In the second installment of an occasional series, we celebrate some of the very best covers in the long history of muscle magazines.

Gary Strydom

Ironman, Jan. 1989 (bodybuilder: Gary Strydom) A super idea superbly executed.

muscle magazines

Strength & Health, July 1969 (bodybuilder: Boyer Coe) This resembles a groovy advertising image from the era.

Samir Bannout lion

Muscle & Fitness, March 1984 (bodybuilder: Samir Bannout) Corny? Maybe. Awesome? Definitely! The Lion of Lebanon, then the reigning Mr. Olympia, and a model (with her own leonine mane) pose with a (stuffed) lion.

Your Physique and Strength & Health, both August 1950 (bodybuilder: Steve Reeves) It seems these archrival magazines bought the rights to the same photo, give or take some color. This classic Reeves shot appeared on them the same month! Both covers are stunning.

Rachel McLish

FLEX, August 1984 (bodybuilder: Rachel McLish) This was the first Weider magazine to feature a woman alone (two-time Ms. Olympia McLish) truly showing off muscle. And you got to love the “Steroids & Sex!” line.

muscle magazine

Muscle Builder, July 1926 (bodybuilder: Daredevil Kurizo) This was the final issue of Bernarr MacFadden’s short-lived Muscle Builder with a courageous/crazy guy hanging by one hand, and doing a leg raise, off the side of a New York City building, 20 stories up!

Mike Mentzer

Ironman, November 1981 (bodybuilder: Mike Mentzer) One of the all-time best contest photos was all it took for one of the all-time best covers.

Jay Cutler Ronnie Coleman Gunter Schlierkamp

FLEX, November 2003 (bodybuilders: Jay Cutler, Ronnie Coleman, Gunter Schlierkamp) Shot that July with the champ and the two top contenders. A three-way, boxing-style promo, hyping the Olympia coverage inside.

Testosterone magazine

Testosterone, December 2002 There were only nine issues of Testosterone, all featuring painted covers, none better than this fantastical scene.

muscle magazine

Muscle Builder/Power, August 1970 (bodybuilders: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dave Draper, Frank Zane) Joe Weider sure knew how to sell. Here we have a triumvirate of bodybuilding legends; curvy Betty Weider and three bikini models (so many that two are barely visible); Weider training devices, slimming suits, and supplements; and all on a sunny Cali beach. Just take my money!

Related: Great Muscle Magazine Covers, Vol. 1 and Bad Muscle Magazine Covers, Vol. 1