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December 04, 2022
The world of competitive bodybuilding is packed with athletes who have more muscle than many of us could ever imagine having. As such, it can be very difficult for a pro bodybuilder to stand out from the crowd.
Yet, every once in a while, an enigma begins their bodybuilding career and is so unique that despite the insane competition, everyone knows their name. One of these well-known and respected bodybuilders is the Egyptian IFBB professional bodybuilder Mamdouh Elssbiay, also known as Big Ramy.
And if you manage to get the nickname "big" in an industry that includes the hugest, most muscular people on this planet, you know something about this person has to be special.
This article will detail everything you should know about Mamdouh "Big Ramy" Elssbiay, including:
Let's learn a bit more about Mamdouh "Big Ramy" Elssbiay.
Mamdouh Mohammed Hassan Elssbiay is a bit of a phenomenon due to both his size and quick rise to success within the bodybuilding industry.
Originating from Egypt, Big Ramy didn't begin bodybuilding until he was discovered in 2009 working as a fisherman in Kuwait.
Ironically, at this time, he was 25 years old and had never been involved in any serious weight training. He was invited to train at the famous Oxygen gym, and the rest, as they say, is history.
As you can guess, Big Ramy's measurements are legendary. He's the second biggest pro bodybuilder to ever walk across the Olympia stage, which is absolutely insane.
During the Big Ramy off season, he reportedly walks around at a staggering 341 pounds!
What makes it even crazier is that Big Ramy is most certainly not the tallest guy in pro bodybuilding, standing at 5'9". In season, he "trims" down to a Big Ramy stage weight of 310 pounds of lean muscle.
As you can see, his name wasn't given to him ironically. He's big. Really big.
Some of his body measurements include:
As the story goes, when Big Ramy first started his pro bodybuilder journey in 2009, he weighed 200 pounds. In just one year of training, he blew up to 280 pounds.
To say Big Ramy is a natural talent is an understatement. It only took him 3 years of training before he earned his pro card and became a professional bodybuilder.
In 2012, Big Ramy made his amateur debut at a Kuwait Golden Cup, easily taking first place. Later that year, he went on to take first at Amateur Olympia where he was given his pro card.
Since then, Big Ramy's career has been littered with impressive results at various pro bodybuilding competitions, making him one of our favorite bodybuilders to follow.
Here's a list of his best showings up until 2020.
As you can see from his extensive list of wins, Big Ramy has achieved more than most could ever dream of. He's met with Arnold Schwarzenegger, competed at the Arnold Classic in both Brazil and Europe, and graced that stage of Mr. Olympia more than a few times.
And that's not even where his story ends.
Winning Mr. Olympia is the ultimate goal of any professional bodybuilder. Earning it just once can trump a litany of other wins, and that's what a Big Ramy bodybuilder goal was.
In 2020, Big Ramy reached this goal as he walked across the Olympia stage and won his first Mr. Olympia title. But that wasn't enough. Big Ramy then returned in 2021 to take his second Mr. Olympia win.
Big Ramy is currently the reigning Mr. Olympia champion and is prepping for the Las Vegas 2023 contest in December. Looking at Big Ramy's current physique, he's primed to be a 3-time winner.
Big Ramy is coached by Dennis James and continues to work out at the famous Oxygen gym in Kuwait, following the fundamental principles that have shaped his bodybuilding career.
While there's nothing necessarily "unique" about Big Ramy's training, it's a testament that the basics work.
Big Ramy's workout routine follows a bro split, otherwise known as a basic body part split. Big Ramy likes to focus on one muscle group each day, allowing him to train every aspect of the muscle and generate as much muscle damage as possible.
Here's a look at how the Big Ramy workout routine is set up and the training principles he applies.
Although Big Ramy's workout split might not differ too much from the average joe working out next to him, Big Ramy's massive growth is the result of the sheer intensity he puts into every workout.
Big Ramy is known for pushing every single set, regardless if it's the bench press, bicep curls, or crunches. Every set matters, as does every muscle. As he follows your typical bro split, Big Ramy wants to ensure he stresses his muscles sufficiently, as he then has an entire week to allow those muscles to recover.
Of these, the classic drop set tends to be his favorite method as it allows him to break down his muscles as much as possible.
Big Ramy is known for working until exhaustion. So much that he needs to wait between each set to let his heart rate come back down.
So the next time you're training "hard" ask yourself: Are you putting in actual hard work or just "hard" for you?
Big Ramy is a smart bodybuilder who uses every gym tool, including both free weights and machines. This means you'll likely find him utilizing a range of equipment.
For example, during a Big Ramy chest workout, he may use the barbell or machine press, depending on the week and what he feels like. Or for leg exercises, his routine may include a mix of weights and machines, including free weight squats, squats using a weight belt, leg extensions, and leg curls. An arm workout includes everything from barbell curls to cable pushdowns to alternating dumbbell curls.
While we favor free weights, machines can certainly play a significant role in gaining muscle. And if you find that your training is better with one over the other, use the one that works best for you.
When building muscle mass, your main goal needs to be adding volume and high intensity to hit every muscle group.
Another common practice that Big Ramy utilizes heavily is using slight variations to hit muscles from different angles. He believes training the muscle this way creates bigger, fuller muscle.
For example, for basic exercises like arm curls, Big Ramy will use a plethora of variations, including the straight bar, EZ-curl bar, wide grip, narrow grip, neutral grip, and neutral narrow grip.
Big Ramy also utilizes your average high rep scheme for bodybuilding aimed at muscle hypertrophy. This includes working anywhere above 8+ reps, but, on average, he usually hangs around the 12-rep range.
That said, Big Ramy is also known to do ultra-high reps from time to time. One thing is for sure: Big Ramy follows a highly intense gruesome workout routine that yields major results.
Following a 5-day workout split, here's a week's worth of Big Ramy workout routines.
Eating big to get big pretty much sums up Big Ramy's diet. He eats a ton of calories, with estimates of around 4,000-4.500 per day. That's a lot of food.
Here are some key features of his diet plan.
When it comes to how much protein to build muscle, as you probably could have guessed, Big Ramy needs a lot of it in his diet to support the sheer amount of muscle mass on his frame.
While he suggests you eat at least 1 gram per pound of body weight, he has admitted to eating as much as 500 grams of protein per day, particularly when he's reducing his body fat for shows. That's 2,000 calories just from protein!
Big Ramy's beverage of choice is water, and he drinks a lot of it. While he doesn't measure the total amount, it's safe to bet he's always hydrated.
He believes that staying hydrated helps him stay fuller but also keeps his muscles healthy and functioning properly. Therefore, if you want to diet like Big Ramy, drink water.
As a professional bodybuilder, Big Ramy doesn't follow any particular diet plan other than sticking to whole foods. Staying away from processed foods and products with added sugar, which closely aligns with the 80 20 rule diet, is really the only diet you need.
Get rid of fast food and soda, and start eating more lean meats, vegetables and fruits, and whole grains.
When diving into Big Ramy's life and bodybuilding career, one thing definitely stands out. His training is "normal." By that, we mean that even if you're not training like him right now, you have probably trained just like him at some point in your lifting career.
In addition, he allows for variability quite often, meaning he adds slight alterations and variety to his workouts, depending on how he feels.
This isn't to be confused with "muscle confusion." The principle behind this is that a bit of exercise variety can improve your training and keep things interesting. For example, if you regularly perform traditional bicep curls, consider trying concentration curls instead.
On top of that, displaying confidence and bringing your best effort every time you walk into the gym is crucial. Too often, we become complacent with our workouts and just go through the motions. This won't get you Big Ramy results.
If you go to the gym, do whatever you need to do to get your head in the game. Show up and work hard.
While you may never be a Mr. Olympia winner, participate in a Mr. Olympia competition, or even attend your first show, even the average lifter can learn a lot from watching how Mamdouh Big Ramy Elssbiay trains.
You don't need to stand side-by-side with greats like Phil Heath or Hunter Labrada to benefit from putting in hard work and consistency.
Big Ramy is a force to be reckoned with and is proof that the fundamentals of training not only work but apply to us all.
Images courtesy of Big Ramy's Instagram
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