When you think of the Mr. Olympia contest, most likely you think of great arms. After all, from Larry Scott to Arnold to Ronnie Coleman, most Mr. O’s had amazing arms. No doubt many of the contenders had great arms also. Yet we’re interested in the men that did whatever it took to win. In this article, we will look at the men with the best arms to ever stand on the Olympia stage and win Mr. Olympia classic arms!
A Look At All Mr. Olympia Winners
Before we get started, let’s look at a brief history and the men that have won. This contest came about because Mr. Universe winners had nowhere to go. We can thank Joe and Ben Weider for coming up with the idea. The Mr. Olympia contest was meant to be bodybuilding’s Super Bowl. It was a way to grow the sport of bodybuilding and put it in the big leagues. Before the first contest in 1965, Joe Weider sent out invitations encouraging all the then-legends to step up and enter. The rest is history.
- Larry Scott - 1965-66
- Sergio Oliva - 1967-69
- Arnold - 1970-75, 1980
- Franco Columbo - 1976, 1981
- Frank Zane - 1977-79
- Chris Dickerson - 1982
- Samir Bannout - 1983
- Lee Haney - 1984-91
- Dorian Yates - 1992-97
- Ronnie Coleman - 1998-2005
- Jay Cutler - 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010
- Dexter Jackson - 2008
- Phil Heath - 2011-17
- Shawn Roden - 2018
- Brandon Curry - 2019
- Big Ramy - 2020-21
The exclusive Mr. Olympia club - only 16 men have held the title!
Mr. Olympia Classic Arms
This list is not all-inclusive. Rather, it’s a look at some of the most famous arms in bodybuilding history.
Scott is the man that single-handedly made the preacher curl a common biceps exercise. He’s also one of the first to have 20” arms. Thanks to his Preacher (or Scott) curls, he is known for huge, full biceps.
The King, in the minds of many. A 7-time Mr. O known for several mind-numbing body parts, including huge arms. Arnold visualized his 22” biceps as mountains when he trained. Some viewed his triceps as weak, but since triceps make ⅔ of the upper arm, they had impressive size. In his “Encyclopedia”, there’s a picture of Arnold posing triceps. One look at that pic and it was clear they were not a weak point!
The stunning Samir Bannout had a balanced yet smaller physique. Coming in at 210lbs, at his best he was ripped to pieces with classic, flowing lines. While he had 20” arms, he may be one of the first Mr. O’s known for both great triceps and great biceps.
Tied with Lee Haney for 8 Olympia wins, Coleman claimed insane 24” arms. That’s not surprising since he was one of the new-era breed of ultra-huge bodybuilders. To put that in perspective, he competed around 300lbs, while Larry Scott at his peak weighed around 198lbs.
Tied with Arnold for 7 Mr. Olympia wins, Heath has a balanced physique with classic lines. His arms are huge, balanced, and striated. In an era of big guys with over-sized abs, Heath’s classic-inspired physique stands out.
Among the smaller guys, when the talk turns to arms, a couple of names are mentioned. Lee Priest, a force competitor, and 7-time 212 division Mr. Olympia champion Flex Lewis. With enormous arms, especially forearms, Lewis stands tall on this list. Few men have forearms like his, and that includes all the bigger guys.
Did We Leave Anybody Out?
No doubt you have your favorite. Maybe it’s Dorian Yates or Jay Cutler. Every Mr. O winner is one of the elite bodybuilders of his time. For one-time winners, it means they could not hold off the onslaught of fierce competition. For multiple Mr. O’s, it means they fought to stay one step ahead of the competition.
5% - Amped Over Big Arms Just Like You!
All of us at 5% Nutrition get hyped over huge, legendary arms. After all, Rich Piana was one of the biggest guys out there, and his arms were massive. He never competed on the Mr. Olympia stage, yet Rich had monster 23” arms. Yeah, we like big arms as much as the next person, and what’s better than the classic arms of Mr. Olympia!