Twenty-one-year-old Russian bodybuilder and ex-soldier Kirill Tereshin drew attention on social media in recent months as a result of his unusually large biceps, which he claims are the product of self-applied injections of a site enhancement oil known as synthol. And while the size of his muscles has led people to refer to him as the “Russian Popeye,” doctors are concerned that he might one day end up losing his arms if he keeps on using the chemical.
As recounted by the Daily Mail, Tereshin had recently taken to Instagram to admit (WARNING: Article contains graphic photos) that his “bazooka arms are about to fall off,” and that he has been told by doctors that he risks being paralyzed and having his arms amputated. He had also shared Instagram photos showing his biceps apparently discolored, a possible consequence of his usage of homemade synthol, which he said he makes by using olive oil, lidocaine, and benzyl alcohol.
Despite warnings from doctors and the aforementioned photos, Kirill Tereshin reportedly has no immediate intention of ceasing his regular synthol injections, and plans to stop using the substance on his arms once his 23-inch biceps reach their target size of 27 inches. But the Daily Mail cited a statement from a leading Russian medical professional, who warned of even more serious risks that go beyond amputation and paralysis.
“Not immediately but he very likely faces amputation in the future,” said professor Evgeny Lilin, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
“One day abscesses will develop, then inflammation, and he [will be at risk of] a stroke. The bad thing is that already-injected synthol or its equivalent will remain in his muscles for the next five to seven years, even if he stops adding more now.”
An unnamed doctor also told the Daily Mail that Tereshin’s arms may already contain abscesses that either consist of oil or blood from damaged vessels, and that these inflammations cannot be removed.
A month prior to the new report, Kirill Tereshin was featured by the Sun, as the publication detailed how the young man used synthol to increase the size of his biceps by 10 inches in only 10 days. Despite the Sun’s observation that Tereshin’s biceps and triceps are “completely out of proportion” with the rest of his body, the November 2017 report stated that the “Russian Popeye” was planning to continue his synthol use in hopes of breaking bodybuilding records.
“In order to reach such a size, you need to inject liters into your arms,” Tereshin explained.
“I was doing it and getting a fever of up to 40 degrees, I was lying in bed, feeling like I was dying, but then it all turned out fine.”
Apart from the doctors’ warnings, Kirill Tereshin has received constant criticism from social media users, including some who suggested that he needs psychiatric help, and that his biceps look “stupid and ugly.” Yet he remains committed to his workout and synthol regimen. Once he reaches his goal of growing his biceps to 27 inches, Tereshin reportedly plans to use synthol to “improve” his back, chest, and shoulder muscles, while also hoping to get more than one million Instagram followers so he could “stop working,” the Daily Mail noted. He also stressed the benefits of using homemade synthol instead of the actual substance, claiming that he spent about 90 percent less money than he should have by making his own version of the site enhancement oil.
Aside from the aforementioned risks, Evolutionary.org warns that synthol could be potentially addictive, and could also result in pulmonary embolisms and nerve damage, among other dangers. The site’s fact sheet also cited examples of other bodybuilders who, like Kirill Tereshin, have supposedly been told that their arms might need to be amputated as a consequence of long-term synthol use.