Written by Team MD
29 April 2017


Favorite Physiques of All Time

Shawn Ray & Kevin Levrone Choose Theirs



We asked Shawn and Kevin who, in no particular order, are your ten favorite physiques of all time? These are their answers.



Bob Paris: The combination of his shape, condition and overall professionalism drew me into the sport on the basis of his movie-star good looks and athletic appeal.


Mohamed Makkawy: No one was a more masterful poser and larger-than-life athlete onstage than the smallest guy onstage, with respect to Mohamed. He was the master of illusion, and posed larger than life. Shape, symmetry and proportions were second to none.


Frank Zane: Frank was a true “artist.” His color, his dryness, his condition and presentation were all a study in perfection. He did more with less than all the bodybuilders prior to him.


Lee Labrada: An inspiration for professionalism on every level. From start to finish in every contest, Lee was more prepared to endure the contest than anyone I ever competed against. I used Lee as a measure of how far I could go. He made me a more complete bodybuilder because of his attention to detail.


Lee Haney: Lee was a role model in many ways for me, especially with regard to what he transformed his body into, and at the age he did it. Lee was an “old soul,” a fatherly figure in speech, but was no-holds-barred in competition. He raised the level of competition based on his size and shape.


Francis Benfatto: Pretty body and even prettier presentation. Slight on muscle, but big on presentation and condition. If Benfatto had come along five years earlier, he could have pushed Samir and Dickerson for an Olympia title.


Serge Nubret: I like the way Serge, at 6 feet tall, presented his body onstage; with the small waist, full pecs and hanging traps. The legs were slight, but they were in proportion to his athletic build. His physique actually looked achievable to the naked eye, but we all know genetics play a huge part in what’s actually attainable.


Arnold: What can you say about Arnold that hasn’t already been said? You can note his physique, charisma, size, proportions, marketability, work ethic, etc. Arnold was the complete package and smart, too— which made everyone want to be like him one day. I was no different!


Samir Bannout: Mr. Olympia 1983, the year I began bodybuilding, set the stage and tone for what I thought was possible. We were the same height and weight, so “The Lion of Lebanon” made me believe that if he could do it, so could I. He was the complete package for me, and a role model for what I wanted to be like. His condition and presentation in 1983 set in motion my own career to want to do what he had done.


Flex Wheeler: The epitome of what I wanted to look like in 1993, when he won the Arnold Classic. I was blessed to watch the transformation and growth of Flex’s fantastic career, one that is inspirational if you know his humble beginnings. He raised the bar for me to a level I never thought I could go, because every Olympia contest I prepared for, my goal was to look as he did in 1993.



Lee Haney: Lee had such incredible structure and shape, but it was also the fact that he was so well grounded that made him a role model for me. Lee was a man’s man, and we all looked up to him.


Lee Labrada: Lee was a smaller version of Haney. He was a master of presentation, and was always consistently in peak shape. Like the other Lee, Labrada was a man of integrity and was totally professional in every sense of the word.


Dorian Yates: Dorian ushered in a whole new era with his overwhelming development, and that crazy back of his. He kept getting bigger as his reign went on, starting off around 230 and eventually closing in on 270. We all tried to get bigger as he grew, hoping to keep up. His personality was like a piece of steel: it couldn’t be bent or shaped. And of course, his physique was a product of his brutally intense training style. Dorian raised the bar for all of us in the ‘90s.


Shawn Ray: Even though Shawn didn’t have me in his top 10, I have him in mine (it’s OK, buddy … I forgive the oversight!) He had one of the shapeliest and well-balanced physiques ever seen, but it was his posing that always captivated me. He had a certain style and class that no one else could duplicate. I also think he was one of the first pros to use more modern music like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, when others had been posing to orchestral arrangements like movie themes.


Flex Wheeler: Perfect balance and shape, and those amazingly round muscle bellies! Like Shawn, I think we were all blown away by his look at the 1993 Arnold Classic. What an illusion those full muscle bellies and that crisp condition created. He was only 214, but you would have sworn he weighed 230 or 240. I was able to watch him grow and mature as both an athlete and a man throughout his career, as we battled onstage many times.


Ronnie Coleman: Dorian grew over his years as Mr. O, but Ronnie exploded! At his best, Ronnie was the biggest, thickest, freakiest bodybuilder we ever saw, with balance and condition, too. His muscles were like giant slabs of hanging meat. I remember looking at him and thinking, I doubt a silverback gorilla is any thicker than this man. Sometimes I would get so freaked-out backstage, I would think, what is that I am looking at? That can’t be a real person! Ronnie took it to a level so high that we haven’t seen anyone else since him even match it.


Arnold Schwarzenegger: I was and am a fan of Arnold the bodybuilder, but it was his personality and posing that struck me even more so than his muscles. Arnold knew how to put on a real show and have the audience on the edges of their seats, waiting for his next pose. He was the first champion to bring entertainment to the sport, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude.


Lou Ferrigno: Lou was so tall and massive. I always felt he had the physique to be Mr. Olympia several times if he hadn’t gone to Hollywood to be “The Incredible Hulk.” I had the honor of competing with him at the Mr. Olympia when he came back in 1992, and again in ’93. In 1993, he was 315 ripped pounds at 6’5”, and that was one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen.


Chris Cormier: The Real Deal was one of the best and most consistent competitors I ever knew. He competed in a ton of shows, and you always knew that if you slipped up, Chris would be right there to beat you. I called him “The Black Panther,” because he had that combination of power and grace. Chris had a tremendous physique, with almost-perfect structure and shape, along with plenty of mass.


Rich Gaspari: Last, but not least, I have to give it up for The Dragonslayer. First off, Rich is the man who first displayed striated glutes, setting an entirely new standard for condition that the sport had to follow from then on. Secondly, what a warrior! Rich managed to be second in the world only to the great Lee Haney, and fought him tooth and nail, despite giving up height, width and mass. What an inspiration for all the underdogs out there.







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