Jamie Christian, September 2021 / Instagram
Bodybuilding is the land of giants. But most of those giants are of average height at best. Still, there has always been a fascination with the muscular dude who towers over others. Unfortunately, these men don’t fare well in bodybuilding contests. Though, as we’ll see, a couple have come close, no one over 6’2” has won an IFBB Pro League bodybuilding show. Taller bodybuilders struggle to fill out their long frames and limbs (legs especially). Still, there’s a mystique about them. When someone 6’4” or over first appears at center stage, there’s a rumble through the audience. Everyone wants to see the big man deliver. Everyone wants to be wowed.
We salute these giants. Our list of the tallest bodybuilders of all-time starts with two female pro competitors (6′ or over) and then rises through the male top 12: eight pro competitors (6’4″ or over) and then four amateurs (6’6” or over), two of whom have posed in contests and two, even taller, who haven’t. These are the world’s tallest bodybuilders, past and present.
TALLEST PRO WOMEN BODYBUILDERS
6’ (182.7 cm) 1980-
Maria Wattel holds the Guinness Book of World Records mark for tallest female bodybuilder. Wattel made her pro debut in the women’s physique division in 2020, finishing eight in the Romania Muscle Fest. But the all-time record should go to the next person on our list.
6’2” (188 cm) 1964-2017
Topping off a long amateur career, Nicole Bass won the 1997 NPC Nationals and then jumped into that year’s Ms. Olympia. The 1997 Ms. O was her only pro show, but it confirmed her continuing status as the tallest and likely the heaviest (204 lbs.) pro female bodybuilder of all-time. Bass subsequently pursued pro wrestling and was frequently on the Howard Stern Show.
TALLEST PRO BODYBUILDERS
6’4” (193 cm)
Sean Allan brought some WWE hype to bodybuilding, affixing “Big” to his name and boldly, if ridiculously, calling out the world’s best pros at a Mr. Olympia press conference when he was an over-confident amateur. Competing frequently, he won the overall 2007 Jr. Nationals (before it was a pro-qualifier) but couldn’t crack the top six in a pro-qualifier in his first 16 tries. His legs lagged, but his shoulder-width was extreme. Big Sean did eventually go pro, first in a short-lived organization, and finally after winning the 2011 Master’s North American. Big Sean Allan competed four times in the Pro League, finishing 15th (out of 34) in the 2012 Master’s Olympia.
6’4” (193 cm) 1968-
Like Arnold Schwarzenegger, whom he played in a TV movie, Roland Kickinger immigrated from Austria to America and competed in pro bodybuilding contests before pursuing an acting career. He peaked in his pro debut, finishing seventh in the 1996 Ironman Pro. He was at or near the bottom of his other eight pro shows. Kickinger is perhaps best known for his role on the TV comedy Son of the Beach (2000-02). More fitness model than pro bodybuilder, Roland Kickinger appeared on numerous magazine covers.
6’4” (193 cm) 1968-2013
Greg Kovacs was the heaviest ever pro bodybuilder, reportedly weighing in at 420 in the offseason and as much as 330 on contest day. Kovacs won the 1996 Canadian Nationals and competed in five pro shows from 1997-2005 without success. He appeared on a FLEX magazine cover in 1997 with the line: “Greg Kovacs: The New 320-Pound Monster Among Us” and was most famous for being hyped in magazine supplement ads.
6’4” (193 cm) 1969-
Quincy Taylor turned pro by winning the 2001 USA Championships. During his eight-year pro career, Q.T. was listed as 360 in the offseason and 300 in contest shape. Quincy Taylor never won a pro show, but he was second twice and third two other times, and he competed in the 2005 and 2007 Mr. Olympias, failing to place both times. If we were ranking the tallest bodybuilders ever by contest success, Q.T. would be second behind only Lou Ferrigno.
6’5″ (195.6 cm) 1986-
Jamie Christian is currently the world’s tallest pro open bodybuilder. The English giant earned pro status in 2018 in the classic physique division, but he has since competed in open bodybuilding contests in the IFBB Pro League. Because of his long, lagging legs, Christian has struggled to make an impact in pro shows, even when weighing 300, but his shoulder width as well as his shoulder-to-waist ratio is among the most extreme ever seen on a bodybuilding stage.
6’5” (195.6 cm) 1951-
Lou Ferrigno is the most successful very tall bodybuilder of all-time. But he could’ve accomplished much more had he not turned to Hollywood. At only 21 and 6’5” 270, he won the 1973 Mr. America and Mr. Universe. The next year, he again won the Mr. Universe and was second behind Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Mr. Olympia tall class. Ferrigno competed only one more time, the 1975 Mr. Olympia, the day before he turned 24, before hanging up his posing trunks for 17 years to focus on Hulking out and other acting roles. In his 40s, Lou Ferrigno returned to pro bodybuilding at over 300 lbs., finishing 12th in the 1992 Mr. Olympia, 10th in the loaded 1993 Mr. Olympia, and second in the 1994 Master’s Olympia. But if he had never left stages and continued to compete in the ’70s and ’80s at his muscular peak, Lou Ferrigno likely would’ve won Mr. Olympia titles.
6’6” (198 cm) 1959-
Despite what Guinness says (they give the record to Ferrigno), Ralf Moeller is tied for the all-time tallest pro bodybuilder, and he’s the tallest ever Olympia competitor. He won the overall 1983 German Championships at 24 and his class at the 1986 World Championships (listed at 288 lbs.). Moeller then competed in the 1988 Mr. Olympia, finishing last. It was his only pro show (he was disqualified from the drug-tested 1990 Arnold Classic). Since then Ralf Moeller has had a prolific acting career. He is best known for his role as Hagen in Gladiator (2000).
6’6″ (200 cm) 1991-
The Czech Republic’s Pavel Szotkowski is currently the tallest pro bodybuilder in any division, and he’s tied with Ralf Moeller for the tallest pro of all time. At over 300 pounds, Skotkowski competes in classic physique, and he sports a very symmetrical body despite his lengthy limbs. He’s also brings the high-def conditioning. Since earing his pro card in 2019, Szotkowski has already placed high in the IFBB Pro League classic physique division, including a fourth (out of 30 competitors) in the 2020 Europa Pro. Could the Czech Tower be the first over 6’2″ bodybuilder (and he’s way over) to win a pro show?
TALLEST AMATEUR BODYBUILDERS
6’6” (198 cm)
Noah Steere towered over his fellow super-heavyweight competitors in the 2001 NPC Nationals, finishing an eye-opening fifth and defeating the following year’s Nationals overall winner, 6’2” Toney Freeman (who went on to win seven pro shows). A lean 350 in the offseason and 300 onstage, Steere wowed fans in person and in online photos with his colossal size (especially his arms). But 2002, when he landed out of the Nationals top 15, was his second and final attempt at going pro. What could’ve been if he’d continued to fill out? For the past two decades, the Army veteran has owned a nutrition store in North Carolina.
6’7” (200.6 cm) 1981-
Aaron Reed has a long history of competitive bodybuilding. He won his first contest, Mr. Teen Colorado, in 2001, and continued to compete in bodybuilding for the next 14 years though without much success. Then in 2016, Reed won the classic physique overall title at the All South Championships, proving that even very tall men can have classically aesthetic bodies. The 315-lb. Reed has lately been working as an actor, appearing in Free Guy (2021).
6’8” (203 cm) 1982-
With 4 million Instagram followers, Martyn Ford is one of the world’s most popular bodybuilders, though he’s never posed on a stage. The bald, heavily tattooed, 330-lb. muscleman looks like a super villain drawn by a comic book artist. (Going by photos, like this one with 6’5″ Rico Verhoeven, it appears Ford is more like 6’6″, but we’re not going to tell him.) Ford acts in TV shows and movies, including F9: The Fast Saga (2021). His Instagram feed is a mixture of training videos, luxury lifestyle, and freakishness.
7’2” (208.3 cm) 1989-
Oliver Richters is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, and despite numerous errors in their bodybuilding records, we can’t argue with this one. No, the Dutch Giant has not posed in a competition, but Richters trains and diets as a bodybuilder and has a bodybuilder’s physique, despite his ridiculous height (which Guinness measured to confirm) and 340-lb. weight. Like Reed and Ford, Oliver Richters is pursuing an acting career. He was last seen in Black Widow (2021).
See also: What’s the Ideal Height for Bodybuilding? and Giant Killers: A Short History of Short Bodybuilders