natural bodybuilders

Biggest and Best Natural Bodybuilders

In this article I’m going to list the 14 best natural bodybuilders in the world.

Well also through in a couple of controversial bodybuilders who we’re not prepared to make a call on. 

Being able to distinguish a real natural bodybuilder from a fake natty is my full-time profession.

I’ve spotted many steroid-users over the years, even those who claimed to be natty. Equally, you might find some names on this list who you thought were taking steroids, but are actually natural.

Note: For a bodybuilder to be included in this list, they’ll have a substantial amount of evidence pointing to them being natural.

Almost every bodybuilder on this list has been accused of taking steroids at some point. However, on the preponderance of evidence, I have concluded that that are natural.  Of course, in the absence of seeing test results, we will never know 100%. Yet, it’s interesting how many people shout “steroids”, and underestimate the power of genetics when it comes to building muscle.

Almost every bodybuilder on this list has been accused of taking steroids at some point, however these claims have no substance. It’s interesting how many people shout “steroids”, and underestimate the power of genetics when it comes to building muscle.

These 14 natural bodybuilders are the epitome of what the human body is capable of achieving without taking drugs. Although it’s possible to look like these guys naturally with years of hard work, training and dieting; it’ll be a longer process because they have world-class genetics.

Even though they have achieved their incredible physiques without taking drugs, that doesn’t mean that you and I can look like them. All of these guys have a huge genetic advantage that, with many years of hard training and dieting, they have maximized to their full potential.

I’ve ranked these bodybuilders in order of biggest to smallest, in terms of muscularity. This has nothing to do with how good they look or how aesthetic they are, but simply their DNA when it comes to building muscle mass.

…With that in mind, even the smallest bodybuilders on this list are yoked.

natural bodybuilders

1. Donte Franklin

donte franklin
Donte Franklin

 

Height: 6ft

Weight: 215lbs

Donte Franklin is what some like to call “a genetic freak”, with his muscle-building DNA being 1 in a million. If he were to take steroids and get shredded to the bone, he’d give any Mr Olympia competitor a run for their money. He’s got the best natty arms I’ve ever seen, thick pecs and a ripped midsection.

There’s no argument about Donte being natural, with him competing in the INBA and NANBF, which are legit natty federations. They conduct multiple tests at random times throughout the year to catch out any potential steroid-users. These include lie detectors, blood tests, urine tests and more.

If you’re juicing you’ll fail at least one of these tests somewhere along the line. You’d have to be naive to compete with these organisations if you’re juicing, as their random testing is close to 100% accurate.

At 18 years old Donte was pretty much the same size as he is today, proving that he was born to be HUGE.

Evidence that Donte Franklin is natural

2. Simeon Panda

Simeon Panda

Height: 6ft 1

Weight: 230lbs

Simeon Panda combines huge mass with aesthetics, resulting in one of the best physiques on the planet.

At 16 Simeon was already a beast and was yet to finish going through puberty. At 20 he was even bigger. Then he didn’t grow much after this, but he later learned how to diet and get shredded. Consequently he landed several lucrative sponsorship deals (including MyProtein).

I analysed pictures of Simeon since he was 16 until today. He’s made all his gains in a natural fashion; at no point did he suddenly blow up and get bigger. And he hasn’t grown much since he finished puberty, giving more credibility to the fact he’s a natural bodybuilder.

Simeon’s passed a lie detector test and sternly denies ever taking steroids (on YouTube).

I sent this YouTube video off to a forensic and linguistic analyst (a human lie detector) and his analysis confirmed that Simeon Panda was being truthful in the video.

…Also it’d be impossible to achieve such a tiny waist on so much gear. He even makes Arnold look bloated.

Evidence that Simeon Panda is Natural

3. Ron Williams

Biggest and Best Natural Bodybuilders

Height:5 ft 11

Weight: 190 lbs

Ron Williams is the most decorated natural bodybuilder in history. Although now retired from competition, Ron has won more than 250 natural bodybuilding competitions, including Mr. Natural World, Mr. Natural Olympia, and Mr. Natural Universe. Here is a list of a few of his titles:

  • 7-time Mr. Natural Olympia
  • 7-time Mr. Natural Universe
  • 7-time Natural World
  • Hall of Fame Inductee (2008) — International Natural Bodybuilding  Association

Ron began bodybuilding at the age if 18 after his boxing coach suggested that he start lifting weights. Around that same time he joined the army, where he competed internationally in a number of sporting disciplines. When he got serious in bodybuilding, his genetic ability soon became obvious. 

Ron has been dedicated to the drug free lifestyle from the very beginning. In fact, he considers natural to not even taking creatine!

Ron has developed a number of very successful careers since retiring from bodybuilding competition. He is one of the leading life and fitness coaches in the United States, being an expert in physiology, diet and nutrition, and fat loss.

Ron is also an inspirational and motivational speaker, as wella s being the pastor of a non-denominational Christian church in Salt Lake City, Utah. As if all that is not enough, he is also an author an inventor. He is the creator of the Iron Chest Master home workout machine.

4. Sadik Hadzovic

sadik hadzovic

Height: 5 ft 11

Weight: 200lbs

Sadik, especially in the offseason, is a BIG boy.

Year in year out he gets ripped to shreds for the Mr Olympia Men’s Physique category, displaying one of the best V-tapers the world has seen. Long before he arrived on the bodybuilding stage he was a model.

In his modelling days he was practically the same size as he is now. If he was taking steroids, surely he would’ve made some significant gains since switching over to competitive bodybuilding (as he’d continue running cycles).

Plus Sadik has no signs of steroid-use including: balding, acne, steroid gut, gyno, 3D delts or huge traps. On top of this, his vacuumed waist would be very difficult to maintain after several years of juicing.

No trace of steroids on Sadik whatsoever.

Evidence that Sadik Hadzovic is natural

5. Jamie Alderton

jamie alderton

Height: 6ft

Weight: 190lbs

Jamie Alderton is a natural bodybuilder from England and is best known for being sponsored by supplement company – Grenade.

At 13 years old, Jamie already had exceptional muscularity for his tender age.

…Even Hercules would be ‘mirin those genetics.

Jamie has competed in the WBFF, Musclemania and BNBF.

BNBF and Musclemania are the the stand out federations here, with both of them being real natural bodybuilding shows. They conduct many different tests at random, so if you’re taking steroids at any point throughout the year, you’re going to get caught.

Jamie also doesn’t have any irregularities when looking at his body; he’s got nice thick hair, small traps, a tight midsection and no gyno or flushed skin. 100% natty.

Evidence that Jamie Alderton is natural

6. Steve Cook

steve cook

Height: 6 ft 1

Weight: 212lbs

Steve Cook is the Batman of the GymShark crew, starring alongside David Laid – aka Robin.

Many natural bodybuilders look swole WITHOUT a t-shirt on, but don’t look that impressive covered up. Steve Cook’s the exception, with his biceps able to bulge out from even the loosest of t-shirts.

Men’s Physique guys also get a bit of stick for wearing board shorts and consequently receive criticism for their ‘chicken legs’. Steve also puts this myth to bed, having tree trunks for legs…yet still in proportion to the rest of his body.

Steve has a gains timeline of a natural bodybuilder too. He was already jacked back in high school when he was playing American football; and hasn’t gained any size since. Since taking bodybuilding more seriously he’s simply become skilled at dieting and learning how to lower his body fat %, rather than adding mass.

Evidence that Steve Cook is natural

7. Mike Thurston

big arms steroids

Height: 6 ft

Weight: 210lbs

Mike Thurston is an English bodybuilder and personal trainer. Mike started to get swole before he even got to secondary school. By the age of 10, he already had a lot of muscle size for his age.

You could see already that if Mike kept developing at this rate he’d evolve into a BEAST.

…And that’s exactly what happened.

Once his teen partying days were over and he started to nail his diet, Mike’s become one of the best natural bodybuilders around.

Like other nattys, he hasn’t grown much since the age of 18 and nowhere in his life did he suddenly shoot up and double in size. All signs of a real natural.

Evidence that Mike Thurston is natural

8. Anton Antipov

anton antipov

Height: 5 ft 11

Weight: 190lbs

Anton Antipov is a model and bodybuilder, who’s competed in the NPC and IFBB divisions and has won several of these competitions. He’s keen to point out that he’s natty on social media and doesn’t mind confronting trolls who suggest otherwise.

In 2004 Anton started lifting weights and began eating more food.

…And the rest is history.

He used to resemble a skinny pretty boy, now he’s transformed into a jacked alpha male. However, even in his skinnier days, where he was barely eating any food, he still had ripped six pack abs and some lean muscle.

Anton’s genetics when it comes to packing on muscle are very strong. When he was out partying, getting drunk and barely getting any sleep, he was still more jacked than 99% of the weight lifting population.

He hasn’t got much bigger since he started pumping iron and quit booze in 2007. A phenomenal natural bodybuilder.

Evidence that Anton Antipov is natural

9. Rob Riches

rob riches

Height: 5 ft 10

Weight: 190lbs

Rob Riches, was once labelled ‘roid riches’ for failing a drugs test. However, despite some bizarre/slanderous rumours of him testing for anavar – this was fake news.

In reality, Rob took a pre workout called Craze, which had been spiked with a stimulant called N,alpha-diethyl-benzeneethanamine. 

Many people heard that Rob had failed a drugs test and went off drawing their own conclusions to what steroids he was running; but all evidence suggests he’s 100% natural (like he always claimed to be).

At just 21, when he signed a contract for LA Muscle, he was almost as big then as he is now. This proves that he’s not gained much size over the last 10 years. One of the biggest signs of someone being a natural bodybuilder is that they fail to grow much after their initial growth spurt of going to the gym. This is also true in Rob’s case.

Rob doesn’t have one steroid symptom on his body; and his traps are relatively small (which is rare for someone on the sauce). Rob’s also competed in the BNBF, Musclemania, UKBFF and NPA (all legit natty competitions) and has never tested positive for steroids.

Rob is one of the most dedicated and knowledgeable bodybuilders in the industry, willing to teach others, giving workout and nutrition advice on his social media channels. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better conditioned bodybuilder than Rob, who rarely ever seems to hover above 7% body fat; despite being in the game for a long time now.

If you’re hoping to catch Rob at an expo and beat him in an ‘ab off’…make sure you’re below 6% body fat!

Evidence that Rob Riches is natural

10. Ryan Terry

ryan terry

Height: 5 ft 10

Weight: 190lbs

Ryan Terry is a sponsored athlete for clothing brand Gymshark, supplement company USN; and is the 2017 Arnold Classic Men’s Physique champion.

Since 2013, Ryan’s gained quite a bit of mass from several ‘Terry Bulks’. However, this is only 10 or so pounds of muscle. Because he’s got a little bigger, some suggest this could be the result of taking steroids, however small increases in mass are perfectly normal for natural bodybuilders to experience.

…Especially when they’re shoveling down food in the off season and increasing their body fat percentage.

If someone’s already had their newbie gains and they blow up by 25-30lbs, it’s normal to be suspicious but Ryan’s gains aren’t dramatic. Plus if Ryan had taken steroids during this period he would’ve gained a lot more size than just 10lbs.

Although the IFBB Men’s physique division isn’t a trusted natural federation, the UKBFF show is, which Ryan has competed in previously vs Rob Riches. He’s not failed any drug tests during his career with the UKBFF or any other organisation.

Evidence that Ryan Terry is natural

11. Connor Murphy

Biggest and Best Natural Bodybuilders

Height: 6ft 2

Weight: 196lbs

Connor Murphy, famous for being a ladies man on YouTube, is also a competitive bodybuilder having competed with the NPC. Connor might not be as shredded as the other bodybuilders in this list, but he’s certainly not lacking when it comes to size and mass.

I’m sure if Connor got even more shredded, his muscles would appear even bigger; as his waist would become more narrow.

I’m confident Connor’s natural as we’ve compiled photos as far back as 12 years old and looked for any abnormal growth spurts. He had big spurts during puberty in both height and mass, however after this his gains have been no different to any other natty.

He started lifting weights halfheartedly and made some gains. Then he started to take it more seriously and upped his volume, so he grew a bit more. But after this he’s plateaud, like many natural bodybuilders do after they experience their newbie gains.

Read full article on Connor Murphy

12. Chris Jones

chris jones

Height: 5 ft 7

Weight: 180lbs

Chris Jones is the bodybuilder behind the YouTube channel Physiques of Greatness. Several of his videos have gone viral and received millions of views online. He’s always been adamant he’s natty and it’s not exactly that hard to believe when he’s black (they have higher level of testosterone) and only weighs 180lbs.

Nonetheless, he’s in great shape and his gains timeline is very believable for a natural bodybuilder. After his newbie gains period, he did some aggressive dirty bulking helping him add another 17lbs of mass. He’s not exactly shredded, but if he drop his body fat percentage by a few digits, he’d look even more insane.

Chris Jones is a good example of the kind of mass you can build when good genetics combine with aggressive bulking and copious amounts of food.

Evidence that Chris Jones is natural

13. Brandon Carter

brandon carter

Height: 6 ft 2

Weight: 190lbs

Brandon Carter is the ripped black dude on YouTube, who tends to pop up every now and again on on advert, trying to sell you his latest fitness program.

Fair play bro, gotta pay the bills.

Brandon’s BIG and has a neatly diced midsection. He may not be the most shredded dude on the planet, but he’s got plenty of mass.

Some gym rats have called Brandon out for taking steroids, however after analysing his body composition ever since he was 16 years old, it’s clear he’s only made small and gradual gains ever since.

By looking at him at 16, he was always going to be swole once he’d finished going through puberty.

He rarely ever bulks up and gains body fat, staying lean all-year round. This shows how good his genetics are; where guys of a similar size have needed to bulk up for in order to attain this much mass.

Read full article on Brandon Carter

14. Jeff Seid

Biggest and Best Natural Bodybuilders

Height: 6 ft

Weight: 210lbs

Although Jeff Seid isn’t the biggest natural bodybuilder in the world, he’s arguably the best when it comes to aesthetics. After looking at his v-taper, chiseled midsection and obliques, you’d be forgiven for assuming he was carved out of stone.

Jeff has some haters who are adamant he’s taken steroids. However, from looking at his gains timeline throughout his life, it’s obvious to me he’s natty. Even from 12/13 years old he was BIG and ripped for his age.

Then from the age of 16, he hasn’t really added any more size or thickness. In fact, he’s barely changed at all – and at this point he hadn’t even finished puberty.

Jeff’s genetics are simply insane. If he hadn’t stayed so lean for the last 6 years (and had bulked up), he’d be even more jacked than he is now.

Read full article on Jeff Seid

And Two Who May Be . . .

1) Mike O’Hearn

mike ohearn

Height: 6 ft 3

Weight: 247lbs

Often referred to as ‘Mike O’Tren’. Mike gets trolled daily by people calling him a ‘fake natty’, however there’s plenty of evidence to suggest he’s telling the truth.

Firstly, Mike was MASSIVE at just 14 years old. This is nowhere near the end of puberty, with hardly any lifting experience under his belt – yet he was already a monster. This shows that Mike really is a freak of nature.

Like Donte, Mike’s also passed INBA tests, winning 4 titles with the bodybuilding federation.

Firstly, you’d never compete with the INBA to begin with (if you were on steroids) because you’d get caught. Secondly, even if by a miracle you didn’t, you wouldn’t risk it in the first place because they have a ‘hall of shame’ page on their website where they list athletes who’ve failed their tests. So you’d effectively be risking your career by competing with these guys.

Also Mike doesn’t have any steroid symptoms present on his body and his muscle proportions are typical of a natural bodybuilder (average traps and deltoids).

On the other hand . . .

Mike is bigger than many IFBB pros who we all know have been on steroids for decades. Though just an inch taller, he has more muscle on his frame that Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime. That has got to raise some doubts. 

As well as having a massive physique, Mike is also extremely strong. He’s been known to bench 505 pounds for reps, which is unheard of for a natural athlete. 

So, what do you think. Is Mike O’Hearn natty or not?

Evidence that Mike O’Hearn is natural

2. Jeremy Buendia

jeremy buendia

Height: 5 ft 8

Weight: 180lbs

In the off season Jeremy’s a mass monster, and when it comes to competition – he’s also the most shredded guy on stage. His discipline and hard work has resulted in him being a dominant force in the IFBB Men’s Physique division; winning the competition 4 years in a row.

At 17, in high school, Jeremy was already a unit. Actually since then he hasn’t gained much size at all, he’s just learned how to get shredded. His shoulders are pretty weak in comparison to his other muscle groups, which is why he lacks a little definition in this area. You won’t see a guy on steroids with weak shoulders; because on the juice your shoulders literally turn into boulders within a few cycles.

Also Jeremy is very light, especially when he steps on stage, clocking in at just 165lbs. This is another indication that he’s a natural bodybuilder, as guys on the sauce will retain large amounts of fluid.

Jeremy simply has world-class genetics for bodybuilding. When you combine this with a warrior-like work ethic, it’s not hard to work out why he’s such a formidable champion.

On the other hand. . .

If you’ve ever seen pictures of Buendia in the of season and compared it to when he’s in competition shape, you’ll see  dramatic difference. It seems a lot like he’s gone off the juice during that off season. There are also some pictures floating around of Buendia with what looks a lot like gynecomastia, which is a classic indication of steroid use. 

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Jeremy Buendia was running some type of steroid cycle. What do you think?

Evidence that Jeremy Buendia is natural

Best Natural Bodybuilder Ever

Rating the best natural bodybuilder of all time is a difficult task. Bodybuilding is a subjective sport so everyone will have their own favorite. That being said, many people would immediately put Mike O’Hearn at the top of the all time best natural bodybuilder list. That’s hardly surprising. If O’Hearn truly is natural, he deserves to be known as the greatest natural guy ever. The problem is that there is more controversy about Mike O’Hearn’s claims to never taking steroids than there is about any other bodybuilder who has ever lived. For that reason, we have chosen to exclude O’Hearn from our calculation. Same deal goes for Jeremy Buendia.

When it comes to guys who there is no controversy about as to their natural status, the greatest all-time natural bodybuilder is Ron Williams. In terms of titles won, Ron is untouchable. This guy has claimed in excess of 250 natural bodybuilding titles, including being crowned Natural Mr. Olympia 7 times. Ron is  now retired but during his long competitive career he was so strict on his self imposed natural status that he refused to even take creatine.

Ron is the first and only athlete to receive the Natural Bodybuilder of the Decade award.

Best Bodybuilders Today

When it comes to rating the best bodybuilders today, comparing natural and juiced athletes makes no sense. It is like comparing apples with oranges. Non-natural athletes are always going to be much bigger and freakier than their natural counterparts. As a result we are going to give you  our best non-natural and the best natural bodybuilder separately.

Best Non-Natural Bodybuilder

Big Ramy

Having just claimed the 2020 Mr. Olympia, Big Ramy is currently the greatest bodybuilder on the planet. Ramy, real name Mamdouh Elssbiay, is of Egyptian origin. He burst onto the internatiional scene in 2013, where he made an immediate impression due to his huge size and shape. It was acknowledged that, if he was able to get that perfect combination of size, shape and conditioning down pat on competition day, he would be virtually unbeatable. Ramy finally achieved that goal on December 20, 2020. On that day in Florida, he defeated both reigning Mr. Olympia Brandon Curry and returning 7 time champ Phil Heath. Ramy looks set for a long reign as Mr. Olympia!

Best Natural Bodybuilder

We believe that the best natural bodybuilder currently is Simeon Panda. This British native has an incredible physique, with one of the most impressive shoulder to waist ratios that you will ever see. The guy has stellar genetics combined with an awesome work ethic and commitment to his craft. As well as being a top level competitive natural bodybuilder, Simeon also judges bodybuilding shows and owns his own sportwear company.

As of 2020, Simeon is 34 years of age. He stands at 6’1″ and competes at between 225 and 235 pounds. In 2013, he won the European natural bodybuilding championship, thereby earning Musclemania pro status.

Natural Bodybuilding Over 50

Natural bodybuilding takes more commitment, hard work, patience and dedication that taking the non-natural route. This is especially true if you are over the age of 50. When you enter into your 5th decade, you will experience some definite signs of aging that will make it harder for you to gain muscle. These include a lowering of your body’s natural production of testosterone and human growth hormone. You will also gradually lose the muscle mass that you have accumulated over your lifetime. Of course, weight training and eating a high protein diet can help counter these effects but they will not disappear completely.

Natural bodybuilders over the age of 50 need to train smart as well as hard. In order to protect their joints they should cut out exercises that are going to unduly stress their joints and ligaments. These include the shoulder press (replace it with side lateral raises), squats (replace it with leg extensions but only come up to 80 percent extension) and preacher curls (replace them with  alternate dumbbell curls).

As an older bodybuilder you should also include a full range of reps schemes in your workout from very high (50 reps) to very low (4 reps). Rest up to 2 minutes between sets. On each succeeding set increase the weight slightly.

Natural bodybuilders aged 50 or over should train on a 3 on, 2 off program. Here is a sample routine:

Day One: Chest / Back

  • Decline Dumbbell Press (30 degree angle) – 50/20/10/8/8/6/6/4/4
  • Decline Cable Press – 10/10/10
  • Hover Push Ups – 1 x failure
  • Lat Pull In –  50/20/10/8/8/6/6/4/4
  • Dumbbell Shrugs –    25/20/15

Day Two: Biceps / Triceps

  • Alternate Dumbbell Curls (Standing) – 50/20/10/8/8/6/6/4/4
  • Cable Preacher Curls – 10/10/10
  • Triceps Pushdowns (facing away from machine) – 50/20/10/8/8/6/6/4/4
  • Decline Lying French Press (Skull Crushers) – 20 /15 /10

Day Three: Legs / Shoulders

  • Leg Extension – 50/20/10/8/8/6/6/4/4
  • Low Cable Squats – 10/8/6/6
  • Leg Curls (Seated) – 50/20/10/8/8/6/6/4/4
  • 45 Degree Leg Press Calf Raise – 50/30/25
  • Side Lateral Raise – 50/20/10/8/8/6/6/4/4
  • Seated Front Cable Press – 10/10/10
  • Reverse Flye Cable Crossover – 20/20/20

Summary

Here’s a recap of the list:

  1. Donte Franklin
  2. Simeon Panda
  3. Ron Williams
  4. Sadik Hadzovic
  5. Jamie Alderton
  6. Steve Cook
  7. Mike Thurston
  8. Anton Antipov
  9. Rob Riches
  10. Ryan Terry
  11. Connor Murphy
  12. Chris Jones
  13. Brandon Murphy
  14. Jeff Seid

And two that we’re not sure about . . .

  1. Mike O’Hearn
  2. Jeremy Buendia

So there you have it, the top 14 natural bodybuilders in the world ranked from biggest to smallest.

Do you know someone who deserves to be on this list (who you think is natty)? Do you agree with the number order? Shoot me a message in the comments box below!

Top 14 Natural Bodybuilders in the World FAQs

Which bodybuilding federations do the top 15 natural bodybuilders compete in?

The top 15 natural bodybuilders on this list have competed within practically all bodybuilding federations around today. Some of the most common federations you’ll see these guys compete in include the IFBB, NPC, INBA, NANBF, WBFF, Musclemania, BNBF, UKBFF, and NPA.

Who among the top 15 natural bodybuilders is considered to be the best?

Among the top 15 natural bodybuilders on this list, Jeremy Buendia and Sadik Hadzovic are recognized as being the top two based upon their achievements in the IFBB.

Jeremy Buendia has competed in the IFBB since 2013 and won the Men’s Physique Olympia title in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Although he never captured the title of Men’s Physique Olympia, Sadik Hadzovic also holds one of the most impressive resumes on this list, earning runner-up in both 2014 and 2015 as well as 3rd overall in 2016 for Men’s Physique at the Olympia.

What are the average height and weight for the top 15 natural bodybuilders?

The average height and weight for the top 15 natural bodybuilders are 6 ft and 202 lbs.

 

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The author

Steve Theunissen
Steve is a former gym owner, a bodybuilder, full time fitness writer and is trained and certified in personal training, nutrition, group fitness, conditioning, and a bunch more!

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