Dennis Wolf AKA: The Big Bad Wolf is a professional bodybuilder from Germany who competes for the IFBB. He started training with weights at the age of 18, after becoming inspired by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pictures.
After years of sculpting a phenomenal physique, Dennis started taking part in bodybuilding shows. He quickly rose through the ranks, winning his Pro Card in 2005, and his first Pro show just one year later.
By 2015, Dennis became recognized as one of the greats of modern bodybuilding. Some of his best results included placing top 3 in the 2013 Mr. Olympia, and winning the elite 2014 Arnold Amateur Europe contest.
This is his story:
“My philosophy is to train as hard as you can, because the other competitors are training hard too.”
|Full Name: Dennis Wolf|
|265 – 275lbs (120.2 – 124.7kg)||5’11” (180cm)||56cm(22”)||142cm(56”)|
|Age||Date of Birth||Nationality|
|42||October 30, 1978||German|
|Professional Bodybuilder||The Big Bad Wolf||2000, 2010, 1990|
|Weight||265 – 275lbs (120.2 – 124.7kg)|
|Date of Birth||October 30, 1978|
|Alias||The Big Bad Wolf|
|Era||2000, 2010, 1990|
“The pain of today is the victory of tomorrow.”
- 2015 EVL’s Prague Pro – 4th place
- 2015 Mr. Olympia – 4th place
- 2014 San Marino Pro – 2nd place
- 2014 EVLS Prague Pro – 1st place
- 2014 Arnold Classic Europe – 1st place
- 2014 Mr. Olympia – 4th place
- 2014 Arnold Classic – 1st place
- 2013 Arnold Classic Europe – 3rd place
- 2013 Mr. Olympia – 3rd place
- 2012 EVLS Prague Pro – 1st place
- 2012 Arnold Classic Europe 2012 – 2nd place
- 2012 Mr. Olympia – 6th place
- 2012 Arnold Classic – 2nd place
- 2011 Sheru Classic – 5th place
- 2011 Mr. Olympia – 5th place
- 2011 Australian Pro – 1st place
- 2011 Arnold Classic – 2nd place
- 2011 Flex Pro – 4th place
- 2010 Mr. Olympia – 5th place
- 2010 NY Pro – 3rd place
- 2009 Mr. Olympia – 16th place
- 2008 Mr. Olympia – 4th place
- 2007 Mr. Olympia – 5th place
- 2007 Keystone Pro Classic – 1st place
- 2007 New York Pro – 3rd place
- 2006 Mr. Olympia – 16th place
- 2006 Grand Prix Spain – 3rd place
- 2006 Montreal Pro Championships – 5th place
- 2006 Europa Supershow – 7th place
- 2005 IFBB World Championship – 1st place and overall winner
- 2005 WM-Qualifikation (IFBB) – 1st place
- 2005 46 Deutsche Meisterschaft (IFBB) – 1st place heavyweight and overall winner
- 2005 NRW-Landesmeisterschaft (IFBB)–- 1st place heavyweight and overall winner
- 2005 Int. Hessischer Heavyweight Champion-Pokal – 2nd place
- 2004 Deutsche Meisterschaft (Germering) (IFBB) – 2nd place
- 2004 NRW-Landesmeisterschaft (IFBB) – 1st place heavyweight and overall winner
- 2002 Belgium Grand Prix – 1st place
- 2002 Mr. Universum (WPF) – Vice World Champion heavyweight
- 2000 Internationale Deutsche Meisterschaft (IFBB) – 4th place heavyweight
- 2000 NRW-Landesmeisterschaft (IFBB) – 1st place heavyweight and overall winner
- 1999 NRW-Landesmeisterschaft (IFBB) – 4th place heavyweight
- 1999 Multipowerpokal (IFBB) – 4th place heavyweight
- 1999 Newcomer (IFBB) – 2nd place heavyweight
“F*ck average. Beast or bi*ch, it’s your choice.”
Dennis Wolf was born in 1978, and was raised in the industrial part of Tokmog, Kyrgyzstan.
Growing up in the former Soviet Union, life was difficult for Dennis as a child. He lived with his parents in a small apartment, with barely enough food to survive.
Recalling his humble beginnings, Dennis said;“My father worked hard, but he wasn’t paid very much at all. Nobody was.”
While Dennis enjoyed playing sports and being active as a child, his studies and household tasks left him with little free time to partake in his favorite activities.
Moving to Germany
In 1992, Dennis moved to Germany together with his family, where he was forced to quickly learn the language and adapt to his new environment.
After high school, Dennis started working as a house painter and window installer. It was a highly demanding physical job which Dennis worked for 12 hours per day, 6 days per week.
Although he had little free time on his hands, Dennis was still able to practice kickboxing lessons, and play sports with his friends. These activities carved the foundations for Dennis’ fitness journey, which he embarked on several months later.
Start of Bodybuilding
Dennis’ journey all started when he turned 18. He saw pictures of the legendary bodybuilding icon Arnold Schwarzenegger, and was instantly captivated by his looks.
Shortly after, Dennis joined a local fitness center together with two of his friends.
After three weeks of experimenting with weights and barbells, Dennis’ friends quit the gym. But Dennis didn’t.
“They didn’t like it so much, but I loved it. Even in the first month, I got stronger and my body was a little bigger. There was no way I was going to quit,” says Dennis.
Dennis Wolf before and after.
Becoming a Competitor
While bodybuilding was just a hobby for Dennis at first, his amazing physical progress was something that eventually convinced him to pursue bodybuilding as his career.
Dennis soon decided to find a coach, and also, started preparing for his first bodybuilding competition. His debut came in 1999, at the NRW Newcomer Championships. Dennis did exceptionally well in the contest, taking home 2nd place in the heavyweight class.
The following year, in 2000, Dennis claimed his first bodybuilding trophy; taking home both heavyweight and overall trophies at the NRW International Championships.
At this point, Dennis had it clear in his mind – he wanted to become a professional bodybuilder, and make a living from his passion.
After over five years of competing as an amateur, and 14 bodybuilding contests. Dennis finally won his hard-earned Pro Card at the 2005 IFBB World Championships, winning the 1st place in both his weight class and overall.
With this victory, Dennis earned his place amongst the most elite bodybuilders in the world.
Dennis’ Life as a Pro
Between the 2006-2015 period, Dennis participated in 29 bodybuilding competitions. It’s during this period that Dennis made a name for himself in the industry of bodybuilding.
Some of his most notable victories from this period are; the 2007 Keystone Pro Classic (Dennis’ first Pro victory), 2012 EVLS Prague Pro, and the 2014 Arnold Classic Europe.
Dennis also placed highly in several Mr. Olympia competitions. Some of his best results in the contest were 4th place in 2008, 3rd place in 2013, and 4th place in 2015.
With a wide array of accomplishments under his belt, Dennis has solidified his status as one of the greatest bodybuilders of 2000s and 2010s.
He continues to grow in influence and recognition, always aiming to win the biggest trophies in the sport of bodybuilding.
Four Times Per Week
In his prime, Dennis worked out four times per week; incorporating huge amounts of volume in his workouts. Sometimes, Dennis did up to 30 sets per workout.
Nowadays, Dennis prefers training with lower volume, and more intensity. Here’s his full workout routine;
Day 1 – Chest and Biceps
- Incline barbell bench press – 2 warm up sets, then 3×8-12
- Bench press – 2×8-12
- Incline flyes – 2×8-12
- Cable crossovers – 1×15
- Seated dumbbell curls – 2 warm up sets, then 2×10
- Barbell curls – 2×10
- One-arm cable curls – 1×12 each arm
Day 2 – Legs
- Leg extensions – 1 warm up set, then 3×15
- Leg press – 2×12
- Squats – 1×15, then 1×10
- Lying leg curls – 3×10-15
- Good mornings – 2×10
- One-legged curls – 1×10 each leg
- Standing calf raises – 3×15
- Sitting calf raises – 2×15
Day 3 – Back and Rear Delts
- Dumbbell pullovers – 1 warm up set, then 2×10
- Close grip pull downs – 2×10
- Barbell rows – 2×10
- Seated one arm rows – 1×12 each arm
- Lying reverse flyes – 3×12
- One arm cable reverse flyes – 2×12 each arm
- Shrugs – 2×10
Day 4 – Shoulders, triceps and abs
- Front shoulder press machine – 1 warm up set, then 3×10-12
- Dumbbell side lateral raise – 2×10
- One arm cable lateral raise – 1×10 each arm
- Cable push downs – 1 warm up set, then 3×10-12
- French press – 2×10
- One arm cable push downs – 1×15 each arm
- Sit ups – 3×15-20
Top 10 Training Rules of Dennis Wolf
- Basic Base – For each body part Dennis trains, he will do at least one free weight exercise. He usually does this at the beginning of his workouts, when he has the most strength and energy.
- Quality and Quantity – While Dennis loves doing a lot of free weight exercises, he also stresses the importance of using isolation movements. Oftentimes, Dennis will combine cables and machines with free weights in order to target the muscle from all angles.
- Middle Ground – For the majority of exercises, Dennis will stick to the 10-12 rep range. With the exception of his calves and abs, where he does up to 25 reps per set.
- Adjust the Volume – Dennis always makes sure to get enough volume in; doing different types of exercises with many sets to get the most out of the workout.
- Illusion is Reality – One of the body parts Dennis is best known for are are his shoulders and back. He says, it’s important to do a lot of lateral raises and pull-downs to build the impressive V-taper look.
- Waist Not – Dennis advises eating clean, doing a lot of ab exercises, and possibly even vacuums to keep the waist tight and great-looking.
- Photo Reaction – Always measuring his progress by taking photos and weighing himself, Dennis advises everyone to do the same.
- Pulling Rank – The Big Bad Wolf suggests determining the weak area of the body, and then working out that area three or more times per week.
- Purpose-Driven Workouts – Before he even enters the gym, Dennis knows exactly what he’ll train that day, how many reps or sets he’ll do, and what variations of exercises he’ll do.
- Keep the Change – Dennis always strives to be better in the gym, and to improve his physique.
Pre-Competition Back Workout
Here’s a workout Dennis does when he wants to make his back look sharper;
- Reverse-grip Lat Pulldowns 2-3 warm-ups x 12-15 reps
- 4 x 10 (two-second squeeze)
- Assisted Chin-ups 4 x 10-12
- Barbell Rows, Facedown on Incline Bench 4 x 10
- Seated Cable Rows, Close Grip 4 x 10-12
- Hammer Strength High Rows 4 x 10-12
- Lat Pulldowns, Shoulder-width Grip 4 x 10-12
- Deadlifts (using 315, from mid-shins) 4 x 10-12
Just like any professional bodybuilder, Dennis has an off-season where he eats to gain size. And in-season, where he cuts down on his calories and carbohydrates, in order to lose as much body fat as possible.
Here’s how Dennis’ off-season diet looks;
- 1st Meal – 100 grams of protein from powder, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1 banana
- 2nd Meal – 40 grams protein powder (post-workout)
- 3rd Meal – 10 oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice
- 4th Meal – 14 oz fish, 1/2 cup brown rice
- 5th Meal – 10 oz steak, 1/2 cup brown rice
- 6th Meal– 10 oz chicken breast, 10 oz potato
- 7th Meal – 80 grams protein from powder
His contest prep diet;
- 8:30 am – 1 cup Oatmeal cooked, 10 Egg Whites, serving Protein Powder
- 11:00 am – 5 oz. Lean Ground Beef, 2 oz. Cashews
- 1:30 pm – 6oz. Chicken Breast (Boneless/skinless), 3 Whole Eggs
- 4:00 pm – Lean Mass Matrix
- 7:00 pm – Post Workout
- 7:30 pm – 6oz. Flounder Broiled, 1 cup Green Beans
- 60 min on Treadmill
- 10:00pm – 2 serv. Protein Powder (Blend preferred)
Supplements Dennis Wolf Takes
- Amino Acids
- Fat Burner (contest preparation)
- Protein Powder
Idols and Influences
One of the biggest influences in Dennis’ early bodybuilding journey was the Austrian Oak.
Pictures of Arnold’s statuesque physique inspired Dennis to start his own journey, and become one of the bodybuilding greats himself.
What we can learn from Dennis Wolf
Dennis Wolf grew up in a tough environment, living in a poor family and struggling as a child in Soviet Russia.
However, he didn’t let the circumstances dictate his future. Instead, he took control over his life with the help of bodybuilding, sculpting a physique which is now admired by people world over.
If you’re facing serious challenges or adversities in your life, perhaps something that seems too difficult to overcome. Remember how Dennis’ managed to escape poverty, and succeed in life despite the difficult circumstances.
With the right mindset and attitude, you can overcome anything that life throws at you – just like Dennis Wolf did.