For those who don't know, synthol, or site enhancement oil, refers to a mixture of oils that is injected into the muscle in order to enhance its size and appearance. Professional and amateur bodybuilders traditionally use the substance to enhance certain muscle groups that are "lagging" or falling behind the rest of the developed muscle. Not many admit it, but a lot of pros have used synthol to prepare for competitions. Some find that smaller muscle groups are falling behind the rest of the body part–triceps, for instance–so they inject synthol into that muscle to get it to grow.
There are several bodybuilders who have been accused of using synthol and others who have admitted to using the substance. For them, results are relatively minor and have to be looked at critically to notice the enhancement. Non-pros use it too, though. And in those cases, the results are far more striking. In these people, you may see massive biceps or pecs with no definition in the rest of their body.
Synthol use can lead to a laundry list of medical problems, which can range from the growths busting through the user’s skin to potential death. Professional bodybuilders are known for disregarding their health in favor of short-term gains, so it should come as no surprise that synthol is being used professionally. What's more shocking are the striking photos of amateurs and non-bodybuilders who use the stuff. Some of these users don't work out at all but inject their traps, biceps, and pecs with synthol to give a truly disturbing aesthetic.
15 Arlindo De Silva
Having the biggest biceps in Brazil might be an accomplishment, but not if that means looking like Arlindo De Silva. His biceps were measured at 19 inches around. With arms that size, someone wouldn't be blamed if they thought De Silva was extremely strong. They'd be wrong, however, because De Silva can't lift any more than he could before he injected synthol into his arms.
In fact, synthol may have actually made it harder for De Silva to see natural results. Synthol can do a ton of damage when injected this way, and many bodybuilders have even had to have their arms amputated when they get to this size. De Silva even admits that one of his friends died from using synthol, but that didn't dissuade him from having some of the biggest (and worst-looking) arms on the planet.
14 Flex Wheeler
There aren't many IFBB professional bodybuilders who admit to using synthol, but Kenneth "Flex" Wheeler says that a lot of them were in the 1990's. He claims that it was a fad at the time and doesn't see it as any crazier than some of the other things that bodybuilders were doing back then, including copious amounts of steroids. Still, Wheeler recognizes the dangers of using synthol and says that his skin even tore from the growth it created.
Because he's one of the only ones who has admitted to using the substance, fans of bodybuilding often criticize him for it. Wheeler, though, maintains that he only tried synthol, and didn't use it regularly like some bodybuilders do. For bodybuilders who are already jacked, synthol use isn't as noticeable. The results can be a lot more disgusting when it's used by people who hardly lift at all.
13 Moustafa Ismail
If you thought Arlindo De Silva had some big guns, then prepare to be amazed by the 2012 Guinness World Record holder for biggest biceps. Moustafa Ismail of Massachusetts has 31-inch arms that look like they were drawn rather than earned. These arms make it literally impossible for Ismail to wear any shirts with sleeves.
We'll have to throw the "alleged" tag on this one since Ismail maintains that he developed the bulging arms by natural means. He says that he turned to bodybuilding after he was ridiculed for his weight while at a wedding in his home country of Egypt. He lists how many calories he eats along with his rigorous workout routine, but none of those elements will net arms that look like these. Even steroids will offer a more balanced frame than this one.
12 Vladir Segato
Inspired by figures such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and The Incredible Hulk, Vladir Segato constantly injects himself with synthol so that his muscles may grow and grow. His biceps are a massive 23 inches around, but he says that he still wants to go bigger. When he was younger, Segato was very skinny and always wanted to pack on the pounds. He started hitting the gym but didn't see the results that he needed. Then, he heard of synthol, and his whole attitude changed.
Now, Segato is a genuine freak, although I think he would take that as a compliment. His pecs better resemble Pamela Anderson's in her prime rather than Arnold Schwarzenegger's in his. He says that people call him He-Man, although the dimensions are a bit off. His core could use some work, but that's one of the problems with synthol. If you inject it in your belly, you probably won't be able to stand for very long.
11 Ernie Taylor
Ernie Taylor is another IFBB pro who allegedly used synthol to boost his aesthetic. He never admitted to using the substance, and unlike some of the other people on this list, the results aren't definitive. Still, there are some telltale signs that Taylor experimented injecting synthol into his trademark body part—his triceps.
Of course, there is no definitive proof that Taylor used synthol, and since he'll never admit to it, we'll probably never know for sure. The reason why his name gets brought up in the synthol conversation, though, is because of his triceps. Taylor was known for having massive triceps throughout his bodybuilding career. The only thing is, they don't look very natural. Natural triceps don't tend to bulge like Taylors do and form a horseshoe shape when flexed. Taylor's are just big with hardly any definition.
10 Gregg Valentino
Before Moustafa Ismail took the title for world's largest biceps, the record holder was none other than Gregg Valentino. Valentino's arms aren't too far away at 28 inches, but he'll have to inject some more synthol if he wants to take his belt back.
Gregg Valentino is another bodybuilder who doesn't admit to using synthol. HE claims that his muscles developed naturally, which is hard to believe when you see the size of his arms. His look is hardly any different from those who admit to using the stuff. Unlike some of the other users, Valentino actually has some strength in those muscles. He's a legitimate bodybuilder, but that doesn't mean he didn't use synthol to help his arms grow bigger than the size of most people's heads.
9 Nasser El Sonbaty
Nasser El Sonbaty was an IFBB pro bodybuilder from Egypt. He was a legitimate bodybuilder who has competed in countless competitions. He even took home first place in a few of them. It's not that El Sonbaty's synthol use was extremely noticeable like some others, but he was one who was rumored to have been using the substance prior to his death in 2013.
His synthol use wouldn't take away from his accomplishments in the sport. To hear Flex Wheeler talk about it, almost everyone tried synthol at the very least. For El Sonbaty, it was rumored that he used synthol on some of his "lagging" muscles, namely his arms and muscles on his legs.
For professional bodybuilders, synthol use is a lot more specific. Instead of wanting hulking disproportionate biceps, those competing want a well-rounded look. These bodybuilders inject synthol into smaller muscles, such as some muscles on their legs, to make them pop.
8 Rich Piana
Piana was never shy to talk about his steroid use, which is what is theorized to have cost him his life when he died earlier this year. When police searched his home, they found 20 bottles of testosterone. Piana has been on record saying that no one should use steroids if they don't have to. Unfortunately, he says, all professional bodybuilders have to use them to be able to compete.
On synthol, Piana has admitted to trying it. He's injected it in his own body but was unhappy with the results and discontinued the use. He says that continued use will actually make the muscle look worse, which I think we can all agree with after looking at these photos. As he says, it actually blurs the definition of the muscle in favor of hulking size. Sure, your muscle will be big, but it will actually look smaller in a large body because of the swollen soft look that the muscles get.
7 Iraqi Bodybuilder
Not much is known about this Iraqi bodybuilder, but his photos are always popping up when it comes to people who use synthol. Of course, you can't confirm that he's used the substance because he hasn't admitted it, but one look at his physique and it should be obvious.
This guy looks like SpongeBob in that episode where he gets inflatable arms. There is no definition, only disgustingly massive biceps and shoulders that would make some of the other people on this list jealous. You can't tell by this photo, but this gent's pecs are injected with the oil as well. Instead of actual muscle, he looks like he would pop if he got too close to a needle. Overall, it's a bad look for him, but I'm sure he thinks it looks great.
6 Curtis Leffler
Curtis Leffler was an American IFBB pro bodybuilder. He did whatever it took to stay competitive in the sport, and that unfortunately cost him his life. He used steroids, which all IFBB pro bodybuilders do, but he also tried synthol. According to Rich Piana, it was actually synthol that killed him.
Injecting synthol is extremely dangerous, and if you accidentally inject it into a vein or artery, it could put your life at risk. Rich Piana said in an interview that Leffler was injecting synthol into his calf when he died. He accidentally hit an artery, and that was the end. It's somewhat understandable to hear that an IFBB pro was using synthol, but some people use it as a replacement for lifting weights. Stories like Leffler's are the reason why no one should try the stuff. The results are not worth the risks.
5 Romario Dos Santos Alves
Twenty-five-year-old Romario Dos Santos Alves is one of the most freakish-looking man on a freaky-looking list. He's a confirmed synthol user who modeled his body after that of the fictional character The Incredible Hulk. The Hulk, though, is a lot more proportional than Alves ended up being.
Alves wanted to get bigger and bigger, and that's when he found synthol. Synthol allowed his arms to grow to inhuman widths, which is exactly what he wanted. Now, though, Alves is regretting his decision to get bigger arms as he's facing a host of medical problems. He suffered kidney failure and bouts of depression when he realized that he'd never be as big as he wanted. He may even have to have his arms amputated because of his use of the oil.
4 Do You Even Use Synthol, Bro?
Professional and amateur bodybuilders aren't the only ones who are using synthol. There are members of the general public who are also injecting the stuff. When they do, results often come out looking like the man pictured above. Those swollen arms look closer to a serious health risk (which they probably are) than any sort of muscle I've seen.
This guy looks like he's about to pop, and that's not a hyperbole. Synthol can leak and even explode in the muscles, causing a laundry list of health problems in the body. Is this look really coveted by anyone? Does this guy really think he looks strong? The answer is, unfortunately, yes. People are going to continue to use synthol, even with the disgusting results and numerous health risks.
3 Synthol Buddies
Why work for your muscles when you can inject oil into them and have them expand? That's what these muscle-bound gentlemen seem to think. The thing is, these guys would look a hell of a lot better if they didn't inject synthol at all. Both of them seem pretty fit, but their massive biceps only serve to make them look like cartoon characters rather than actual bodybuilders.
Synthol, in moderation, doesn't net these type of results. These guys were clearly injecting the oil into their arms for years. Apart from being extremely dangerous, the oil makes people look terrible. These type of people suffer from the same body dysmorphia that anorexic people exhibit. Instead of thinking they're too fat, these people think they're too small. Anyone who thinks these arms look good clearly has some sort of body image issue.
2 Don't Skip Leg-Injection Day
Anyone who has ever been seriously interested in bodybuilding knows that proportions are key. Everyone wants to have arms, chest, and legs look like they get equal work at the gym. Synthol, on the other hand, does the exact opposite. Professionals who use the substance often use it to highlight a lagging muscle. Amateurs, though, like this gentleman, end up having massive arms with nothing much else to show.
It should come as no surprise to see a guy with synthol-infused arms look like he's never seen a squat rack in his life. It's one thing to skip leg day. It's another to inject poisonous oil into your arms to make them big, then completely neglect your legs like they don't matter at all. Sure, it will garner you some looks from the ladies, but those are mostly in the "Wow that's pretty gross" range.
1 Rock Arms
One of the best parts of lifting weights is discovering new muscles you didn't even know existed. After a few months of heavy lifting, you'll start to notice that little muscles in your forearms start to bulge. You realize that your biceps and shoulders are actually made up of group of muscles instead of a single mass.
With synthol, all this subtlety is completely lost. There's size, but these synthol muscles look more like rocks than actual hard-earned muscles. With the real thing, you're able to see your muscles move and contract with strain. With synthol, you might as well stop working out because you're never going to see a change unless you inject more of the stuff. Synthol is becoming an epidemic in the bodybuilding community. Even though no one looks good with massively-distorted muscles, people keep on going.
Sources: Youtube/Generation Iron, Daily Mail, Boston.CBS Local
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