What is Synthol ? To explain this substance, we must first start talking about bodybuilders and genetics. Bodybuilders have always known that muscle shape is determined by genetics (and that little can be done to change this). A short biceps or triceps will always be short muscles. In the same way that a narrow rib cage cannot be widened no matter how much you train. If a bodybuilder's shoulders do not have enough pump and roundness, these things can be worked on with the right exercises. However, there will be no miracles. Those shoulders may never look like those of a bodybuilder with good genetics on stage. The same happens with other muscle groups such as the quadriceps, calves or dorsal.

To alleviate muscle decompensation problems (those things that cannot be corrected simply with training), bodybuilders began using an oil called Synthol . This substance served to temporarily increase the size of lagging muscles to correct defects when competing on stage. The method of application was to inject the substance directly into the muscle (as if you were filling a balloon with water). If this was done discreetly, it could help a little to achieve that physical perfection in the competition. But soon the general public discovered this oil and some people began to use it for "recreational" purposes to disproportionately and effortlessly increase the size of their muscles, with the risks that this entails.

What is Synthol?

What is Synthol according to Wikipedia?

Definition of Synthol according to Wikipedia.

It must be made clear that Synthol is not an anabolic steroid , since many people still have doubts about this. This is not a doping substance. Synthol is a liquid, fluid or oil that does not provide performance enhancement, does not produce changes in the hormonal axis, and does not create contractile or functional muscle.

Synthol is usually composed of oil, benzyl alcohol, and lidocaine. The substance is 85% oil (usually oil made up of medium chains of MTC because this gives the best effect), 7.5% lidocaine (pain reliever) and 7.5% alcohol (to sterilize the mixture). Synthol is a substance used by bodybuilders as a temporary implant that is injected deep into the muscles. The effect is immediate. Synthol is used on small muscle groups to increase their volume (for example, triceps, biceps, shoulder muscles or calf muscles). Some serious side effects may be seen when using Synthol. The muscles mold and take on an unnatural shape. The side effects of Syntol are varied and can also cause nerve damage, pulmonary oil embolism, pulmonary artery occlusion, myocardial infarction, stroke, and infectious complications.

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Psychological problems of Synthol users

Outside of the competitive world, some people (especially men) have turned to Synthol as a shortcut to effortlessly gaining muscle size. It is well known that body image disorders develop in the world of bodybuilding and fitness. Some bodybuilders (professional and recreational) simply never look muscular enough.

If we leave aside the reason for using Synthol for competitive purposes, the truth is that the indiscriminate use of this substance to inflate muscles excessively does not produce aesthetic or harmonious musculature. In fact, the end result is something truly grotesque.

Some other "Synthol man" has become popular on the Internet by excessively using the substance. Some Synthol users have become a meme . They think people follow them because they look strong or because of the enormous size of their biceps. However, to viewers, they are more like a circus monster or a morbid curiosity.

First of all, a Synthol user in these cases should be supported by his or her closest family and friends to seek psychological help. The person is suffering from a distortion of reality and endangering his health and her life.

It is common for psychological problems to come from having been a very thin person in childhood. Actually, Synthol users could tone their muscles with a proper training and eating program. Giving these people a realistic view of their body is essential.

Synthol geeks
Synthol freaks.

Synthol Side Effects

Despite the immediate effect on the muscles, the substance is very dangerous for health. Users are exposed to the following problems:

  • A heart attack could occur.
  • Muscles can become deformed.
  • Muscles can take on an unnatural shape, which does not bode well for future competitions.
  • Nerves can be damaged.
  • A pulmonary embolism may occur.
  • It is possible to injure the injected muscle.
  • Pulmonary artery occlusion may occur.
  • It increases the risk of having a stroke because the substance can travel to other parts of the body and block blood vessels in the brain, heart and lungs.
  • The user has to deal with the complications of an infection.

Using Synthol in your bodybuilding career can set you back years. The FDA says side effects can last indefinitely after the injection. Intensive and expensive procedures are often required to treat negative side effects, and the bodybuilder may need such procedures long after the first injection.

Man with Synthol biceps
Synthol man with swollen biceps.

Is Synthol well used?

No. This oil is never "well used." What's more, even in the competition world, judges can penalize a bodybuilder if it becomes obvious that he or she has used Synthol. The general recommendation for competitors is to try to exploit the strengths that genetics has given them and work on the weaknesses with training or even with proper posing on stage. 

However, the competitive hunger of some bodybuilders makes them 100% determined to use this substance, even knowing all the side effects. The  US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established the following recommendations for bodybuilders who have decided to use this substance:

  • Do not use products with strange labeling or with a different appearance than usual.
  • Never use injections to improve the body. This means that you should never inject filler between your muscles, as this can be dangerous and lead to serious injury or even death.
  • Never receive injections from unlicensed providers.

There is no such thing as Synthol properly used. Please work hard to improve your muscles in the gym, but never use fillers like Synthol in oil.

Synthol well used in bodybuilder
"Synthol well used" had its application only in professional bodybuilding. Example of a bodybuilder who has used oil to increase the size of his triceps and quadriceps.

Famous users of this substance - The "Synthol Man" meme

Since the oil became popular, several characters have emerged on the Internet who have become known for injecting Synthol, putting their health in serious danger. We see who they are.

Greg Valentino 

Greg Valentino's arms explode due to Synthol

Greg Valentino is a bodybuilder from New York who became obsessed with having the most enormous biceps in the world. He injected so much Synthol into his arms that his biceps even reached 71 cm in circumference for a 1.68 m tall man. Valentino's case was famous because his biceps ended up bursting and the Synthol had to be drained in a complicated hospital operation. Greg Valentino was also arrested for trafficking anabolic substances.

Although he was the person with the largest biceps in the world, his arms explode due to Synthol .

Valdir Segato

Valdir Segato, The Brazilian Hulk

Another Synthol user who became a social media meme was Valdir Segato, known as "The Brazilian Hulk" . Valdir commented that he felt self-conscious about having been very thin since he was young, and that he did not get the results he expected when training in the gym. He decided to inject Synthol into the chest, biceps and shoulders . The grotesque result is what we see... Unfortunately, "The Brazilian Hulk" failed to kick his oil addiction and died at the young age of 55. Rest in peace.

Kirill Tereshin , "The Russian Popeye"

Kirill Tereshin is the Russian Synthol Man

This young Russian is the most popular "Synthol Man" of recent times. He is known as "The Russian Popeye" or "The Synthol Man of Russia" due to the enormous size of his arms, which he has obtained by injecting himself with oil. A sad story, without a doubt, because even his mother has repeated on several occasions that she does not know what to do with him to stop him from injecting himself. 

Kirill Tereshin  has garnered morbid popularity on social networks. He has become addicted to public attention and fame. A fame that can even cost him his life or the amputation of both arms. Kirill has had medical problems on several occasions due to Synthol in his arms and has had to undergo surgery to drain the substance. However, he has resumed using the injections as soon as he has recovered. 

Kirill started injecting the substance when he was about 20 years old and is still young. He is not aware of the dangers to his life and health. To gain more popularity on the Internet, Russia's Synthol Man  does all kinds of absurd things, like participating in MMA fights . This is somewhat stupid since his arms are not functional despite his large size nor does he have the necessary combat knowledge. 

Current appearance of the Russian Synthol man

He takes cues from Romario Dos Santos Alves, another "Brazilian Hulk" who pumped up his muscles with Synthol. Although the fan community and even doctors have warned Kirill about the danger of losing his arms, he does not heed the warnings. Recently, he has even started cosmetic surgeries for his face.

Kirill Sarichev, a Russian strength athlete, volunteered to train Kirill for free so that he could get a real muscular physique. The only condition was that Kirill stop injecting himself. Unfortunately, Kirill did not want to accept.

Kirill Tereshin MMA fight.

Romario Dos Santos Alves

Romario Dos Santos Alves, Synthol man

This Brazilian followed the path of the previous "Brazilian Hulk." Romario Dos Santos Alves had to stop injecting intramuscular oil in 2013 due to doctors' warnings. 

Romario stopped using this oil because of his wife and son.

The best alternatives to Synthol to build muscles

Do not use Synthol. There are natural ways to achieve the look you want. Synthol users should spend time at the gym and eat a diet rich in protein and healthy foods, rather than turning to dangerous substances.

A good training program for the gym

Instead of using a substance like Synthol to create instant muscle growth, a proper bodybuilding protocol must be followed and done in a safe manner to keep the body healthy for years to come.

High frequency training can increase lean mass and strength. Let's refer to an April 2016 study published in the "International Journal of Exercise Science." Researchers compared a group with high-frequency exercise and a group with low-frequency exercise. The researchers found that training three times a week with three sets for each muscle group per exercise (doing three full-body exercises) produced the best results compared to the group that trained at low frequency and did a split routine.

After eight weeks of training, the high-frequency training group increased lean muscle mass by 1.9% and experienced strength improvements in the chest press by 11% and squats by 21%.

Training to gain muscle without using Synthol

Nutrition properly to support muscle growth

A May 2014 research published in the "Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition" states that most bodybuilders respond best if they consume 1.4 to 2 grams of lean protein per day. Also, 15-30% of calories should come from fat. The remaining calories will be from carbohydrates.

In addition, there are some tips to improve results in natural bodybuilding :

- Before weight training, eat a meal containing 0.4 to 0.5 grams of protein per gram of body weight.

- You don't have to try to dehydrate yourself to show off more defined muscles. This is dangerous and may not improve appearance.

- It is ideal for a bodybuilder to consume three to six meals a day.

- Supplements that may help are creatine monohydrate, caffeine and beta-alanine, which have potentially beneficial effects on strength and performance. If the athlete is eating healthy, he or she does not need to take other supplements such as multivitamins and minerals.

- Other supplements, such as those containing zinc/magnesium aspartate, nitric oxide precursors, chromium and choline, have no scientific evidence to increase strength and muscle mass.

Muscle Inflation Oil Users
More Synthol geeks.

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What is Synthol cream?

Do not confuse the harmful Synthol injectable oil with Synthol cream . The latter is simply a gel for legal use that is used for massage, as a muscle relaxant and to relieve bruises. This product is sold under the trade name Synthol liquide or Synthol gel  and has a price between €10 and €30 (depending on the liquid or cream format).

Is Synthol oil permanent?

Unfortunately yes. Once Synthol adheres to muscle tissue, the body is not able to absorb it. The only option to remove the oil is invasive medical surgery.

Additionally, the damage caused by oil to the muscles can be permanent. Sometimes it is necessary to cut and remove some muscle tissue. Muscle function and strength may be compromised forever! Therefore, this substance can even permanently undermine your progress in the gym if after using it you decide to train naturally.

Kirill Tereshin in a hospital
Kirill Tereshin undergoing surgery in the hospital.

Where do bodybuilders get this oil? Is it legal?

This substance is easily purchased on the Internet and is legal despite the risks associated with its use. Unfortunately, its access is easy. It is not a safe substance nor is it medically approved to be injected intramuscularly.

There are too many dangers associated with Synthol, which has given rise to memes and social phenomena such as "The Russian Popeye." As we have seen, the life of more than one "Synthol man" has had a tragic end. The most common reason for using this substance is the image disorder suffered by certain people in the bodybuilding world. Psychological support is crucial to eliminate addiction to this substance and lead a normal life. The best way to get bigger muscles will always be natural training and nutrition.

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