Did Leroy Colbert Build His 21 Inch Arms Naturally?

| April 21, 2014 by Truth Seeker |

Leroy Colbert, a legendary bodybuilder born in 1933, was supposedly the first man on the planet to build 21-inch muscular arms without steroids. He was a competitive bodybuilder with a great future until an almost fatal motorcycle accident damaged his ankle.

Colbert claimed that the accident might have saved his life by pushing him away from steroids. It all seems nice, and somewhat Hollywood, but is it really possible to build 21-inch arms at low body fat without steroids?

Let’s find out.


via: musculardevelopment.com/

via: musculardevelopment.com/

Was Leroy Colbert smaller than steroid users?

No.

According to the information online, Leroy Colbert had the following body stats in his prime:

Height: 5’9″ (1.75m); Weight: 200lbs (91kg); Body fat: unknown (probably between 7-10%);

In comparison, three times Mr. Olympia Frank Zane had the following stats:

Height: 5’9″ (1.75m); Weight: 185lbs (84kg); Body fat: unknown (probably between 5-7%);

When we compare the data, it becomes apparent that Frank Zane and Leroy Colbert had very similar muscle mass proportions with the former being a little lighter but also leaner.

In other words, Leroy Colbert was as big as a future Mr. Olympia without taking steroids…

Some of the best in the business didn’t have 21-inch arms.

According to data provided by Arthur Jones, the founder of Nautilus, many bodybuilders from the Golden Era were boosting their arm measurements artificially.

Jones’ bulletin revealed that even the most popular bodybuilder of all time, Arnold Schwarzenegger, had “only” 19 7/8 inch arms (slightly pumped) instead of the official 22-inch pythons. Therefore, we are supposed to believe that Leroy Colbert had arms bigger than Arnold’s naturally. {You can read more about the fake arm measurements here.}

Ironically, not even the King of Arms, Sergio Oliva, had 22-inch arms. His guns were 20 1/8 inches.

Makes you wonder…

Furthermore, Oliva admitted to drug use himself. In a controversial interview taken by Brian D. Johnston, the popular bodybuilder Sergio Oliva revealed that even Steve Reeves was subject to steroids. Here is the original quote:

“I don’t care who wants to take steroids, because that’s a personal choice… that’s his life. Now, today, everybody has access to them. I even saw in one of the big magazines that Arnold denies having used them, but Arnold was one of the first to bring steroids over to America.

And everybody in the old days used them: Zane, Columbu, myself, Arnold, Larry Scott, Harold Poole, Dave Draper, and even Steve Reeves. There’s no way to deny it. It wasn’t much, nothing like today.

But the development of drugs is much different. I used Deca and Dianabol, and that was something really big at the time; and Deca was not considered that bad.” {link to the whole interview}

The video below reveals that Jay Cutler had 22.5-inch arms in the off-season whereas Ronnie Coleman had 23-inch arms in a similar condition. Do you really think Colbert had better genetics than Cutler and Coleman? I don’t.

There are records showing that Leroy Colbert’s arms have never been 21 inches.

According to the author of strength and sports literature David P. Willoughby who measured many professional bodybuilders and athletes, Leroy Colbert had the following body stats and measurements in 1954:

right arm 18.7;  wrist 7.5; left arm 18.8;  height: 5’9.25″;  weight: 200 lbs;

The records of David P. Willoughby reveal that Leroy Colbert did not even have 19-inch arms, let alone 21-inch arms.

Conclusion: There is a lot of data suggesting that Leroy Colbert most likely did not have 21-inch arms and was not a lifetime natural bodybuilder. His claims were probably part of a publicity stunt.

References:
All sites visited on April 21, 2014;
www.getbig.com/boards/index.php?topic=450638.35
forums.musculardevelopment.com/showthread.php/6209-Leroy-Colbert-21-inch-arms/
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Zane
startingstrength.com/resources/forum/showthread.php?t=38573&page=1
www.arthurjonesexercise.com/Bulletin2/36.PDF‎
www.youtube.com/user/mryorkielover/videos

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15 comments

  1. Dominick

    An 18½ or 19-inch arm looks actually very impressive, especially at low bodyfat, so it’s easy to boost the measurments a little bit. People at my job think my arms are very large, yet my right is just 17½ and my left is 17, and also my bodyfat is much higher (about 20%) since I train for strength, never was naturally lean and don’t bother at all with cutting. I’m 6’1″ 258 lbs and I am completely natural; my strength levels are nothing spectacular against YouTube standards, but I’ve only been training for three years and I’m not far from numbers in the same ballbark as some very good strength athletes in pre-steroid days. Go in a gym and see how many guys can clean and STRICT press 225 or even 205 — the best pressers in USA around 1935 were in the 225-250 range; the young John Davis was an absurdly strong outlier when his press reached 285 (circa 1940).

    1. dnice

      You presented NO evidence whatsoever, I’m 5’8, 205, 35 waist, 17.5 arms, 48 chest, 26 thighs and I’m completely natural and workout only three times a week for a total of about 2.5 hrs a week. Physique is not as telling as strength when determining if someone is on something. Leroy was blessed with small joints, small waist, and he easily put on muscle, not unlike many of us African Americans, I only bench 315 max, I see alot of guys who don’t have my measurements benching more than me. Leroy also didn’t have the crazy stridations or leanness that roids would provide. And the fact that his arms were actually sub 19 (and most likely thats a pumped measurement) that could be another indication he was natural.

    2. Daniel Moran

      This is bs i believe he was natural.. i have 19″ arms natural at 510 around 215 pounds hes obviously got great genes …..i know a guy with 19-20 inch huge bulging bicep arms and he has never lifted a weight … hes got huge calves and shoulders developed traps and all …

  2. pablo mateo

    Hi I’m from Argentina I had trained ten years, Im 27 years old and I started at the age of 17. I think that I can’t say If leroy was natural or not, but in my experience is It posible to have the stats he had. My stats are 78kg, 12% of corporal body fat, and I’m 1,66 mts tall. Almost all the people I know from the gym thinks that I took steroids or some drugs, when I have never even taste steroids in my life; so my conclusion is that this man could be natural, and lot of the knowledge I leanr from him really works for natural bodybuilders. Thanks for the space check my fb facebook.com/pmsaraceni . Sorry for my bad english.

  3. Mike

    Excuse me,but what kind of steroids should Leroy Colbert have used…? His prime was in the early fifties and the first anabolic steroid “Dianabol” was made in 1957 and didn’t came to USA before 1960. So only Testosterone was available but as far as I am concerned only the russians used it from the late forties on. In Europe and the States it was not common as a enhancement drug. And we don’t know about the quality of the testosterone of that time. Also there where definitivley no anti-estrogenes like today. Do you see any signs of Bitch-tits or other side-effects on Leroy Colbert? Sorry,but he was really natural! And please look at some other photos of his arms and compare to the size of his head… they were definitivley in the 21-inch range,if not even more. The picture you posted here shows him not in his best shape.

  4. Mike

    Sorry,we don’t have any CNN here in Germany… Could you please exactly specify the steroids that “were swimming in bodybuilders long before the 50s”? They must have been really good since Leroy had still 18 inch arms at the age of 80! Sure they was the same my compatriot Hermann Goerner must have used when he deadlifted 830 lbs in 1933… I would strongly recommend you to read the article “Some lesser known strongmen of the fifties and sixties” by Steve Neece! Greetings from Germany!

  5. Mike

    I’m still waiting for the long list of anabolic steroids that were available “long before the 50s”…
    Are you aware of what you are doing here?
    You are insulting the memory of such a fine man without even the sligthest evidence or proof. Why are you doing that?
    Why do you compare him with Frank Zane,who was absolutly exceptional, being the lightest Mr. Olympia ever. Why don’t you compare him with Sergio Oliva,being genetically
    much more similar to Leroy and weighing 25 – 35 lbs more than him?
    And have you ever thought about the fact that Leroy Colbert died at the age of 82, being healthy and strong even at a high age while so much bodybuilders,wrestlers and football players of the 80s and 90s died at a young age due to their steroid abuse?
    Leroy Colbert dedicated his life to bodybuilding,he gave us some many good advises in his Videos,all for free,is this the way we should thank him?
    I urgently ask you to rewrite your article because it is simply not fair to defame a dead athlete without any proof. There is not the slightest sign of any steroid abuse,they didn’t even had any steroids than so please don’t do this here,just for some clicks or popularity or whatever.Thank you.
    Please excuse my bad english .

  6. Mike

    Dear Truth Seeker, thank you very much for rewriting this article in a at least little bit more neutral way! This is the kind of respect that we should give to Leroy Colbert,as I think… Interestingly,you outlined here two proofs,that he was natural and really had 21-inch arms by yourself:
    1. In the interview Sergio Oliva himself told that Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of the first who brought steroids to the States. Well,Arnold came to US in 1968,when Leroy was already retired for many years. Leroy Colbert had his prime and his 21-inch arms in a time when Arnold still soiled his nappies! Yes,there was testosterone in the 40ies,but shall I tell you a secret? I have used testosterone by myself,best-quality german-made pharmaceutical testosterone,500mg every 5 days for 12 weeks and the only gains I had was a swollen red head and sweating like a crowd of bulls under the midday texas sun. Seriously,I had neither gains in size nor in strength only a few pimples on my back. So testosterone itself won’t bring any superior results. And I don’t want to know about the quality of the old stuff.
    2. In the video you can see Jay Cutlers arm. Sure,its very big,but do you think there is such a big difference in the size compared to Leroys? All you have to do is to look at the photos and compare the size of the arm with the size of the head. Leroy Colberts arm was 100% 21-inch! My arm is almost 19-inch and when I look in the mirror and compare itwith my head it looks like a tiny grapefruit. Do you really think a bodybuilder in the 50ies would claim to be the first man with a 21-inch arm if it wouldn’t be true? No sane thinking man would do this!
    Finally,I think the point is that most of us wouldn’t reach a 21-inch arm even when taking a truckload of steroids. But there are some who could it without….
    Rest in Peace,Leroy!

  7. justin

    Weird how pple buy things that are obvious to me now. He was a high 12% & still didnt have 19″ arms. Great body but cmon.Its a gimmick to trick consumers. If its a lie to begin with its not a desecration of anything. Magazines hyped him to sell more. Wasn’t up to him.

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