The debate about the greatest bodybuilder to never win the Mr. Olympia rages on, with Flex Wheeler and Kevin Levrone the elite of many candidates. But when it comes to the best bodybuilder to never win the Mr. Olympia or Arnold Classic, there’s no argument. Chris Cormier wasn’t just a perennial Mr. O contender from 1994–2004, including two third-place finishes; he was second in the AC a demoralizing six straight years from 2000–2005 (and third in 1999). This close-but-no-win record will likely never be broken in any pro contest. By the way, here are the victors those six years: Ronnie Coleman, Flex Wheeler, Jay Cutler (thrice), Dexter Jackson. Finishing second to that quartet could hardly be considered “losses”—for more than a decade, “Real Deal” displayed arguably the best-ever X-frame, capped off  by his legendary set of shoulders.


Cormier received his nickname because of his facial resemblance to boxer Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield.

Chris cormier2
Chris Lund


  • “Go slow. I recommend a count of four on the way up and three on the way down.”
  • “On laterals, grip the dumbbell on the outer sides of the handles with the pinkie sides of your hands against the inner plates. This will better secure your grip as you go thumbs-down on the way up.”
  • “I use neoprene sleeves to protect my elbows during shoulder workouts.”


  • Behind-the-Neck Press | SETS: 5 | REPS: 8-12
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise | SETS: 5 | REPS: 8-20
  • Seated Dumbbell Rear Lateral | SETS: 3 | REPS: 8-12
  • EZ-Bar Upright Row | SETS: 3 | REPS: 8-12
  • One-Arm Cable Lateral Raise | SETS: 2 | REPS: 12-25