For many bodybuilders and sports enthusiasts, bodybuilding is not just a hobby but a lifestyle. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno are not only actors and muscle sculptures but also role models and idols. So I have selected the top 13 inspirational movies about bodybuilding lifestyle that pump you up. They could help to motivate yourself for even better results and show you how the concept of “bodybuilding” has changed over time.
Which bodybuilding fan wouldn’t know about “Pumping Iron”? The 1977 documentary follows the lives of two of the most well-known bodybuilders of the golden age of bodybuilding and their preparation for Mr. Olympia and Mr. Universe competitions.
Of course, the star will feature Arnold Schwarzenegger, the five-time winner of the Mr. Olympia Award. The film follows the 28-year-old bodybuilder on the road to receive his sixth prize. The independent documentary focuses primarily on the rivalry between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, one of the biggest rivals.
Other well-known names appear in the film, such as Ken Waller, Ed Corney, Serge Nubret and Franco Columbu, or Mike Katz. The documentary’s mission was to promote the culture and world of bodybuilding. Arnie’s inflated biceps have caused so much craziness in the US that the number of commercial gyms in the country has increased significantly. Pumping Iron is, therefore, a must-have for all zealous bodybuilders. 
“Arnie” is everywhere. Now, though, he’s starred in an all-night feature film. Although not a documentary, “Stay Hungry” introduces itself behind the scenes of professional bodybuilding. The story tells the journey of a young realtor, Craig (Jeff Bridges), who works for a big company. The company wants to buy a gym building, so he sends Craig to hit the deal. Craig meets bodybuilder Joe Santo (Arnold) in the gym, and falls in love with his girlfriend.
How can the story of love and friendship be a great motivational movie that you should watch?
By showing Schwarzenegger his muscles while introducing Jeff Bridges into the world of bodybuilding and training. You can see what preparation for Mr. Universe looks like and how to become a gym buddy. Incidentally, Arnold was awarded the Golden Globe for his best acting debut for the film for his performance. 
After graduating from Pumping Iron with Lou Ferrigno in second place at Mr. Olympia, he left the world of bodybuilding and started a full-time acting career. He received the lead role in The Incredible Hulk, which made him a star. But that wasn’t enough for Lou and he missed the world of professional bodybuilding.
The documentary “Stand Tall” captures the bold and incredible journey of 43-year-old Lou, who, after 19 years, decided to re-enter Mr. Olympia. Did he get the prize? I recommend watching this movie, which is full of emotion and determination on the road to reaching your goal. 
After winning the sixth Mr. Olympia award, Arnold Schwarzenegger quit competitive bodybuilding. He started acting and got one role after another. One of them was the starring character of “Conan the Barbarian,” which elevated him to Hollywood stars. To play the raw barbarian more authentically, Arnold started to train regularly again. It took him even better than the last Mr.Olympia.
Arnold realized that his time in professional bodybuilding had not yet expired. The film “The Comeback” tells how Arnold was able to get into competitive shape in just a few weeks to win the seventh time at Mr. Olympia. 
Dorian Yates: The Original Mass Monster
“Dorian Yates: The Original Mass Monster” Dorian Yates captures the sixfold viewpoint of Mr. Olympia, who gave a new meaning to the concept of professional bodybuilding. The movie offers insight into your personal life but also the downsides caused by excessive steroid use. the film also looks at Dorian’s controversial victory at the 1997 Mr. Olympus.
He was awarded the prize despite being injured, causing outrage among the other competitors. Towards the end of his career, he struggled with depression and the film also shows how his life progressed after a professional bodybuilding career. 
Ronnie Coleman: The King
Another movie is a documentary about Ronnie Coleman, titled “Ronnie Coleman: The King.” The film follows the life and greatest success of the eight-time Mr. Olympia. If you are Ronnie’s role model, you should see this movie. In addition to shaping Ronnie’s massive shape, you’ll also see the health consequences of lifting heavyweights. 
Generation Iron 1, 2, 3
The film “Generation Iron” was created in 2013 by the producer of “Pumping Iron”. This documentary tells the story of some of the world’s most renowned bodybuilders and gives you insight into not only the backdrop of professional racing but also their personal lives.
From the movie, you will learn what “bodybuilding” mean and imply. Bodybuilders also talk about how views on the bodybuilding world have changed, including due to the popularization of this sport on social networks. It features stars like Phil Heath, Kai Greene, Branch Warren, Dennis Wolf, Victor Martinez, Hidetada Yamagishi or the ambitious green-eared Ben Pakulski. Two sequels to the film have been released so far, and another is scheduled for 2021. 
C. T. Fletcher: My Magnificent Obsession
C. T. Fletcher, a six-time world weightlifting champion with enormous strength, sophisticated form, and life history. He has inspired countless people around the world. The documentary tells the story of Fletcher’s life, the physical abuse he was exposed to as a child, until his 2005 heart surgery.
He claims that the reason for this was unrestrained fast-food consumption. Full recovery took two years after surgery, and Fletcher had to change his workout plan and diet, but he did not give up training despite his health problems. C. T. In the film, Fletcher presents his story, full of emotions and thoughts, why it is never worth giving up. 
Rich Piana Chronicles
Rich Piana is a man whose personality is just as big as his body. The film by the producer of “Generation Iron” tells the story of one of today’s most famous bodybuilders, who died in 2017 due to health complications. Rich Piana Chronicles is a raw and intimate look for a man who has left a lasting mark on the fitness industry. The film approaches the last year of her life and honors her legacy. 
Kevin Levrone: Born to Overcome
Kevin Levrone is one of the most talented and beloved bodybuilders of all time. Although he never won the Mr. Olympia Award, his shape and preparation for the competition inspired many beginner bodybuilders. After his unofficial retirement in 2003, after nearly 13 years, Kevin decided to try again to win the Mr. Olympia Award. However, because he was injured, he did not reach the podium.
That didn’t stop him, and in 2018 he decided to slip into the Arnold Classic. “Kevin Levrone: Born to Overcome” is an hour-long documentary that records his preparation for this competition and gives an insight into the spirit of a truly legendary bodybuilder. 
Bigger Stronger Faster
America defines itself as one of the world’s nicest, strongest, and fastest developing countries. The life of American bodybuilders has also been highlighted by director Christopher Bell in “Bigger Stronger Faster.” It tells the story of three brothers, two of whom are obsessed with steroids.
The visually professional, great-cut, comedy-like documentary provides insight into the US government and the issue of steroids and nutritional supplements. In the movie, you see the revelations and views of congressional bodybuilders but medical experts about the excessive use of steroids. 
Too Big for the World
The bodybuilding world is far from being just about men. The trend of professional bodybuilding and fitness is increasing among women, but it has still not succeeded in male bodybuilding. “Too Big for the World” follows the story of Irene, 50, who has a lifelong dream of becoming the world’s best female bodybuilder.
However, on this path, he faces many rejections and realizes that the 21st century is still primarily for men. The main purpose of the film is to highlight the discrimination that muscular and strong women must face in the community. 
Pumping Iron 2: Women
Following the introduction of “Pumping Iron,” the bodybuilding world has undergone a profound change that has affected the female population to some extent. For this reason, the free sequel to the “Pumping Iron” documentary, which focuses on the female bodybuilding world, was created.
The documentary successfully transforms society’s view of the female form and gives a new meaning to the female form. The film features icons of the age, such as Rachel McLish, Bev Francis or Carla Dunlap. 
I hope you enjoyed my selection of top bodybuilding movies. Do you think something is missing from the list? If you think so, I would be happy to see your tips in the comment. If you liked this article, please support it with a share.
 Pumping Iron
 Stay Hungry
 Stand Tall
 The Comeback
 Dorian Yates: The Original Mass Monster
 Ronnie Coleman: The King
 Generation Iron 1, 2, 3
 C. T. Fletcher: My Magnificent Obsession
 Rich Piana Chronicles
 Kevin Levrone: Born to Overcome
 Bigger Stronger Faster
 Too Big for the World
 Pumping Iron 2: Women