In India, bodybuilding is often related to wrestling, kushti, or pahalwani as it is called in local areas. Or some people relate it to weightlifting. But bodybuilding is a different sport. Bodybuilders aren’t wrestlers or weightlifters. They are muscle builders with beautiful abs, biceps, thighs, calves, chest, and shoulders.
The Indian Body Building and Fitness Federation (IBFF) represents the country’s bodybuilding community. IBFF has been recognized as a national federation by the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness. It is also a member of the Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Federation.
India is a vast country with great potential for bodybuilding. There have been bodybuilders in the past like Manohar Aich who earned the nickname of “Pocket Hercules” due to his 1.50 m (4 feet 11 inches) height. India is doing well in bodybuilding because the new-age bodybuilders have access to world-class gyms. Also, they can take training from leading bodybuilders around the world.
Here’re some of the most successful bodybuilders of India
1. Rajendran Mani – Indian Super Hulk
Rajendran Mani @rajendran_mani_official 💪🏻#Repost— Indian Bodybuilding (@indianbodybuild) September 6, 2019
INDIAN HULK 😈😈
Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it. When you live for a strong purpose, then hard work isn’t an option. It’s a necess… pic.twitter.com/t2FKtZAHzK
Rajendran Mani served the country in the air force for 15 years and brought laurels to the country in bodybuilding as well. He became Mr. Asia in 2009 and won the 5th World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championships held in Hungary in 2015. Also, he remained both Mr. India and Champion of Champion for a record number of eight times.
2. Sangram Chougule – Most Passionate Bodybuilder
Sangram Chougule left a lucrative career in electrical engineering to pursue his dream of bodybuilding. Surprisingly he did fairly well in bodybuilding too. In India, he retained the title of Mr. India for six years from 2010-2015. He also won Mr. Universe in 2012 and Mr. World in 2014. Earlier he remained third in Mr. Asia and Mr. Universe competitions in 2011.
3. Suhas Khamkar – India’s Greatest Bodybuilder
Be stronger than your excuses #suhaskhamkar #bodybuilding #body #ifbbpro #love #gym #workout #i #camra #stageshow #fitnessdenbysuhaskhamkar #likeforlikes #mumbai @ Mumbai, Maharashtra https://t.co/rv7iVwbjFt— Suhas Khamkar ifbb pro 1st indian (@suhaskhamkar) July 22, 2021
Suhas Khamkar deserves to be called one of the greatest bodybuilders the country has ever produced after going through his achievements. First, he has the advantage of belonging to a family of bodybuilders from Kolhapur, Maharashtra. But it was Arnold Schwarzenegger who inspired him more to become a bodybuilder. He won the Mr. India title from 2004-2015. He was also the first Indian to win Mr. Asia in 2010.
4. Murli Kumar – The Most Inspiring Bodybuilder
The story of Murli Kumar becoming a bodybuilder as a sailor in the Indian Navy is awe-inspiring. He started late at the age of 25 but stopped at nothing before clinching the Mr. India title for two consecutive years – 2013 and 2014. Also, he became the six-time winner of the prestigious Mr. Olympia title.
5. Wasim Khan – India’s Internationally Acclaimed Bodybuilder
PROUD MOMENT FOR ME…— Wasim Khan (@wasimkhanindia) December 30, 2020
(World Champion in Bodybuilding) Mr.Universe, Mr. World and Mr. India#proud #proudindian #proudmoment #proudtobeindian #bodybuilder #bodybuilders #bodybuildingmotivation #bodybuilding #worldchampion #athlete #olympia #mrindia #mrworld #mruniverse pic.twitter.com/vI0la2dIms
The world was surprised to see a bodybuilder from India competing with 350 contestants from 37 countries for the prestigious International Bodybuilding Fitness Federation (IBFF) championship held in Slovenia in 2015. He Wasim Khan and he made India proud by bringing the cup to India.
6. Neeraj Kumar – One Of The Most Promising Bodybuilders
Another Body Building competition was organised for the fitness freaks of Lolab, Kupwara by #IndianArmy.— Chinar Corps🍁 – Indian Army (@ChinarcorpsIA) November 24, 2020
Over 25 young bodybuilders of Lolab participated for the challenge.#Kashmir emerged victorious.#NayaKashmir#tuesdaymotivations #HumsayaHainHum@adgpi @NorthernComd_IA pic.twitter.com/95F3mo68cY
Neeraj Kumar is a little-known name in the bodybuilding sector but he has the potential to make India proud at the international level. Recently he clinched gold at Mr. India 2013 event and bronze at WBPF Mr. World 2013 championship. Presently he is considered one of the best bodybuilders in his weight category.
7. Raymond D’Souza – The Best In Class Bodybuilder
Raymond D’Souza can be credited for making bodybuilding a popular sport in the country with his awards and achievements. A banker by profession, Raymond D’Souza was passionate about bodybuilding from a young age. He continued building his body and participating in competitions. His efforts bore fruit in 1990 when he won the Mr. World title.
8. Varinder Singh Ghuman – The Bodybuilder India Is Proud Of
Varinder Singh Ghuman has won multiple titles including Mr. India in 2009. Also, he finished second in the Mr. Asia. But his life turned a full circle when Arnold Schwarzenegger selected Varinder Singh Ghuman for the branding and promotion of his products. Soon this Punjabi boy became the talk of the town and even got a couple of movies.
9. Hira Lal – Champion Bodybuilder In His Class
@himanshu_sharma1426 Won Bronze Medal In Mens Classic Physique pic.twitter.com/y8LsNq8nBR— Indian Bodybuilding (@indianbodybuild) May 23, 2023
Hira Lal won many competitions including Mr. Universe and the 65th World Body Building Championship. Also, he is a four-time winner of Federation Cup winner and remained Punjab Champion for a record number of eight times. He was Jr. Mr. India in 2000, Mr. Asia in 2010, and Mr. World Gold in 2011.
10. Amit Chhetri – India’s Arnold Schwarzenegger
@ifbbpro_sam pic.twitter.com/AstPnwvK4p— Indian Bodybuilding (@indianbodybuild) May 23, 2023
Amit Chhetri shot to fame after clinching gold in Mr. India Federation Cup in 2007 and winning the ‘Champion of Champions for the Federation Cup’ title in 2013. But the turning point in his life came in 2015 when he won gold in Fairfax World Police and Fire Games 2015 held in the US. He participated in the 100-kg category and beat over 40,000 contestants from 90 countries to bag the gold medal.
Today bodybuilding has become a career choice for youngsters interested in muscle building. Also, the level of bodybuilding competitions, the rewards, and the media glare that winners get is encouraging youngsters to take bodybuilding seriously. Also, India needs bodybuilders to represent the country in various international competitions.
Q: What Are The Career Options For Bodybuilders?
A: Until now bodybuilders were only restricted to gyms and health studios. After winning awards, they become physical trainers in gyms or they open their gyms. But the development of digital media has opened new avenues for bodybuilders. Today they also work as models for the healthcare industry and work in movies and web series.
Q: What Is The Right Age To Start Bodybuilding?
A: It is better to start bodybuilding at an early age but you can start at any age. For example, take Murali Kumar who started bodybuilding at the age of 25 and went on to become Mr. India for two consecutive years.
Q: Which Is The Most Successful Bodybuilder In India?
Rajendran Mani is the most successful bodybuilder in the country. He has won multiple titles both at national and international level.