Even Stronger Than They Look: Johnnie Jackson

Champion bodybuilder & powerlifter


No one has had greater success as both a bodybuilder and a powerlifter than Johnnie Jackson. First, the bodybuilding. While piecing together a remarkably consistent pro league career, including three victories, he’s only improved with age. Since turning 40 in 2011, he’s cracked the top four of 11 contests, including this year’s Arnold Classic.

Jackson started powerlifting after bodybuilding but soon he was triumphing at both. Three weeks before he won the 2001 NPC Nationals, he set the deadlift world record in the 220-pound class at 814. He’s totaled 2,127 pounds in competition, including a 540 bench press and 826 squat. And in 2009, he defeated Ben White to win the inaugural World’s Strongest Bodybuilder. Maybe the 5'5" Jackson’s most impressive lift, captured on video, is side laterals for 10 reps with 100-pound dumbbells—more than most guys can press —and when weighing only 230. Jackson rivals Franco Columbu as the strongest “light” bodybuilder of all time.


  • 1. Deadlifts: 4 sets of 10-5 reps
  • 2. Front pulldowns: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • 3. One-arm dumbbell rows: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • 4. Machine t-bar rows: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • 5. Seated cable rows: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • 6. Chinups: 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Check back tomorrow for another workout from the 10 Strongest Bodybuilders!


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