The fourth lady to feature in our “Bodybuilding Legends” series is Lenda Murray. She competed in the 1990’s when women’s bodybuilding was still increasing in popularity and physiques were nowhere near as extreme as today. Read on and learn about this incredible woman’s bodybuilding story…
Every bodybuilder begins their muscle building journey for different reasons. Lenda had the ambition of becoming a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys. While training to lose weight from her thighs for the Cowboys’ auditions, she found that her body was responsive to weight training and she was gaining muscle. With some encouragement from fellow gym members, it wasn’t long before she shifted her direction from cheerleading to bodybuilding.
Lenda had a great combination of desirable genes, mental tenacity and a good sporting background. Regardless of these factors, she still had to put in tons of hard work to scale the ranks to success. She fared well in amateur competitions, placing fourth in her first competition in 1985, and achieving top 3 positions in the rest. She earned her pro card in 1989 when she won the IFBB North American Championships, and this is where her journey to the top began.
Mastering her diet, training regimen and polishing off her posing skills led her to win the biggest title in bodybuilding. She scored a phenomenal six Ms.Olympia wins, from 1990-1995 with a further two in 2002 and 2003. She defeated well-muscled champions, including Bev Francis and Iris Kyle, throughout her Olympia years. She looked great from all angles and Murray’s wide shoulders and leg development never failed to impress. Famous strength coach Charles Poliquin wrote that Lenda had “the best middle deltoids I’ve ever seen.”
Winning the most prestigious title in bodybuilding requires huge amounts of dedication and thousands of training hours in the gym. Like all true champions, Lenda didn’t shy away from the hard work. Lenda rightfully valued barbell squats and said they were important for building her thighs, glutes and core muscularity. She could rep out with six 45lb (20kg) plates on the bar 315lbs (143kg) total, very respectable considering that this was approximately double her body weight. Rows, presses and curls were all essential basics that she used to pack muscle onto her upper body, using a variety of rep ranges. She regularly ate six meals a day to fuel and recover for and from the high demands and intensity of her routines.
Lenda’s life got very busy as she made her way to the top of the bodybuilding world. New doors opened and she grabbed new opportunities. She featured on the cover of magazines, wrote articles and had numerous television appearances. Several world-class bodybuilders venture into acting and Lenda pursued this too. She had appearances in the bodybuilding film “Too Big for the World” and in the comedy film “The Ridiculous 6”, which also starred Adam Sandler.
To add to her many successes, Lenda was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame in 2010, joining our earlier Bodybuilding Legends Rachel McLish, Cory Everson and Laura Creavalle. She was also inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
At the present age of 55 years old, Lenda has an age-defying physique. She barely looks a day older since her last Ms.Olympia competition, surely the result of consistent training and good disciplined eating habits. Lenda shows no signs of slowing down and is still active in the bodybuilding world. It’s a fact that this beautiful and modest lady is one of the best bodybuilders ever to own the Olympia crown. Feel free to check out Lenda’s pages on Facebook and Instagram! Love bodybuilding? Tell us about it in the comments below, on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!