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The 5 greatest modern bodybuilders

Throughout the history of the sport of bodybuilding, few bodybuilders have had more of an impact on the culture and industry than the ones of the modern era today. As television and newspapers grew along today with the internet, these bodybuilders really lifted the once hidden sport into the mainstream media. They did so on the backs of popular magazines as well as on their own backs bench pressing hundreds of pounds week in week out. (View Slideshow)

Frank Zane. The 5 greatest modern bodybuilders
Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Their dedication and discipline in the gym really propagated the sport of bodybuilding into the mainstream and led to bodybuilders finally earning respect in modern day culture. Bodybuilding went from a weird sport full of outcasts obsessed with building muscle to a modern way of living for hundreds of thousands of regular people across the U.S. and millions across the world. By their dedication to excellence and winning, they also increased awareness of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle overall.

Of course, most of them would have never achieved their success and personal fame and achievements without the help of Joe Weider. Weider, a poor Jewish boy from Montreal, came to the U.S. in the early 20s to lay the framework for his publishing empire, which went on to generate some of the most popular and influential fitness and bodybuilding magazines ever, including Muscle & Fitness.

Weider's magazines always featured the best bodybuilders who gave advice on how to train and diet, and showcased their muscles, physiques, and bodybuilding victories. Weider can also be credited with a good portion of the equipment these bodybuilders trained with and that still remain the groundwork for weightlifting in a vast majority of health centers across the country. If you ever lifted weights in the 80s and 90s, the odds that you saw a big round metal plate with the name "Weider" stamped on it are very likely.

Still, these bodybuilders did the work. By consistently maintaining a healthy diet high in protein, disciplining their diets during competition season, and taking each and every set to failure, they set the stage for what it takes to be a great bodybuilder, and proved what it takes to build muscle.

Without these five modern day heavyweights, the sport of bodybuilding and the world of fitness would not be what we know of it today. Who are some bodybuilders that you think should also be included on this list? Name some in the comments section below. (View Slideshow).