Gunter Schlierkamp may have been quiet Competitively in 2007, but don’t write him Off just yet. With this calculated, form-focused biceps routine, he’ll be fighting His way back on to the IFBB scene in 2008

BIRTHDATE Feb. 2, 1970
BIRTHPLACE Olfen, Germany
CURRENT RESIDENCE Redondo Beach, California
WEIGHT 300 pounds contest; 285 off-season
FAMILY STATUS Married to Kim Lyons
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: 2005: Mr. Olympia, 4th; 2004: Arnold Classic, 4th; 2002: GNC Show of Strength, 1st
ENDORSEMENTS Weider, Flexsolate (

WILL GUNTER SCHLIERKAMP EVER RETURN TO THE bodybuilding stage? Everyone wants to know. He last competed at the 2006 Olympia, taking 10th place in a field crowded with talent, but he was every bit the fan favorite he has always been. It’s the stuff of bodybuilding buzz whenever he’s getting ready to compete, but it’s his absence from contest lineups since then that has piqued the interest (read: concern) of the Gunter faithful. The German giant is as beloved as any athlete in the pro ranks today—arguably more so than some of his more accomplished brethren—as much for his easygoing demeanor as for his menacing most musculars. But could this 37-year-old icon of muscle be on his way out? Say it ain’t so, Gunter! According to Gunter, it may not be time just yet to mourn his passage into bodybuilding history. When he’s not working on projects he hopes will carry him well past his days in posing trunks, he’s as committed as ever to his role as a spokesman and ambassador for the sport. And as a fixture at Gold’s Gym in Redondo Beach, California, he’s working to refine his physique—and his skill set—for what may be his last run at competitive glory.

From one of the group exercise rooms in Gold’s comes a resounding, concussive thud. The imagination immediately conjures up scenes of sustained mortar blasts, but a peek inside reveals the source of the sound. Gunter, gloved up and wearing an intense scowl, steps back and quickly delivers another roundhouse kick into the pads held by boxing and martial arts instructor John Marsh. The kicks come one after the other, their heavy impact drowning out the high-decibel rock and metal music blasting from the speakers.

As it turns out, Gunter’s long limbs, innate athleticism and 285 pounds of superbly conditioned muscle have transitioned well into his new hobby, which he picked up only recently—not to burn pent-up rage or change vocations but for, well, kicks.

“I always try to get some skills where I can move,” says Gunter, who played soccer, ran sprints and threw shot put growing up in Germany. “I’ve always been interested in kickboxing, and with my interest in acting I figured it would be good to learn how to throw a punch so I don’t look totally stupid [if I get an action role].”

Despite his Tinseltown ambitions—he turned in a solid performance in his small role in last year’s Beerfest—Gunter can’t deny the benefits he can reap as a bodybuilder via this type of dynamic, skill-specific training.

“It’s also a great cardio workout,” he says. “Sometimes, we’ll hit the bag for two- or three-minute rounds and it sucks the air out of me. If you’ve lifted for 20 years straight and then all of a sudden you have to move in different directions, you’re not very good at it. I used to be a good athlete when I was young, and I’m not doing too bad. The instructor’s actually surprised that I can move as well as I do with my size. For me, it’s fun.”

Fun, sure. But smiles and belly laughs are the last things that come to mind when you see a man of Gunter’s size—gravity seems more the word—deliver a violent yet crisply thrown right cross to Marsh’s target mitt. But Gunter assures us with a deep chuckle, “I’m not going to start Ultimate Fighting!”

In addition to learning how to throw his 1-2s on the heavy bag, Gunter has been keeping fit by getting dirty. “I also like to run sand dunes in Manhattan Beach, which is an incredibly tough workout. A lot of professional athletes do it, too. You get three-quarters of the way to the top and you don’t know if you can make it. That’s really tough.”

While some guys sit out from competition to rehab an injury or put on more size, Gunter has been just plain busy. Besides making his usual rounds of guest appearances (both in person and in cyberspace) as a Weider athlete, he has been spending a great deal of time promoting Flexsolate’s grip-free lifting straps. He’s currently working on a demo reel with an agent and has been approached for a few roles in upcoming films. Amid all of this activity, the strong-armed German has managed to keep his new bride Kim Lyons happy—and present.

“Married life is going great—she’s still wearing the ring, so that’s good,” he jokes, slyly adding that he’d just gotten back from a shopping trip to Victoria’s Secret.

So back to the original question: When are we going to see Gunter hitting poses and bumping elbows with Jay Cutler, Victor Martinez and Dexter Jackson again?

“For now, I have to see how some things work out. I’m in really good condition right now, but if I compete again it’ll be at around 300—a really good 300,” Gunter says, before taking a brief pause. “I would say that if I come back, you could look for me sometime in 2008.”

And at 300 pounds of sinewy muscle, he would be tough to miss. M&F

Biceps short (inner) head

START: Reach over the end of a preacher bench and remove the barbell from the rack with an underhand, shoulder-width grip. Settle your triceps onto the pad. Your armpits should rest snugly against the top. Gunter likes to stand and stagger his feet for stability.

EXECUTION: Forcefully contract your biceps to raise the weight toward your face, stopping just short of perpendicular to the floor to maintain tension on the biceps. Squeeze for a count before lowering the bar along the same arc to the start position, making sure not to lock out your elbows at the bottom.

GUNTER’S TIP: “Switch your grips from time to time to focus on different parts of the biceps. I like to alternate between shoulder- width and a narrow grip.”