring bodybuilding to the mainstream public. Arnold didn’t have the greatest thigh mass, except during the 1974 Mr. Olympia where he weighed close to 240 pounds. Arnold also didn’t have the roundest delts or widest back, but He was Arnold.

I felt Arnold was handed the Olympia title in 1980 when he made his infamous comeback. There was a classic confrontation backstage because Arnold tried asserting that they should go back to weight classes. When Mike Mentzer challenged Arnold, he made a comment about Mentzer’s gut, lol. This almost caused a fist fight and began a bitter feud between the two that lasted decades. Arnold was not the clear cut winner in 1980. Tom Platz, Mike Mentzer, Boyer Coe and Chris Dickerson all looked better then Arnold that year. But hey this is bodybuilding, which is a subjective sport, and crap like that happens all the time!

Franco Columbu - Amazing lat spread, sick chest separation and nicely peaked biceps, Franco was Arnold’s little “side kick” that managed to nab two Sandows in 1976 and 1981. Like Arnold’s controversial win in 1980 Franco was clearly handed the title in 1981. Franco showed up that year with one mangled leg (as he broke a leg during a strong man contest) and severe gyno, that the crowd gasped and was in shock when an unbelievable Tom Platz was knocked to third place and Franco nabbed top honors. Like I said in this sport “shit happens”.

Frank Zane - “Mr Proportions”, Frank Zane brought a new look to the Olympia title. With shredded proportions and professional, classy presentation, Frank Zane was a great champion. Not the biggest of bodybuilders, but his classical lines, proportions and razor sharp conditioning usually meant “lights out’ for his competition of that time.

Chris Dickerson - Only one of 3 men to only win the title once, Chris was pretty proportional with the exception of his unbelievable calves. He had nice lines and great shape. He wasn’t a mass monster nor was he in sickening condition like Zane, he was and is a classy man and always held his head up high onstage.

Samir Bannout - Like Dickerson, Samir won the title once. A great V taper and overall shape and thickness, Samir looked great! He had flaring lats and overall a good look. However after Lee Haney came onto the scene and made improvements after losing in 1983. Samir was never quite able to capture his best form and catch up to Lee.

Tom PlatzLee Haney - TOTAL LEE awesome Lee Haney. What can one say about 8 time Mr Olympia champion Lee? I remember watching Lee Haney’s workout on ESPN, I also had all of his training tapes. Lee had unreal chest, shoulder, trap and especially BACK development! Lee was a little light in the legs and although made improvements to his arms, they still slightly lagged from his crazy torso. “Stimulate not annihilate” was Lee’s motto. Lee is a great human being, who is a family man and brought respect and class to the title!

Dorian Yates – Probably one of the reasons why I am so into bodybuilding, Dorian was a great bodybuilder. The black and white “before and after’ pics Yates put out in Flex magazine left everyone wondering who would be second at the 1993 Mr. O. Probably the best back ever in bodybuilding, along with other thickly developed and dense muscle, Dorian preached crazy high intensity workouts with ample recovery and low volume. Dorian was trained a few times by the late Mike Mentzer, however Yates (in my opinion) perfected the “Heavy Duty” training system by hitting each muscle group from various angles. By the end of his career Dorian suffered some severe injuries, one being a torn left biceps. It has been said by many Dorian was given the Title that 1st year he tore his biceps with Shawn Ray deserving to win. I think Dorian could have lost the title twice in my opinion. But in 1992 and 1995 he was unbeatable. No questions asked.

Ronnie Coleman - LIGHT WEIGHT! Ronnie Coleman was one of the few bodybuilders to rise up the ranks at the Olympia year after year. In the early days of being a pro Ronnie placed dead last at the O. Fast forward a few years later and Ronnie TIED Lee Haney’s 8 time record! Ronnie also made some ridiculous claims in the 90’s that he was natural. Lol. Sorry Ron no go there man! Ronnie had the most insane body parts ever seen on the Olympia stage. Disgusting lats, biceps, chest, legs. He had it all! Super crazy strong also, Ronnie can be seen on you tube deadlifting and squatting something like 800 pounds mere weeks away from the O. At one Olympia he competed at almost 300 pounds! Ronnie like Dorian suffered some injuries that ruined his physique. His lats suffered some kind of damage causing one side to look flat while the other flared out. Ronnie lost twice after that injury coming in second once and fourth another. He is making a comeback this year and it makes me sad because unless his issues are 100% fixed he will not place well.

Dexter Jackson - The last of the 3 to win the title once Dexter has phenomenal shape, conditioning and overall balance and proportions. He has been shunned for being so consistent, lol, it's almost as if the judges are bored with his look cause he’s always in shape. Dex really has no weak points. I think he can WOW the judges if he comes in 5-8 pounds lighter and pushes how shredded he can get. He will never be a mass monster so the only logical thing for him to do is push the shredded envelope even more!

Jay Cutler - The man is a beast. The only guy to lose and regain the Olympia title Jay brought such an impressive package to the 2009 stage I was floored. Jay came in grainy, massive, thick and confidant with a new slick hair do, lol. Jay has come into the O in the past very soft and watery. If he can duplicate his 09 form this year he will be unbeatable.

Never quite made it but should be mentioned. The following are bodybuilders who either should have or could have won the title.

Flex Wheeler – Probably the best shape of any pro bodybuilder ever. Cartoon like shape, billowing muscle bellies, sick abs, round full muscle groups. Also one could say the best rear double bicep of all time. Flex should have been Mr. O on more then one occasion. He always had some issues with water in the glutes and hams, but despite that one could argue him winning the O a few times.

Shawn Ray - Like Dexter, Shawn was extremely consistent! He was a short guy that had crazy, thick round muscles with full, shredded quads. Shawn never placed lower then 5th in the Olympia and could have won the show at least 3 times. He is a great ambassador to the sport and is still very active on forums.

Mike Mentzer - I could argue Mentzer winning the 1980 Mr. O. Crazy shredded triceps and huge calves, Mike was also shredded to the bone at the 80 O. Some say Mike never recovered from that loss and I don’t blame him. Mike was screwed royally. Despite his crazy ideas that bodybuilders should eventually cut down their training to once every 8-12 days, lol. He should have been Mr O at least once!

Tom Platz - If you’ve been involved in bodybuilding for a while and never heard of Tom Platz, I’m going to slap you, lol. Tom Platz to this date had the biggest, most insane looking, most impressive pair of legs to EVER step on a bodybuilding stage! Known for crazy leg feats like squatting 225 for 10 minutes straight or 23 reps with over 500 pounds, Tom was a hard working, super intense bodybuilder that also had a great business sense! Tom marketed himself great in his hey day. Tom should have won the Olympia at least twice, one being against Franco in 1981.

Lee Labrada - The CEO or “Lean Body”, Lee Labrada was known for great proportions, classic lines and classy presentation. Lee Labrada could have beaten Lee Haney I believe once or twice. He had marvelous shape and also placed in the top 5 pretty consistently for many many years.

Rich Gaspari - One of the first bodybuilders to bring shredded glues to the stage, Rich was crazy shredded in the 80’s. Another super intense bodybuilder that always came in sliced and vascular, one could argue Rich should have bested Haney once or twice.

Ask Joe The Pro!

Ask Joe the Pro

Joe, have you ever met any IFBB pros? If so who? – Dave Tutle

I have been involved in this sport for close to 20 years. I’ve been to the 1993 Ms. Olympia, I’ve been to seminars, amateur shows where pros guest posed, etc. Here is a list of all the pros I’ve met.

  • Dave Fisher and his ex-wife Sue price at Muscle Mag International on Long Island where I was manager.
  • Porter Cortrell – Guest posing, a very nice guy!
  • Alq Gurley - At the 93 Ms O in the lobby. Very funny, cool guy.
  • Ron Love - 93 O. Humble, quiet guy.
  • Shawn Ray - 93 O... lol, a lil cocky but cool.
  • Flex Wheeler - 93 O, shy, but cool.
  • Amy Fadhli - Figure pro at Powerhouse gym.
  • Chris Cormier - Twice, once at 93 O, second at that Power House Gym signing. Awesome guy!
  • Debbie Kruck - At the 93 O. Nice woman and hot, lol.

Joe, who do you think are the top 5 natural bodybuilders in the world today? – R Poffo

Very good question, and this topic was actually a major discussion on Natural Mr. Olympia John Hanson’s Natural Bodybuilding podcast. This is my take on the top 5 natural bodybuilders right now. This is based upon physique, contest wins and the overall package in my opinion.

  • 5 - Jim Cordova. One of the freakiest natural guys around Jim is one massive looking dude. I saw massive “looking” because he competes at only 165 pounds but looks well over 200 pounds! He’s won the WNBF Worlds several times and if he can bring up his chest and calves some more could eventually become undefeated onstage!
  • 4 - Dave Goodin. The “Texas Shredder” comes in consistently shredded to every show he does. He is an unbelievable poser and hides his weak points perfectly! Dave Goodin also went down in history as the natural bodybuilder who has made the most amount of money from competing. He looks fantastic and has recently gotten his IFBB pro card as a natural competitor!
  • Doug Miller3 - Jon Harris.Jon brings such a fantastic, shredded physique to the stage. With unbelievable proportions, classical lines and extreme sharpness, Jon looks phenomenal. Another lighter guy that looks 15 pounds heavier then he actually is I actually like Jon Harris’s physique better then Jim’s. I just feel it flows better and overall he looks more shredded!
  • 2 - Kiyoshi Moody. Can you say freakazoid? The guy is an animal! He has balls of steel because he competes in tested and untested shows! He is massive with shredded, sick striations all over! He has set aim on doing every natural show he can for the season and supposedly abandoning the Team Universe in favor of becoming the best natural bodybuilder in the world! He has a slew of shows lined up and I wish him luck! The guy looks unreal!
  • 1 - Doug Miller. Nobody is touching this guy! NOBODY! Doug sports sickening striations all over his physique. His glutes look like they were carved out with a knife, his back has striations and knots all over, his quads flare out tremendously and his chest has splinters all over. Doug’s package that he brought to the 09 Yorton Cup was jaw dropping! And that look that he brought is one I will strive for until I’m doing competing!