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Arnold Schwarzenegger vs Chris Bumstead: Who Is Stronger?

Published 05/17/2022, 10:05 AM EDT

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The sport of bodybuilding has come a full circle after its development in the late 1800s. Today, the sport has evolved in ways previously thought unattainable. And the first name that comes to mind when one hears the term bodybuilding is Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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However, the sport has seen its fair share of similarly abled bodybuilders. One such athlete who has incorporated himself as a household name in the sport is the reigning Classic Physique Olympia champion, Chris Bumstead.


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Arnold vs Chris: Who could lift more?

Although both landed in the same profession, it is worth mentioning that they followed very different paths before arriving in this field. Schwarzenegger started as a weightlifter when he was still a teenager. In his youth, Arnold has taken part in at least three Olympic-style weightlifting contests, winning the heavyweight class of the 1965 Austrian Olympic Lifting Championships at 18.

Schwarzenegger quickly moved to powerlifting for a brief period. Although the star had a promising start in the sport, he moved on to a different passion soon after.


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During this period, Arnold also became passionate about bodybuilding. And after a successful start at the 1967 Mr. Universe in the amateur category, he moved to bodybuilding full time. Soon the newcomer would become a notable figure in the sport, winning seven Mr. Olympia titles in his career.

Bumstead, too, started early at 14 and had himself introduced to the sport through constant training at the gym. However, he considered competing only after meeting his friend, Iain Valliere. In comparison, both athletes matched similarly in terms of strength. The verified personal best of Schwarzenegger in the bench press is 441 lbs, while Chris achieved 405 lbs in the event.

Chris gained the upper edge in the squat by lifting 495 lbs, while Arnold could lift 474 lbs. The athletes also perform similarly in the deadlift, with Bumstead managing 675 lbs for three reps while Schwarzenegger narrowly beats the reigning champ by lifting 683 lbs.

Arnold Schwarzenegger for the win


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However, it is worth mentioning that Arnold’s verified lifts were documented during the 1968 Geman Powerlifting Championships when the former Mr. Olympia was only 20. Furthermore, lifters attain their peak during their mid-30s.

Thus, it would be safe to say that Schwarzenegger could lift much more in his prime years. Moreover, Arnold claims his best unofficial lifts as 545 lbs (squat), 500 lbs (bench press), and 710 lbs (deadlift), numbers far higher than the reigning champion could achieve.

via Getty

However, there are bound to be differences as both athletes started differently; Arnold was an Olympic-style weightlifter while Bumstead moved straight to bodybuilding. Moreover, bodybuilding has more to do with the aesthetics of physical appearance rather than strength. The powerlifters, weightlifters, and strongman competitors are the ones that emphasize strength more.


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Written by:

Aklanta Chetia


One take at a time

Aklanta Chetia Wanniang is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. He has a Master's degree in Literature from the University of Delhi. With an interest in learning about multiple sports, Aklanta himself is a former sportsperson and has participated in state and national level swimming events.
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