This post will break down exactly how tall most bodybuilders are and if their secret to success might have anything to do with their height.
As you probably have noticed, these behemoths amongst humans are not the tallest guys around. Why though? Is there a reason these guys are all that short? Let’s find out.
Bodybuilding is a sport where the most symmetric, proportionate, and muscular individual takes the title. There is a direct link between muscular development and height, as shorter individuals will always have an easier time looking thicker and fuller compared to their taller counterparts.
But why exactly is that the case?
Do shorter people have a higher rate of protein synthesis, or is it all down to who has a more straightforward job filling out their frame?
Keep reading to find out the average height for a bodybuilder and meet those who refuse to live by those rules.
Table of Contents
What is the Average Height for Bodybuilders?
As open bodybuilders go, the height differences can vary greatly. Some walk around 300lbs shredded, while some barely touch that in the off-season.
The taller bodybuilders will always be heavier and have a more challenging time gaining muscle because their frames are so much larger, requiring more muscle to look full.
The average height for Open male bodybuilders is 5 foot 7 inches, which is remarkably shorter than the average male height in America. There have been taller Mr. Olympia in history, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronnie Coleman. However, the average height for Mr. Olympia seems to be quite a bit shorter.
What Height is Best for Bodybuilding?
The term best isn’t scientific, as it doesn’t have a unit of measure. That being said, there are definite ranges where bodybuilders would benefit from being within.
Being short enough to fill your frame and use that leverage in the gym is advantageous.
Depending on who you ask or study, the best height for bodybuilding seems to be between 5’8 and 5’10. This height allows you to look nice and lean thanks to your tallness while short enough to fill the frame and look complete.
Can Bodybuilders be Tall?
By reading the former sections, your natural reaction would be that anyone over 6 feet would have no future in the sport whatsoever. Of course, we get far taller individuals than this and are still phenomenal bodybuilders regardless.
Bodybuilders can be tall; it depends on how big and symmetric they can become.
Height isn’t always a disadvantage as taller individuals have an advantage in looking leaner with better flow compared to their shorter rivals. Shorter bodybuilders are more likely to look stocky.
The only thing stopping a taller individual from getting on stage is their muscularity level. Being exceptionally muscular is going to allow them to fill their frame. If this is the case, taller bodybuilders have a remarkable ability to dwarf their opponents completely.
Does Height Play a Role in Judging?
Bodybuilding judges have an arduous task, judging someone to the finest detail to see who is worthy of winning or who is possibly even worthy of winning a pro card.
While height isn’t judged, it can play a role in judgment.
Taller individuals will have more flow in posing and possibly more presence on stage. Shorter individuals will have an easier time looking full and being sharper.
While it is impossible to change your height, you can use it to your advantage.
Taller guys are exceptionally good at having better flow in their routine but lack the fullness a shorter physique would bring. If you are taller, don’t try and hide it. Instead, use it to your advantage. Make your double biceps and lat spread as massive as possible, then make sure you have the mass from the sides to win the side shots.
What about 212 Height?
The 212 category is a category that has a specific weight limit – 212lbs. This limit means you will not have a lot of height to play around with if you want to come in remotely complete.
The current 212 Mr. Olympia is Derek Lundsford, who has a height of 5’ 6’’.
The average height for the 212 categories is 5’5’’ – 5’7’’. The 212 category competitors are typically shorter than the Open category but remain just as muscular and dense. 212 competitors are also known for having some of the best conditioning on stage.
Bodybuilding Height Weight Chart
There are no weight and height restrictions for the Open Class bodybuilding. We see a tremendous difference in sizes, from Arnold (6’ 2’’, 235lbs) to Big Ramy (5’9’’, 300lbs). As you can see, the sizes can differ significantly, especially when comparing different eras.
The Classic Division of the IFBB does have a height and weight chart, and looks as follows:
|Up to & incl. 168 cm||Max Weight [kg] = (Height [cm] – 100) + 4 [kg]|
|Up to & incl. 171 cm||Max Weight [kg] = (Height [cm] – 100) + 6 [kg]|
|Up to & incl. 175 cm||Max Weight [kg] = (Height [cm] -100) + 8 [kg]|
|Up to & incl. 180 cm||Max Weight [kg] = (Height [cm] -100) + 11 [kg]|
|Over 180 cm:
a) over 180 cm up to & incl. 188 cm:
b) over 188 cm up to & incl. 196 cm:
Max Weight [kg] = (Height [cm] -100) + 13 [kg]
Max Weight [kg] = (Height [cm] – 100) + 15 [kg]
|over 196 cm:||Max Weight [kg] = (Height [cm] – 100) + 17 [kg]|
Depending on where you weigh in on the weigh-in date, you will be placed in the respective category. Other categories, such as Men’s Physique and Sports Model, follow a similar system.
How Tall and Big are the Pro Bodybuilders?
Bigger than you think. Many people say that Instagram makes you even look smaller and that meeting their idols in real life makes you realize how much effort these guys are putting into their bodies.
The current average Pro bodybuilder has a height of 5’7’’, and weights can range from 230lbs in stage to 320lbs in the off-season. The age of mass monsters started with Dorian Yates in the late 80s, when he introduced a new idea to bodybuilding: be enormous.
Currently, Mr. Olympia is Big Ramy, which, as the name suggests, is a huge human being. We typically see the stature of the current Mr. Olympia trickle down into other categories and federations.
With that being said, there seems to be a rise in more aesthetic bodybuilding, primarily thanks to Chris Bumstead, the current Classic Mr. Olympia.
Is There a Minimum Height for Bodybuilding?
In recent years, the bodybuilding community has grown to exceptional new heights. Being more accepted in mainstream media (partly thanks to social media), it would be no surprise that people of all heights and weights would be interested.
Bodybuilding has no minimum height. If you can throw on a pair of posing trunks and get on stage to do your routine, you can body build.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Bodybuilding Height
Few names carry as much weight as Arnold does in bodybuilding. Arnold has seven Olympia titles and is praised by many as one of the best, if not the best bodybuilder, to have ever graced the stage.
With a more Classic physique by today’s standards, Arnold stands at 6’ 2’’ tall, making him one of the tallest Mr. Olympia competitors ever. Of course, there have been shorter ones like Ronnie Coleman (5’ 11’’) and Lee Haney (5’10’’).
Chris Bumstead Bodybuilding Height
The Classic division was introduced to hark back to Classic Golden era bodybuilding. There are smaller waists and general proportions, greater V taper, and massive quad sweeps. Mustaches are optional.
Chris Bumstead stands at 6’1’’, which is still tall compared to the Open competitors. Chris is the three-time Classic Mr. Olympia and is working on getting his fourth as I type this. His taller physique gives him an edge over opponents, making his flow and size more prominent.
Best David Goliath Bodybuilders
We have seen some fantastic David & Goliath moments on the bodybuilding stage, despite what you may think. Lou Ferrigno, standing at 6’4’’, definitely provided such events in the golden age of bodybuilding; however, the greatest only recently showed its face.
Jamie Christian (AKA The Giant) is a UK-based IFBB Pro standing at 6’5’’, who recently met Shaun Clarida (AKA The Giant Killer), a 212 and open competitor, who stands at 5’1’’.
The picture of these two together is somewhat hilarious but reflects that they can still share the bodybuilding stage even with a significant difference between them.
We would see that shorter competitors win such battles more often than not. The reality is that taller competitors have a tough time filling their frames and then carbing up before the show.
When you weigh 300lbs lean, it takes a lot of carbs to fill you out.
How Tall is too Tall for Bodybuilding?
The term “too this” or “too that” is seldomly found in bodybuilding, as the sport is a quest for being the most of everything physical (being the most muscular, being the leanest, and being the greatest).
There are currently many IFBB Pro bodybuilders who have great success in their careers.
There is technically no “too tall” for bodybuilding. Anyone can become a bodybuilder if they’re willing to work.
If you are on the taller side, your training should reflect that. Using movements that won’t overly tax the back will stimulate the muscles enough to elicit muscle growth. That means you may not squat but prefer leg press due to torque on the lower back.
You will also need to work on your weak areas. Typically, taller competitors have a more challenging time developing great legs and arms, so giving those some extra love in the weight room will go a long way.
So, what is the average height of a bodybuilder? It turns out that the average height for male bodybuilders is about 5’7” and for female bodybuilders, it is around 5’4″. While there are certainly taller and shorter bodybuilders, these averages give you a good idea of where most people in the sport fall on the height spectrum.
If you are looking to become a bodybuilder or just curious about how tall they are on average, now you know.