Markus Rühl | Bio, Weight, Height, Diet and Training

Written by James C., M.S.(C), PT

| Published on

| Last updated on

Fact Checked

With his immense shoulders, mighty delts and regular high-placings in the formidable Mr. Olympia competition, Markus Rühl is one of the legends of 21st-century bodybuilding.

Yet, his journey to the top included both adversity and sporting disappointment.

Let me lift the lid on his incredible story, remarkable resolve and unfailing determination.


Age:                           48.

Date of birth:            22nd February 1972.

Testosterone Booster
TestoPrime | Natural Testosterone Booster

Unleash the full testosterone-producing potential in your body. Improve muscle growth and increase fat loss fast.

Learn more Read My Review

Height:                      5 feet 10 inches (177.8 cm).

Weight:                      273-315 pounds (123.8-142.8 kg).

Profession:              Bodybuilder, social influencer and entrepreneur.

Nationality:               German.

Nickname:                The German Nightmare.

About Markus Rühl

About Markus Rühl

Born in Darmstadt, Germany in 1973, it was never on the young Markus Rühl’s mind to become a swole mammoth.

As a youngster, he was a keen soccer player. However, his dreams of making it into the professional leagues were curtailed—suffering a knee injury at the age of 18.

His doctor recommended that he hit the gym to rebuild his leg strength. Markus Rühl was impressed by the definition he gained from resistance exercise, so he started working his entire body.1

He became totally addicted.

In four years, Marcus Rühl grew from an athletic 139 pounds to a serious 242 pounds. He entered his first competition—the Bachgau Cup—and took the overall victory.

Marcus Rühl progressed steadily through the local, regional and national ranks—finally gaining his Pro Card in 1999.

For the next decade, the German Nightmare regularly placed in the most prestigious bodybuilding competitions on the planet.

He retired from professional competition in 2010. Today, the Markus Rühl 2019 figure makes his primary income from his supplement and apparel line, Rühl’s Bestes.

He speaks little about his private life. Although, the Markus Rühl Alicja Krafczyk marriage was a widely reported story in 2017. Currently, he lives with his wife in Roßdorf, Germany.

Powerful Fat Burner
Fat Burner Diet Drops: Ultra Fat Loss Supercharger

Are you serious about FINALLY losing that stubborn belly fat? Then this is for you. Powerful fat burner that helps you supercharge your metabolism for fast results.

Get 25% OFF How It Works

Additionally, he’s very active on social media. He has his own Markus Rühl Instagram account and a YouTube channel.

If you want to hear more about his life from the man himself, here’s an interview with the behemoth.

Broscience Verdict
D-Bal | Legal Dianabol Alternative

Legal muscle-building supplement that's designed to mimic the effects of dianabol without all side effects.

Find Best Price

Net Worth

Those in the know estimate that Marcus Rühl has a net worth of around $1 million.

Markus Rühl Bodybuilding Career

Markus Rühl Net Worth

Since gaining his Pro Card in 1999, Markus Rühl became a regular competitor in the bodybuilding circuit.

The golden period for him is generally accepted to be between the years 2000 and 2006. During this time, he won the 2000 Toronto Pro and the 2002 Night of Champions.

Furthermore, he placed fifth in the prestigious 2004 Mr. Olympia and third in the 2006 Austria Pro Grand Prix.

Here’s a brief overview of his career:

1999               7th place        Grand Prix England

1999               4th place        Night of Champions

1999               7th place        Joe Weider’s Pro World

2000               1st place        Toronto Pro

2000               5th place        Grand Prix England

2000               7th place        Mr. Olympia

2000               5th place        Joe Weider’s World Pro Cup

2000               2nd place      Night of Champions

2001               14th place     Mr. Olympia

2002               8th place        Mr. Olympia

2002               1st place        Night of Champions

2002               2nd place      Toronto Pro Classic

2003               3rd place        Arnold Classic

2004               5th place        Mr. Olympia

2005               5th place        Mr. Olympia

2006               8th place        Mr. Olympia

2006               3rd place        IFBB Austria Pro Grand Prix

2009               3rd place        New York Pro

2009               15th place     Mr. Olympia

2010               7th place        IFBB Europa Super Show

Workout Program

Markus Rühl Workout Program

For Markus Rühl, his workouts are all about the pumps. He uses these as an indicator of how he will train that particular day.

If he obtains a serious pump with the heavy iron, he’ll stick at it. If not, Markus Rühl will drop the weights and go for more reps.

Additionally, you can characterize his exercises by motion and control. Markus Rühl believes that ultimate muscles are built using the full range of motion. Furthermore, slow and deliberate extensions and contractions stress the muscles further, enhancing hypertrophy.

He adopts a powerlifting mentality. That is, the crucial element of effective mass gain is form—before weights or reps. He ensures that he performs each exercise correctly, squeezing the muscle at the uppermost part of the lift, for the most insane returns.


  1. Smith machine incline press                     5 sets              12-4 reps
  2. Incline dumbbell flyes                                 5 sets              12-8 reps
  3. Dumbbell pull-overs (straight arm)           4 sets              12-8 reps
  4. Machine press                                              5 sets              12-8 reps

Here’s Markus Rühl pushing the chest hard.


  1. Front pull-downs                                          5 sets              12-6 reps
  2. Single-arm dumbbell row (incline)                       5 sets              10-8 reps
  3. Seated cable rows                                       5 sets              10-6 reps


  1. Preacher curls                                              4 sets              10-8 reps
  2. Dumbbell curls                                             4 sets              10-6 reps
  3. Triceps push-downs                                                4 sets              10-8 reps
  4. Double-arm cable curls (standing)                       4 sets              10-6 reps
  5. Single-arm dumbbell extensions              4 sets              10-8 reps
  6. Triceps extensions (cambered)                 4 sets              10-6 reps

Here’s the German Nightmare working out his triceps:

Thursday—Rest Day

Light cardio if required—although not recommended by Rühl himself.


  1. Leg presses                                                  5 sets              12-4 reps
  2. Leg curls (lying)                                           6 sets              20-10 reps
  3. Hack squats                                                  5 sets              12-4 reps
  4. Leg extensions                                             5 sets              20-10 reps


  1. Dumbbell shrugs                                         5 sets              12-6 reps
  2. Dumbbell shoulder press                           6 sets              16-4 reps
  3. Upright row                                                   3 sets              10-8 reps
  4. Alternating front dumbbell raise                4 sets              12-8 reps
  5. Lateral raise (bent-over)                              4 sets              12-8 reps
  6. Standing lateral raise                                  5 sets              5-12 reps

Sunday—As Required

Markus Rühl often utilizes one day per week to concentrate on a muscle group that he believes needs more attention.

Additionally, he will do heavy calf raises three times per week.

However, you’ll never find cardio in his training, considering it, in his words—purely for pussies.

Markus Rühl Diet

Markus Rühl Diet

His philosophy is simple—eat constantly.

During the off-season, the Markus Rühl diet consists of between 7000 and 8000 calories. I’ve included a typical daily plan below, which is his bare minimum. He indicates that he consistently eats between these meals.

He once said,

“Eat crap, and you’ll look like crap…good food, this is what it takes to get huge. Unless you do this, don’t bother wasting your time training…it will just be for nothing.”

However, he’s also inconsistent. On other occasions, he stated that he eats whatever he wants—including junk food. What’s more, he rarely counts macros or calories—except when cutting.

Meal #1

  • 11 ounces of oats.
  • 100 grams of protein powder.
  • One pint of low-fat milk.
  • 2 pounds of bananas.

Meal #2

  • Four pieces of cake.
  • 100 grams of protein powder.
  • One pint of full-fat milk.

Meal #3

  • 14 ounces of noodles.
  • 5 ounces of turkey breast.
  • Three protein bars.
  • 50 grams of protein powder.

Meal #4

  • One whole pizza.
  • Seven ounces of potatoes.
  • 5 ounces of rice.
  • Eight ounces of chicken.

Meal #5

  • Seven ounces of tuna.
  • 5 ounces of rice.

Take a look at Markus Rühl eating to the max with cheat meals.

Markus Ruhl holding a sign posing for the camera

Markus Rühl Now

Although he retired from professional competitions in 2010, Markus Rühl remains active in the bodybuilding industry.

In an interview, he explained that he originally wanted to make it big in the movies—seeing the success of Dwayne Johnson and the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Although he starred in a few roles (as himself), including Muscle to the Max, and Iron Fire: Lost Gains he didn’t achieve the success of which he dreamed.2

Markus Rühl wife says she enjoys spending more time at home with her husband now that he’s retired from competing. But, that hasn’t prevented the main man from pursuing other ventures.

He’s made numerous motivational bodybuilding videos and in 2018 launched a supplement line, Rühl’s Bestes.

Was Markus Rühl on Steroids?

Markus Rühl Before and After

Take a look at any images of the Markus Rühl biceps, and you know the answer.

Undoubtedly, yes.

When interviewers challenge him about his use of synthetics, his answer is always the same—bodybuilders are tested in competition. That’s his go-to response.

He also stresses that you make muscle gains by lifting hard and heavy every day of the week, not through steroid use.

Yeah, but it helps.

Noone can compete at the top levels in bodybuilding without juicing—you wouldn’t even get through the qualifying stages.

The stories are that Markus Rühl would brazenly inject in the middle of the gym. His peers indicate that his favorite bulking cycle included a stack of exogenous testosterone, HGH (human growth hormone) and insulin.

In the early 2000s, the development of his ‘roid gut pointed to synthetic usage. This excessive consumption led to the Markus Rühl death rumors—which are entirely untrue.

Additionally, in the off-season, he was huge. It’s highly improbable that he didn’t achieve dramatic cutting without steroids. His contemporaries allege that Markus Rühl was a fan of Clenbuterol and Winstrol.

Before and After

From a complete novice to bodybuilding competition entrant—the Markus Rühl transformation took around four years. During this time, he gained 103 pounds.

However, as he hit the big time, including Mr. Olympia, he reached an immense 325 pounds.

Take a look at the remarkable amount of mass that Markus Rühl built:

Markus Rühl Before and After 1

Markus Rühl Before and After 2

Here’s a video illustrating the Markus Rühl weight increases through the years.

Markus Rühl Supplements

During the off-season, Markus Rühl backs up his calorie-heavy diet with carb-based mass gainers.

Additionally, he admits that his staples in supplementation are:

  • Creatine.
  • Glutamine.
  • BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids).
  • Whey protein isolate.
  • Citrulline.

Here’s a video of Markus Rühl discussing his enhancement use:

His own supplement line, Rühl’s Bestes, includes products such as protein (whey and casein), citrulline (for massive pumps) and BCAAs (for increased muscle protein synthesis).

Markus Rühl Quotes: Motivation and Inspiration

Markus Rühl Quotes: Motivation and Inspiration

Despite his mammoth and imposing size, Markus Rühl is incredibly affable and soft spoken.

His words of wisdom and motivation have pushed struggling bodybuilders during times of doubt and fatigue.

Here are some of his wisest words:

“You either can pose right for the picture, or you can move heavy weights – you really can’t have both.”

“I don’t do this to be healthy. I do this to get big muscles.”

“The most important lesson I’ve learned is that the most productive exercises are simple and compound.”

“Bodybuilding starts in the head. Those who are not ready to go beyond their spiritual limits will never become champs. There are many smart asses, but only very few of them are bodybuilders.”

“I’m called the German Nightmare because I scare the hell outta you. You look at my physique and think, damn, how does he get that big? If you want it enough, you can scare the hell outta people too.”

“My departure from the stage was a difficult and well-considered step for me. However, it was never a farewell to bodybuilding. I will stay true to the sport forever. It is so much more than lifting weights, it is a way of life and shapes a man for his whole life.”

Frequently Asked Questions

“How Tall Is Marcus Rühl?”

The Marcus Rühl height is 5 feet 10 inches (177.8 cm).

“What Happened to Marcus Rühl?”

He retired from bodybuilding competitions in 2010. Since that time, he has been concentrating on making motivational videos and promoting his supplement and apparel line.

“How Big Are Marcus Rühl’s Biceps?”

During his training career, his biceps measured 24 inches in circumference (in the off-season).

“Was Marcus Rühl Mr. Universe or Mr. Olympia?”

He was neither. Marcus Rühl never competed in Mr. Universe. However, he placed fifth in the 2004 Mr. Olympia, which was won by the superhuman Ronnie Coleman.


Marcus Rühl Summary

With his phenomenal shoulders, enormous delts and eye-watering traps—Markus Rühl is one of professional bodybuilding’s legends.

The problem was, he competed in an era that had the likes of the swole mammoths Jay Cutler and Ronnie Coleman. If not for those guys, he may have been more successful.

Yet, the Markus Rühl story is one of triumph from adversity. He didn’t allow his soccer injury to set him back. Instead, he reinvented himself as a bodybuilder.

He shows us that whatever life throws at us, we can use misfortunes as positives, powering us through to success.



My recommended supplements

Testo Booster
Natural Testosterone Booster For Men

By cutting out the middle-men we were able to produce super high-quality booster packed with all the right ingredients to stimulate natural testosterone production.

Buy Now How It Works
Powerful Fat Burner
Fat Burner Diet Drops: Ultra Fat Loss Supercharger

Are you serious about FINALLY losing that stubborn belly fat? Then this is for you. Powerful fat burner that helps you supercharge your metabolism for fast results.

Get 25% OFF How It Works
Testosterone Booster
TestoPrime | Natural Testosterone Booster

Unleash the full testosterone-producing potential in your body. Improve muscle growth and increase fat loss fast.

Learn more Read My Review
Best For Bulking
Best Bulking Stack For Muscle Growth

Try this for rapid size, strength, and muscle-building results.

Learn more Read My Review

3 thoughts on “Markus Rühl | Bio, Weight, Height, Diet and Training”

  1. You kidding me? This guy is juiced out of his mind. You cannot place 7th in the olympia and be natural. Stop promoting B.S. You are a hypocrite. You hate the fitness industry because of lies, but you put an article like this up with a heading that mentions natural, and a picture of a steroid user?

  2. “Immense shoulders and mighty delts”? When did they become different things? Your page is not enjoyable at all, a couple of lines of schoolboy quality story in between 1000 ads. An unashamed grab for money instead of being an informative source, well done!


Leave a Comment