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Rühl, the only bodybuilder bigger than Ronnie Coleman

        Did you know Markus Rühl, the German bodybuilder who competed in muscle and size with the great Ronnie Coleman? For sure yes. But, if it does not ring a bell, we will tell you who she is. Born in 1972 in Darmstadt, Germany, he was a professional IFBB athlete, and his dimensions were brutal: 1.78 m in weight, with 150 kilos in the volume and preparation phase, and 127 in competition.

        His are many iconic images on stage, jokingly competing with Coleman, 8-time Mister Olympia winner. In fact, he could have been a great champion due to injuries that marked his career, especially one in the shoulder that limited him for years. German bodybuilding star, in 1998 he resorted to an extreme diet to gain volume and compete at a good level in the US (The 15 most muscular and strongest bodybuilders in history).

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        The ghost of his shoulder injury

        But in the year 2000, a puncture in his left shoulder that had been operated on a few years before made him go to the doctor again. And he recommended that he take 4-6 weeks off as his muscle was quite overloaded and at risk of breaking again, but he didn’t follow the advice and kept training hard in the gym. The ghost of the injury he planned for each exercise he performed and in each training session. And he came second to Jay Cutler in a competition. “2000 was going to be my year, but everything fell apart…”, he recalls. “He showed up to Mr. Olimpia with 270 pounds of pure muscle and seemed to be Ronnie Coleman’s great rival for victory. Amazingly he could only finish seventh overall, and many accused the judges of not being impartial to him. (Coleman , the Mr. Olympia who is now in a wheelchair).

        On his return to Germany, Markus had to be hospitalized due to a tear in the abdominal area during the Mr. Olympia, which he had hidden from his coach and family. He was hospitalized for a month and that’s where his season ended. And he was never the same again… In 2009 he definitely withdrew from the competition. Now, at 51, he continues to train in the gym, but without the muscles from his stage as a professional competitor.


        Specialist in fitness, CrossFit, bodybuilding, training material, sports nutrition and supplementation at Men’s Health Spain.

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