Bodybuilder Franco Columbu — Diet, training, measures, Photos & Videos

Bodybuilder Franco Columbu - Diet, training, measures, Photos & Videos

Besides boxer and actor, the Italian Franco Columbu was also part of the Golden Age of bodybuilding world, come to become one of the biggest names of the sport.


Franco Columbu was born in 1941 on the Italian island of Sardinia, where he spent his childhood and adolescence working as a shepherd in a small family property. His first foray into the world of sport has been through boxing, arriving to be amateur Italian champion.

Gradually Columbu was switching to weightlifting or powerlifting, mode in which won major titles. In the early 60s, he swapped Italy for Germany in order to devote himself fully to the sport. Would become Italian champion, German and European lifting weights.

His personal bests in Powerlifting impress today:

  • 238 kg in bench press;
  • Squat in 297 kg;
  • 340 kg in squat Earth.


In 1977, Franco Columbu participated in a contest to elect the strongest man in the world, staying in a creditable fifth. Honorable because Franco weighed much less than the other competitors, and because during the competition suffered a serious injury.

One of the tests was to go down a slope with a fridge strapped on his back, and while leading the route Columbu tripped and dislocated his leg. After 6 hours of surgery, the Italian told by your doctor that would never walk again or to compete again.

Against the odds, however, Franco Columbu not only walked again, as it turned out successfully resuming his career bodybuilder. 



After winning the main headings of their continent, Franco began to devote himself to bodybuilding, and while he lived and trained in Germany met Arnold Schwarzenegger. The two would become great friends and training mates. In 1969, after the success in European bodybuilding championships, the two bodybuilders were invited to go to train in the United States, under the tutelage of legendary entrepreneur Joe Weider.

It was in the United States Franco Columbu career took off, with several titles of Mr. Universe and Mr. World. His greatest title would come in 1976 with victory in the biggest bodybuilding contest in the world, the Mr. Olympia.

In 1981 Columbu won for the second time Mr. Olympia, in what is considered one of the greatest achievements of bodybuilding. In addition to the serious injury that had almost incapacitated, Franco also had against you age: at age 40, was the oldest Mr. Olympia since the start of the competition in 1965.

main Titles

  • 1966: Mr. Europe, 4th. place
  • 1968: NABBA Mr. Universe (More Muscular)
  • 1969 IFBB Mr. Europe (East)
  • 1969 NABBA Mr. Universe (More Muscular)
  • 1969 NABBA Mr. Universe (Low)
  • 1969 IFBB Mr. Universe (Low)
  • 1970 IFBB Mr. Europe (Low and General)
  • 1970 AAU Mr. World (Pro Bass)
  • 1970 IFBB Mr. World (Low)
  • 1970 IFBB Mr. Universe (Low and General)
  • 1971 IFBB Mr. Universe (Low and General) * Disqualified for selling material bodybuilding
  • 1971 IFBB Mr. World (Low and General)
  • 1974: Mr. Olympia (Lightweight)
  • 1975 Mr. Olympia (Light Weight)
  • 1976: Mr. Olympia (Lightweight and General)
  • 1981: Mr. Olympia

Cinema and Chiropractic



Since they were introduced in 1965, Schwarzenegger and Columbu never parted, and came to be roommates for several years. In 1986, the Italian was one of the groomsmen Arnold with Maria Shriver.

The success of Arnold helped leverage Franco Columbu career, which had cameos in several films such as Terminator and Conan the Barbarian. In 1977, Franco participated in Pumping Iron, the famous documentary about the world of bodybuilding, with Schwarzenegger and other stars of the time bodybuilding.

After his retirement from bodybuilding competitions, Columbu earned a degree in chiropractic and nutrition, activities of which is dedicated to this day.

Major holdings of Franco Columbu in film:

  • Pumping iron-documentary about bodybuilding (1976);
  • The Hustler of Muscle Beach (1980);
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982);
  • Getting Physical (1984);
  • Terminator (1984);
  • The last to fall (1987);
  • The Survivor (1987);
  • Pee wee- My Circus Movie (1988);
  • Deadly Descent (1992);
  • Desperate Crime (1993);
  • Beretta's Island (1993).


While many competitors of his time followed restrictive diets with too much or so almost no carbohydrates, Franco Columbu have sought a less radical power, which at times could even include a pizza.

Before training, Franco Columbu never eat sugar, because I always knew that sugar only provides temporary power. Their preference was for natural sources of carbohydrate such as potatoes.


  • 1 fresh fruit;
  • 3 whole eggs;
  • 1 orange juice;
  • Small bowl with homemade yogurt and granola;
  • A glass of water with vitamins and mineral supplements.


  • Cooked vegetable 1;
  • large salad with a little olive oil and vinegar;
  • A large portion of grilled protein (fish liver, chicken or lamb);
  • 1 small glass of wine or water.

Afternoon snack:

  • A plate of selected cheeses;
  • Fresh fruit (usually pear).

Have a dinner:

  • It was generally similar to lunch.

End of the evening:

  • small portion of yogurt.


Franco Columbu trained six days a week, for at least five hours every day. In addition to the heavy weight, the Italian also trained ballet poses to improve their presentation in the major championships in bodybuilding.

See the main exercises Franco Columbu training:


  • Diving on parallel bars - 3 sets to exhaustion
  • Crucifix x 20 3 (3 sets of 20 repetitions)
  • Crossover 3 x 25
  • Bench press 3 x 15
  • Pullover rod 3 x 15
  • Incline 3 x 15


  • unilateral stroke 3 x 10
  • Stroke T 4 x 10
  • Fixed bar with wide grip 6 x 10- 15
  • Seated Row 4 x 10


  • Front elevation 3 x 8
  • Side Elevation 4 x 10
  • reverse crucifix 6 x 10
  • Development behind the neck 4 x 10
  • Unilateral elevation cables with 3 x 10


  • French threaded rod 4 x 8 (superset inclined bench screw at 4 x 8)
  • Triceps, tests 4 x 8 (superset with concentrated thread 4 x 8)
  • Triceps pulley 4 x 8 (dumbbell curl superset with 4 x 8)


  • Squat tiptoe 3 x 12-15
  • Land Survey 6 x 5, 5, 5, 3, 1, 1
  • Leg Press x 50 4, 25, 15, 8
  • Squat x 20 7, 15, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2
  • leg extension 6-7 x 20


One of the hallmarks of Franco Columbu was his dorsal muscles, which gave an appearance of wings.

And at a time when the vast majority of bodybuilders had more than 1.80 m, the stature of Franco Columbu impressive. But as his numerous titles show, this was not a problem for the Italian.

See the main measures of Columbu during competitions:

  • Height: 1.65m
  • Weight: 84 Kg
  • Arm: 48.26 cm
  • Waist: 76.20 cm
  • Thigh: 66.04 cm
  • Calf: 44.45 cm
  • Chest: 132.08







Baywatch rescue buoy yellow on tropical beach


Tribute to Franco Columbu

Blowing up a bottle of hot water

Franco Columbu - Mr. Olympia

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