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Who has the biggest chest in the world and the best chest in bodybuilding history?

Find out who has the largest chest in the world and the biggest pecs in bodybuilding history.
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 15th June 2022
A man showing that he has the best and biggest chest in bodybuilding history

If you're curious about who has the largest chest in the world and the best chest in bodybuilding history, then you're in the right place.

This fun and factual guide gives you a rundown of the world's largest pecs. So get ready for slabs of muscle mass, eye-popping striations, and tape-tearing circumference measurements.

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Who has the biggest chest in the world?

Who has the biggest chest in the world? The man who had the largest chest in the world was Robert Earl Hughes, whose chest measured an astonishing 10 feet and 3 inches in circumference, which is equal to 124 inches. [1]

At his peak, Hughes—who was the heaviest person alive during his lifetime—weighed a ginormous 1,071 lbs (486 kg). Knowing this, it's not all that surprising that his chest was approximately three times the average chest size for men!

Who has the biggest chest in bodybuilding history?

Who has the biggest chest in bodybuilding history? The man with the biggest chest size in terms of raw measurement was Lou Ferrigno, whose chest measured over 60 inches in circumference.

In terms of pectoral muscle mass, however, Ronnie Coleman is your man. The eight-time Mr. Olympia's chest measured 58 inches, and although not as big as Ferrigno's measurement in terms of circumference, Coleman likely had more pectoral muscle mass considering that he had a smaller frame than 6 foot 5 Ferrigno.

Who has the best chest in bodybuilding history?

Who had the best chest in bodybuilding history? In the opinion of virtually every bodybuilding judge, enthusiast, and commentator, the man with the best chest ever was Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In terms of shape, size, and aesthetics, Arnold is number one in the chest department. His large ribcage gave him the foundation to sculpt some of the most perfectly proportional and aesthetically pleasing chest muscles in bodybuilding history.

The top 10 best chests in bodybuilding history

Here are the top 10 best chests in bodybuilding history in terms of size, shape, definition, separation, vascularity, and overall aesthetics.

1. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger definitely had some of the biggest pecs in the world. Thanks to his 6′2" frame and large ribcage, Arnold was able to sculpt some of the fullest and most iconic pecs in bodybuilding history.

Arnold's famous side chest pose is engraved into the mind of virtually every bodybuilding fan. His chest was so thick and developed that he could reportedly balance a glass of water on his pecs.

While Arnold's chest didn't have that grainy vascularity and chopping definition that many pros chest's have today (which, in my opinion, actually made his chest look more aesthetic), his pecs were by far the best of his time and have remained an icon in themselves into the present day.

2. Ronnie Coleman

In terms of pure pectoral mass, virtually no bodybuilder can rival Ronnie Coleman. The eight-time Mr. Olympia's chest looked thick and massive from the side when flexed and unbelievably huge from the front when it was relaxed. Coleman had the complete package.

But how did Ronnie Coleman build the biggest bodybuilder chest of his era?

According to Muscle and Fitness, Coleman trained his chest hard and heavy twice per week, once with dumbbells and once with barbells. [2] He preferred free weights to machines and always insisted on lifting heavy weights to give his pecs the fiber-tearing tension that they needed to grow.

If you ever need some motivation for your next chest workout, look no further than Ronnie Coleman's chest training videos. You'll want to pick up a barbell immediately after watching them!

3. Lou Ferrigno

In terms of circumference measurement, Lou Ferrigno had the biggest chest ever for a bodybuilder. At over 60 inches, Ferrigno's record-breaking chest was one of his stand-out body parts. Is it any wonder he was cast in the movie Hercules?

Lou Ferrigno, who at his peak weight weighed 330 lbs, had excellent shape to his chest and incredible development from top to bottom. His pecs really had no weaknesses, and they were astonishingly thick for a guy of his height (6′5").

Of course, with such a big frame and a large ribcage, Ferrigno definitely had a genetic advantage when it came to stretching the tape measure. But despite the huge surface area of his torso, Ferrigno was still able to build some of the biggest bodybuilder pecs of his era.

4. Bertil Fox

Bertil Fox had some of the biggest chest muscles of his time. His side chest pose was eye-popping because his upper chest was so tall and beefy that it actually bulged above his shoulders.

Before becoming an IFBB pro, Fox won all of the NABBA bodybuilding competitions and earned the nickname "Brutal Bertil" for his intense, high-volume training.

Even more impressively, Bertil Fox received high praise from none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger at the 1983 Mr. Olympia, with Schwarzenegger reportedly saying, "that is what Mr. Olympia should look like." [3]

5. Markus Ruhl

If we're talking about sheer pectoral mass, then Markus Ruhl is right up there with Ronnie Coleman. An absolute mass monster, Markus Ruhl had some of the biggest pecs ever in his prime.

Ruhl's chest had an incredible level of fullness that most pros could only aspire to achieve. But in addition to the dominating size of his pecs, Ruhl also had excellent conditioning, boasting impressive striations and separation whenever he flexed his bulging pecs.

Unfortunately, toward the end of his bodybuilding career, it appears that Markus Ruhl experienced some kind of pec tear during heavy training, which created a very large gap between his chest muscles.

6. Franco Columbu

Franco Columbu had what is very likely the best upper chest in bodybuilding history. His upper pecs were so developed, in fact, that they looked like a completely separate muscle in their own right.

Standing just 5′5″, Columbu had an extremely filled-out chest that looked full from every angle. It's as if he crammed the absolute maximum amount of chest mass onto his small frame.

Because of the knife-like line through the middle of Franco's chest that separates his upper and lower pecs, Columbu easily had one of the most memorable chests in bodybuilding history.

If you created a collage of the biggest bodybuilder chests, Franco's proportionally perfect pecs would be instantly recognizable. You could make a strong case for putting him much higher on this list.

7. Gary Strydom

In terms of roundness and fullness, Gary Strydom's chest is up there with the best of all time. Every time he hit a side chest pose, his pecs would look like they were about to pop off his body.

While the name Strydom might not be as famous as the Coleman's and the Schwarzenegger's, Gary Strydom had a very aesthetically pleasing physique that made the most of his sizable 6′2" frame.

An accomplished competitor, Strydom placed 5th at the 1988 Mr. Olympia and won numerous other IFBB contests. I think that his physique had the perfect amount of mass for a pro bodybuilder.

8. Serge Nubret

When you think of an aesthetic chest, the full and proportional pectorals of Serge Nubret instantly come to mind. While Serge didn't possess the sheer pectoral mass of a modern-day bodybuilder, his chest was arguably more aesthetically pleasing.

So, although Serge didn't have the world's largest pecs, he definitely had some of the fullest chest muscles of his era. There are some photos of him next to Arnold where, unflexed, his pecs give the Austrian Oak's a good run for their money.

A Golden Era bodybuilder in the truest sense of the term, Serge Nubret was a big proponent of high-rep pump training. [4] His intense focus on muscles over movements enabled him to sculpt a physique that won him the 1976 Mr. Universe contest and earned him high placings in multiple Mr. Olympia contests.

9. Lee Haney

Eight-time Mr. Olympia winner Lee Haney had some of the largest pecs on stage during his reign as champion. It's not often that competitors have chest mass, striations, and vascularity, but Haney certainly did.

Haney had a remarkable upper chest that made him virtually unbeatable during the side chest pose. And when flexed from the front, especially in a most muscular pose, you could see a distinct separation between Haney's upper and lower pecs.

Like Arnold and Ronnie Coleman, Lee Haney was a fan of the basic free-weight exercises for building his pecs. He regularly performed flat and incline barbell presses in addition to dumbbell flys, dips, and pullovers, which are all phenomenal exercises for building mass. [5]

10. Johnnie O. Jackson

It's fair to say that Johnnie O. Jackson has some of the world's biggest chest muscles, especially when viewed from the side.

Jackson is known for his incredible strength, and he can bench press over 500 lbs. So is it any wonder that he has some of the biggest pecs in the world?

You just don't build the dense mass of Johnnie O. Jackson without lifting some seriously heavy weights. The heavy, fiber-tearing tension is what gives him the muscle maturity to bring such a massive physique to the stage.

The verdict: Why are the biggest pecs in the world so iconic?

A bodybuilder who clearly has some of the biggest pecs in the world

The chest is a highly visible body part that pretty much every aesthetically minded man wants to develop. When you have a muscular chest, people notice it, and that's as true on stage as it is when you're walking down the street.

Now that you've seen some of the biggest chests in bodybuilding history, you hopefully have a good idea of what makes a good chest. Mass and fullness are number one, but if you're a budding bodybuilder, you need separation and striations as well if you want perfect pecs.

Overall, Ronnie Coleman has the biggest chest in the world of bodybuilding in terms of raw pectoral size. But in terms of who has the best pecs ever aesthetics-wise, that would have to be Arnold Schwarzenegger.

References

  1. Wikipedia contributors. (2022, June 2). Robert Earl Hughes. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Earl_Hughes
  2. M&F Editors. (2020, February 10). Ronnie Coleman’s Routines for a Champion’s Chest. Muscle & Fitness. https://www.muscleandfitness.com/routine/workouts/workout-routines/ronnie-colemans-routines-champions-chest/
  3. McGough, P. (n.d.). Fox On The Run! A Day In The Life Of Bertil Fox. Muscular Development. https://www.musculardevelopment.com/10344-md-articles/nutrition/the-mcgough-report/5149-fox-on-the-run-a-day-in-the-life-of-bertil-fox.html
  4. Edwards, J. (2020, March 23). Serge Nubret: How to Train like the Bodybuilding Maverick. Bodybuilding.Com. https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/serge-nubret-how-to-train-like-the-bodybuilding-maverick.html
  5. Lockridge, R. (2021, May 25). Lee Haney’s Tips to Building an Enormous Chest. Muscle & Strength. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/lee-haney-chest-building-tips
James Jackson
James Jackson is a personal trainer who uses his expertise in strength and conditioning to create helpful workout tutorials that show fitness enthusiasts how to build muscle while staying safe in the gym. He draws on the latest sports science data as well as tried and tested training techniques to get the best results for his clients without them having to live in the gym.
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