Back in the day I was sitting at the judges table as an NPC judge and a middle weight bodybuilder was called forward to do his mandatory poses. He was actually a pretty decent bodybuilder if not for his ridiculous oversized balloon arms full of synthol. When he was asked by the head judge to do a front double biceps pose, someone in the audience yelled out “nice double synthol!” and the entire place broke out laughing. They were not laughing with him either, but at him. He looked stunned, and slinked off the stage. I’d heard from others how angry he was over it, and defended himself arduously regarding his claims he did not use synthol on a popular bodybuilding forum. He also went on to say how he should have at least won his class (and if not for his balloon arms he may have!) and how crappy the judges were and so forth. Dude was a poster child self-delusion on a grand scale.

3_6850034That was not the first experience I’d had with Synthol, far from it, but it was my first experience with just how delusional such people can be regarding their Synthol use. He knew he used Synthol or similar to make his arms the approximate size of his legs, why was he angry when everyone else knew it too? It was like some bikini competitor on stage with double E implants (which yes, I have seen…) claiming her boobs were natural and she should not have been marked down for her poor overall balance and symmetry due to the implants twice the size of her head.  I have had a few of those gals ask what they could do to improve their placing, and I/we usually told them to either reduce their breast size and or improve their lower body to help balance off the top, but none of them claimed their breasts were natural.

That’s where the Synthol use and implants gets really irritating when dealing with these jokers.  If you want to pump your arms and other areas with Synthol and add implants to make you look like  some distorted balloon animal, that’s your business, just don’t piss down my leg and tell me it’s raining by pretending you achieved that (hideous) look via hard work in the gym. That’s where I, and most others, draw the line.

What is Synthol?

man with synthol armsLet me back up a minute here. Synthol and the ilk is old news in bodybuilding, I mean really old news, as in decades. It still seems to be something of a mystery to the general population as (apparently) many of them still fall for these clowns and even look up to them. Hell, the Guinness World Records gave the title of worlds biggest arms to a Synthol idiot! It was only after a big outpouring from people who told the people at Guinness he was a fraud, did they remove references to him on their web site and said they were doing some investigations. I’m not aware if they ever concluded any investigation but it would take me all of about five minutes to show what’s in his arms are not muscle. They constantly refer to him as a bodybuilder, but as anyone can see, he’s no bodybuilder. Sad thing is, he denies any use of Synthol, or implants and claims some “expert” in Japan claimed they couldn’t find anything. Either the guy in Japan is an idiot, or he’s a bold faced liar.

I can easily arrange a legit expert in the US to take a look and will pay for it from my own pocket. If he passes, I’ll write an apology article. If not, he owes me the costs times two. Just as with similar offers I have made regarding things like “T boosters” and magnetic bracelets, I expect crickets here too. Can you imagine submitting yourself the Guinness and being surprised when people call you out for the BS?

So if you’re reading this and think “aw, everyone knows about Synthol Brink!” you’d be dead wrong. To this day when I post a vid or pic of the latest Synthol/implant clown, I get comments like “why does he look so deformed?” an comments about steroids and similar letting me know that outside of the small world that is the bodybuilding community, most people are still not aware of it. Remember, you can still find nutrition “experts” and medical doctors that will tell you creatine is bad for you, athletes don’t need additional protein above the RDA, and other debunked nonsense, so assuming most people are aware of Synthol is simply naive at best.

synthol manIf you know all about Synthol and the ilk, just jump to the next section, for the rest of you reading this: Synthol and similar products are not a steroid and have no active ingredients. It’s often referred to as “site enhancement oil” and is just that. It’s not real muscle, it does not make you stronger, and used to the extremes we see in these pics, dangerous. Over the decades there were a few guys in the US and Europe, mostly Germany, who went over the top with it, but it was rare. In recent years it’s become popular in some South American Countries, most notably Brazil. Most of the crazy pictures and vids you see of human balloon animals these days come out of Brazil and many there actually look up to these buffoons, not knowing about the practice , which only fuels the highly dangerous and dysfunctional behavior of “site enhancement oil.”

 Synthol is often combined with implants in muscles (pecs in particular) where Synthol does not work. As you all can see, it’s a pretty sad state of affairs with these guys all around.

Proper use of Synthol

First and foremost, I do not condone the use of Synthol and similar products, full stop. It’s one thing if people want to use various drugs to greatly enhance their hard work in the gym, it’s a totally different matter to inject some oil that has no relationship to any achievements made via hard work in the gym. I have my own thoughts on the whole drugs in sports thing people can check out HERE if interested, but even in competitive bodybuilding, that’s where people should draw the line. Having said that, Synthol use is common among pro bodybuilders. Done “right” it’s used in small specific muscles (rear delts, biceps, etc) to add some fullness to a lagging muscle group, used just enough to add visually versus detract. That is, used correctly, you shouldn’t be able to detect it, but you may marvel at their amazing rear delts, and so forth. Yes, some use it like that guy in the beginning of this article, but they don’t get far in the competitive ranks, hence why you don’t tend to see them at higher levels. There have been some pros who took it too far usually after they became pros, but that’s another story and again, usually easy to spot.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Muscle Dysmorphia

When Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) first arrived years ago, I too pretty much wrote if off as skinny jealous researchers coming up with a new diagnosis to make those who work hard in the gym feel like they should be ashamed. Muscle Dysmorphia (MD)  is a form of BDD and both related to OCD. Most know it as “bigorexia” in informal gym lexicon and yes, it’s a thing. No, not everyone who takes pride in changing their body due to hard work in the gym and good nutrition has BDD or MD, but you can’t look at pictures of these people and deny they have a serious mental disorder they likely have little control over. If you have been in the bodybuilding community long enough and around enough bodybuilders, you know bigorexia is a thing even if we resent some skinny fat psychologist labeling you as such just because you refused to go on vacation to a tropical island with your mother because it didn’t have a gym. Oh wait, that was me…But seriously (and that’s a true story BTW), anything people do can turn into an unhealthy obsession in some, and the line not always clear. A good example of someone I worked with who had serious BDD as a case study can be found HERE if interested, and his experience not rare truth be told.

Anyway, the Synthol dudes are obviously the worst manifestation of BDD/MD and as easy as it is to call them names like morons, idiots, and buffoons or worse who make legit physique athletes look bad to the general public, they have some serious issues to deal with obviously. Yes, I vacillate from considering them total D- bags to feeling sorry for them.  So, do your best to have some empathy for them between calling them names or at least make the attempt.

Breasts implants vs. Synthol


Big boobs are a form hyper femininity and big arms on men represent hyper masculinity, and that’s pretty much a “no duh” in my view, and we have all seen women that it took it outlandish proportions. More recently the overly large ass – AKA the “Kim K syndrome” – has become popular. Some have said there’s no difference between these man and those women, and they’re wrong. The giant boobs are not replacements for hard work in the gym, and none of the women tend to lie through their teeth they obtained those balloons by anything but paying a surgeon. Now, the big butts thing is a bit more complicated as there are women who indeed claim the big round disproportional glutes and skinny legs are due to hard work in the gym or “just how they were born,” and they are no better than the delusional Synthol clowns.  There’s always segment of people who think if something helps a little, then overdoing it will look even better, hence the women with fish lips and such. We all know better, but the sad fact is, they tend to get rewarded for that behavior just as much, if not more so, than the negative responses they get, or they wouldn’t keep doing it.


If you have two working neurons left to rub together, you’ll just say no to Synthol and similar products and implants people. I didn’t even touch on the dangers of the practice as I doubt that would have any impact on most people’s decisions to do it, but yes, seen some very nasty stuff happen using “site enhancement oil” and similar and you can find it easily on a Google search too. If you suspect you may have a touch of bigorexia, consider taking a close look at your behaviors and make sure they’re not counter productive to your health and life overall. I can say for myself, when I was at my biggest and strongest back in my twenties I often felt at my smallest and weakest, and in retrospect, didn’t enjoy that much and did miss out on some opportunities I should have jumped on. Live and learn.

  1. Carl Juneau, PhD 7 years ago

    Great post Will! Loved the tropical island vacation reference (first thing I check too is “does this hotel have a decent gym?”).
    Had never thought about it long enough to link the two, but yeah, muscle dysmorphia and synthol go hand in hand.
    Thx for that. Cheers!

    • Author
      Will Brink 7 years ago

      I’d think Synthol the ultimate expression of MD.

  2. Dan Przyojski 7 years ago

    Really good article. Every day thousands of newbie weightlifters enter the game and know nothing about this so it’s great to have articles like this floating around new every so often to catch the newbies and the weight game. I learned this from Bob Kennedy. I wrote an article on how to build bigger arms which I thought was just something everyone should know. Bob loved the article and bought it off me and told me everyday new people are learning about bodybuilding and told me it was a great arm routine

    • Author
      Will Brink 7 years ago

      Thanx Dan. I have a write up on Bob here if interested. Just search under his name.

      • Dan Przyojski 7 years ago

        Will, I’ll look it up. If you wrote it I know it’ll be good. I really like your articles and site. I love seeing bob every year at the Arnold and chatting with him on the phone about every six weeks or so he gave me my start with writing and selling articles and published a lot of my stuff. People like you and Bob are in short supply these days, good honest guys. Have a great weekend

        • Author
          Will Brink 7 years ago

          Thanx. You realize he passed away yes?

          • Dan Przyojski 7 years ago

            Yes, I was notified on the day he passed away. Remember it like it was yesterday.

  3. Kent Ingram 7 years ago

    A sobering blog, to say the least, Will! I can’t help but feel some sorrow for these folks who need to resort to this kind of thing. On the other hand, I want to cuff ’em upside their heads and say, “do you know how stupid and grotesque you look?!!”. The truth is, neither attitude would change their minds in the slightest. What’s REALLY scary is what their future lives are going to be in 20 years, or so.

    • Author
      Will Brink 7 years ago

      Many of them have experience serious problems far earlier,

  4. Gregg Walden 7 years ago

    Great article Will. People need to be alerted to the fact of what some idiots do and then deny the use of Synthol.

  5. Christian 7 years ago

    Just echoing others here. Could not agree more. There has to be something wrong with the user’s mind set? You, with all the work you have done, have seen some “reasonable” (if we can even use reasonable with this substance) use of Synthol. Maybe that is more prevalent than we as layman know. All the pictures we ingest concerning Synthol, we say, “Why?”. It is so ugly, unreasonable and face smacks everything resistance training is about. -CD

  6. Luis Figueroa 5 years ago

    Will what an awesome article on synthol, but you forgot the picture (photo ) of another synthol meathead from our own backyard, “ The Rambling Freak “ Gregg Valentino !
    The craziest, funniest most entertaining guy in this crazy world of bodybuilding !

    • Author
      Will Brink 5 years ago

      Glad you enjoyed the article. I figured I had enough Synthol in the article without adding Ol Gregg too.

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