Why do you do the things that you do in the gym? What makes you choose the exercises you use – and why do you stick with them?
I realised that so much of what we do is convention. We do things like dumbbell shrugs because they work, of course, but what about alternative ways of doing things? That’s what we’re going to talk about today because we’re talking about Kyriakos Grizzly.
Known for his unorthodox moves, Kryiakos Kapakoulak is larger than life – both in his character and physique. He’s an enormous, larger than life lifter and, if you’re unfamiliar, check out his channel!
This article took a fair bit of digging: the Grizzly doesn’t seem to interact much with his followers, and finding a proper explanation of who he is and why he trains the way he does is no easy task! Kyriakos is hard man to find information about. He keeps to himself and – despite achieving meme status through the fitness industry – maintains a relatively modest internet presence.
What matters is what we do see from him: what he does, how he does it, and what you can learn from it. Especially when it comes to taking a new perspective on old exercises – especially for the natural bodybuilding community.
So here is a massive deep-dive into the massive man, Kyriakos Grizzly and his enormous stature!
Kyriakos Grizzly mixes powerlifting, strongman and bodybuilding training
The first thing to note is that Kyriakos Grizzly is not a bodybuilder, powerlifter, or other athlete. As far as we can tell, he just loves training and lifting weights. We don’t need to judge this man on his athletic performance because he just lives it.
Looking at the Grizzly’s training, he seems to be mixing powerlifting, strongman, and bodybuilding. He’s lifting weights and seems to always be focused on strength and size – and he’s got plenty of both!
That is a versatile way to train, but what seems obvious is that the Grizzly likes to use heavy weights – whether it comes to powerlifting, bodybuilding or strongman variations!
We’ve seen Kyriakos using Powerlifting’s Big Three lifts – squat, bench, and deadlift – with lower reps. We’ve also seen him train higher reps with other exercises including pulldowns, high pulls, and obviously his iconic Zercher shrug.
This is basically how we should all be training – he’s following the key principles. We need to focus on lower-rep strength and then push the reps higher when we are doing accessory exercises to build muscle mass.
Kyriakos Grizzly and powerlifting
The Grizzly isn’t a power lifter – so why does he use these exercises? We know he’s not scared of trying new, inventive movements…
Obviously, Powerlifting is the sport of squatting, benching, and deadlifting for the heaviest combined ‘total’. One of the things we need to remember is that Kyriakos has been training a long time and these were probably the movements he used to build strength when he was younger.
It’s always key to remember: the things you see experienced lifters do didn’t always get them where they are. When you’re more experienced, your body is more durable and you can start turning up the variety and intensity!
Improving on these classic compounds and gain strength with them is very rewarding and it transfers to Grizzly’s more unorthodox movements. How can you perform heavy Zercher Shrugs, for example, if you don’t deadlift enough to stand up with the weight?
You have to be strong to start doing the crazy stuff. Having a strong foundation of performance is how you get yourself ready to do all kinds of crazy lifts – then you can specialise and build on your healthy, strong body.
Just like the Grizzly, if you’re interested to build strong strength foundations, implementing powerlifting work such as practicing the big three lifts is a great idea.
Kyriakos and strongman training (+unconventional lifts)
Strongman training is about true functional strength.
Strongmen are strong in the powerlifts and basic gym movements, then they take it a step further. When we compare strongman to powerlifting there are 2 areas where strongman is clearly pushing it further:
- Dynamic: Strongman involves way more movement – like carries and loading
- Variety: Strongman training involves a wide variety of exercises to test your overall, full-body strength in new and exciting ways.
While powerlifting is about lifting the heaviest possible barbell, strongman is often about lifting heavy, awkward objects (like those you encounter in life) and getting them from A to B. You’ll see a lot of ground-to-overhead, or sprinting with an object, or lifting over a yoke.
Strongmen and strongwomen are incredible athletes that combine the strength of powerlifting with the more dynamic challenges of “oddlifting”.
The Grizzly seems to like strongman training and often practices movements such as rope pull overs or heavy push-downs. You will often see him go back and forth with a ton of weights on top of a shelf in his gym-basement.
Grizzly will also make conventional lifts a little weirder. This is either part of the variety and oddlifting of his routine, or simply making an exercise more challenging.
He will often do exercises with Zercher variations. These movements often involve quite a lot of momentum and “cheating” to move the loads, just like we would see in strongman competitions from place A to B.
The Zercher squat has tremendous carryover to strongman movements, such as the Barrel (or sandbag) Carry, the Atlas Stone event, or the Yoke Carry. We’ve even seen events involving a Zercher log carry.
Kyriakos Grizzly and bodybuilding training
Bodybuilding is about developing your muscle mass. Clearly, Kyriakos Grizzly has plenty of mass!
Even when working on hypertrophy and more orientated bodybuilding style workouts, the Grizzly uses heavy loads. This doesn’t mean he’s not building muscle, however: the best ranges for building muscle and strength are generally 5-10, where bar speed is forcibly slow but we’re still getting some metabolic change.
Kyriakos is so strong that what are heavy weights for the average human is moderate for him. This is always the most reliable muscle building tool: heavy weight for higher reps. You’re hitting all the boxes, but it does place significant stress on the body.
You will often see Kyriakos working high-rep upright rows and lat pulldowns (20+ reps), classic Bodybuilding staples. While his choice of exercises is often unconventional, the Grizzly’s program still applies the fundamentals I always talk about: strength train like a powerlifter then perform your accessories like a bodybuilder!
If you like big, strong muscles then bodybuilding is something you should consider just like the Grizzly – this is what we mainly talk about on Natural Flex. Natural bodybuilding doesn’t usually involve too many Zercher shrugs, but why not? They work, and they add a serious core challenge to the exercise, which is always good!
Kyriakos Grizzly and cardio training
A lot of his cardio will come from his strongman training methods – these are very taxing and involve loads of cardiovascular work. We don’t usually call this cardio, but conditioning. That’s because it tiptoes the line between strength and endurance.
You will sometimes also see him doing power punches and boxing sessions which are his main cardio practices.
Just like other types of exercise, it seems like Kyriakos Grizzly just does it because he likes it. I respect that: we can get caught up in the processes of strength and size and training but, ultimately, there’s so much to love about it. Why do you need to box yourself in and say you’re a powerlifter, a bodybuilder, a boxer?
Go and do things you enjoy and your body will improve. You’re not going to lose all your gains if you do a little bit of sport alongside training.
Clearly, Grizzly isn’t cutting and he’s getting his cardio in. When you weigh closer to 200kg, you should probably take care of your heart. Cardio isn’t necessary for weight-loss, but it does keep you fit and healthy and it’s a great idea if you find joy in it.
What can we take from Kyriakos Grizzly’s versatile way of training?
Why should you care what some esoteric, eccentric Greek giant lifter is doing? What does it matter to you?
Well, if you pay attention, we like to learn lessons from everyone here at Natural Flex. Natural bodybuilding can stand to learn a lot from all kinds of athletes!
The first thing I will say is that it reinforces what we’ve always said: get strong and build a foundation and then you can specialise in anything. Strong people can get better at just about everything, without worrying about their joints exploding.
Grizzly’s lifting now is based on experience and years of strength training. He trains the fundamentals, the big compound lifts, and other key exercises like the good morning. He’s a big, strong man and that lets him do whatever he wants in the gym!
While I will often encourage you to specialise in something specific, it doesn’t mean you can’t mix different styles of training which are very similar with common intentions.
Obviously, you should also be splitting your workouts into lower-rep strength and higher-rep accessory exercise. Build strength and mass, but make sure that you’re giving them both some dedicated time in your training sessions. Don’t be big and weak.
So, mixing bodybuilding and powerlifting is totally normal. That’s pretty much what the Grizzly does when practicing powerlifting, strongman and bodybuilding together, that’s powerbuilding, as explained in many articles.
Though I’m not sure it counts as bodybuilding if he never plans to cut down – but that would be a cool sight! I’m sure there’s an enormous V-taper hidden under that bloat.
The Grizzly’s always seeking progress, this should be the number one vision for every lifter – improving in what they do. The Grizzly gets strong with powerlifting and strongman training and gets bigger with bodybuilding training while keeping his heart in check with cardio he enjoys.
Kyriakos Grizzly, the king of unconventional lifts
What are so-called unconventional lifts?
An unconventional lift can also simply be a variation of a conventional and popular lift, such as the Zercher squat.
Grizzly uses Zerchers frequently: lifts become unconventional by changing the bar position of conventional exercises or by heavily cheating on the movements like with standing curls. We change the point and the loading challenge.
The Zercher squat, one of Kyriakos Grizzly’s favourite
What is the Zercher squat and what are Zercher variations?
The Zercher name comes from the strongman Ed Zercher. History tells us that Zercher, a strongman, did not have any squat racks in his gym and needed to be inventive in the way he would train his lower body.
The Zercher variations involve a different grip technique for all Olympic bar movements. : you place the barbell in the crooks of your elbows. Thus, any variations called Zercher will involve holding up the bar in the crooks of the elbow.
The Zercher squats just like squats will highly help you grow your legs, especially your quads like with front squats, since the bar is placed in front of the body.
Zercher squats are definitely an interesting way to involve the stabilising muscles, reinforce your back, improve your squats mechanics, and of course, a great leg builder. As a staple for strongmen, they really do fulfil the “awkward and heavy” aspect of strongman training!
Advantages of the Zercher squat variation:
Good involvement of postural muscles: back, core, shoulders
The adjusted bar position also places more demand on the upper back and core, since you’re constantly fighting the forward-pull of the bar. It’s also similar in some ways to the difference balance seen in a front squat or safety bar squat.
You will for example involve your (upper) back and biceps more than in a back or front squat.
The Zercher squat is great to reinforce your postural integrity.
Good strength builder
In addition to being great for your postural integrity, the Zercher squat is a good strength builder: we could see it as a mix of a deadlift and front squat. Managing such loads which highly involve your postural muscles and highly work on your quads will definitely have a great impact on your overall strength – if you manage to improve on this exercise overtime.
The Zercher squats are a good compound movement. You’ll notice great results on your quadriceps, upper back; glutes, erectors, core area.
Improved Squat Mechanics
As mentioned, the Zercher squat simply is a variation of the conventional squat exercise. This variation places huge demands on your stabilizing muscles and forces you to keep upright posture with proper hip and knee action. This can help improve your squat mechanics.
Zercher squats reinforce a hip dominant action, forces an athlete to maintain an upright posture throughout the movement – and allows for a deeper squat than the majority of people can achieve in the more traditional squats.
The overall strength and postural strength you acquire with this exercise can transfer well to most of your leg variations and mainly conventional squats.
Technically easier to learn than the front squat
The Zercher squat seems technically easier to learn than the front squat while still offering you to build great legs and especially quads. The reason being for that is that it doesn’t demand as much flexibility as the front squat does for the front rack position.
When lacking the elbow and wrist flexibility, the front squat can take time to get comfortable with. The Zercher Squat is basically a front squat with an easier way of practicing/holding the bar.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the Zercher squat is comfortable…
Inconvenients of the Zercher squat:
Discomfort for your biceps
The Zercher squat can be painful for your biceps. Maintaining heavy loads at the crooks of your elbows will highly involve your shoulders and biceps and – if they’re weak – you’re going to get some pressure in the tendons if you place the bar incorrectly.
And I personally don’t consider it to be a good biceps builder.
While I can see many websites saying the Zercher Squat is a good biceps builder, I don’t believe it. It’s not a stretching movement for your biceps, rather a static position helping you to stabilise the movement, which can be helpful for strength but not size.
This static position will just mainly fatigue your biceps which means potentially ruin the efficiency of your actual biceps sessions if you don’t schedule them properly (enough recovery in between the two). While I find Zercher squats interesting for the back and core, I think the exercise can interfere with bicep recovery.
You have to try to involve your biceps as little as possible and instead try to use your back, legs, core and more appropriate stabilizers as much as possible
Painful for your shoulders if not executed properly
In a Zercher squat, for example, your goal remains legs, core, and hips.
Your shoulders and biceps are mainly involved here because of the Zercher position at the crooks of your elbows. And because the load is pulling your body/shoulders forward, this can be painful if you overcompensate with the shoulders.
This is actually perfect for the shrug, like Grizzly performs them, but less so for squatting.
You have to try to keep your shoulders as backward as possible while retracting your scapula and not bend the shoulders over too significantly – you don’t want to add this additional pain and pressure on your shoulders while executing the exercise.
Just like when deadlifting, you are trying to be as upright as possible and keep your shoulders straight or slightly backwards with a retracted scapula. That way, your shoulders in their static position will help you maintain this position more efficiently – like your torso is one solid, unmoving chunk of stone.
Uncomfortable position (making it in my opinion a better exercise for lower reps)
The uncomfortable position of the Zercher squat makes it a better exercise for lower rep ranges for most people. It can of course be used for longer reps, but it can get painful for/in all the factors mentioned above if holding the position for too long.
You will then focus more on the pain (not in a good way) happening, than working on your muscles. Some athletes practicing the Zercher squat call it a torture using this exercise for high reps (15-20)!
The Zercher squat is a good lower body exercise and also a very beneficial exercise to strengthen back strength and postural awareness and a more upright torso.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t use it. But be careful in how you perform it and take the time to get into the best possible position to prevent discomfort in the biceps and elbows.
It’s a good way to open up your hips and improve your core/upper back strength, but it’s not going to be comfortable for extra-heavy, high-rep work. Find balance and make sure you know what you’re working for.
Be sure to have a smart program which allows recovery for them if you’re going to implement an exercise like Zercher squats.
Other unconventional and cheated variations used by the Grizzly
Here are a few other unconventional lifts the Grizzly enjoys doing:
Cheat curls are often used in gyms but in my opinion, the overly cheating movement the Grizzly uses when curling puts it in an unconventional category. It’s not your average “bro” cheat-curl, but more like the hip action you’d see in a weightlifter’s trap exercise (like the famous Klokov ‘Trapi’).
They involve huge momentum and look more like a will to move from A to B rather than an interesting biceps contraction.
Cheat curls are interesting because you’re overloading the biceps and they can get you stronger, but experienced lifters only should use them when they have a good understanding on how to “cheat properly”.
Obviously, this shouldn’t be the only way you do curls. If you only do dynamic curls you’re going to miss out on the slow, controlled development your muscles and joints need. As before, build a foundation and then experiment with these more-dynamic movements.
While I am not against intelligent cheating, I wouldn’t recommend cheating the way the Grizzly does (for most people, for most purposes). This man has a lot of experience behind him and a build that is more likely to handle this type of practices better – sheer mass and a high percentage of body fat.
Cheated High pulls
High pulls are a famous exercise for traps.
The Grizzly will often use this movement in a cheated way, to again, overload his traps with big weights.
I would again not particularly recommend cheating as much as the Grizzly does, unless you’re experienced, know what you’re doing, and find it beneficial – for overloading purposes.
The high pull is a good way of combining the hip extension and upper back movements you’d use for throwing, for example. It represents some of the same power benefits of weightlifting movements and other full-body extension, without the technical difficulty.
It’s a good exercise if you’re looking to build more dynamic work into your training, but as a dynamic exercise it’s not a key muscle-builder. It’s more sport-oriented than natural bodybuilding!
Sled Drag or Pull
A proper strongman move – pulling heavy weights with the rope.
The Grizzly will often pull or push a heavy stack of weights (up to half a ton) in his gym. This exercise is very popular amongst strongmen. It’s often that you will see this exercise in strongman competitions, such as pulling trucks; planes, and other very heavy objects.
It can definitely be interesting to get stronger – as long as, like in all movements, you try to improve and overload overtime. This type of exercise also is a good crossover for conditioning purposes and a great way to turn your pulling exercises into real-world functional strength.
Heavy lateral raises
The Grizzly will often practice heavy lateral raises – a high-risk, high-reward exercise!
I have been practicing heavy cheated lateral raises for a while, and if used well, they can have their benefits – like getting stronger on lateral raises quicker so you can really take advantage of them when this strength transfers to your hypertrophy workouts.
Looking back at it, I am not sure it is worth it going very heavy on lateral raises. Are the benefits worth the risk? Maybe – but I’m not convinced.
You can probably still improve by not going as heavy and using high reps with longer ranges. The Grizzly, again, also has the frame and sheer mass helping him do this kind of cheating – his enormous back can stabilise his shoulders and keep them safe.
You can try heavy lateral raises to experiment how it feels and make your own judgment. Be careful with them and don’t rush yourself to max weight as soon as possible.
What’s sure is that there is a method to cheating well if you’re going to try. You want to use momentum from the ground to your upper body to raise your arms up (keeping them at 160 degree angle).
What you don’t want to do is use a bad variation of lateral raises like half extended arms (90 degree angle) to be able to do the movement with heavier load. That’s too much, and you miss out on the combined delt and trap gains of a longer, cheating range.
The goal of Zercher shrugs is to shrug the shoulders up which will work the traps. This has a specific application for combining the postural benefits of a Zercher position with a full-range shrug.
The Zercher position allows you to hold a significant amount of weight. It also forces you to stabilise your scapula region in a way that a standard shrug simply doesn’t – especially in the bottom position where you can get a lot of length without losing posture.
This makes them a great alternative that more people should be doing. However, don’t do them like Kyriakos – move slowly with intent and focus on the stretch and squeeze!
Zercher front raises
The goal of Zercher front raises is to move the bar upside to the front of the head and back to the chest area – that mainly involves your front delts but also your traps, since it is very similar to the Zercher shrugs.
I don’t specifically recommend this movement.
I am not a fan of the casual front raises and even less of the Zercher front raises, they involve a short lever with an unusual shoulder position. It’s a rapid route to shoulder damage if you’re not careful and it doesn’t offer benefits above and beyond a normal raise.
Simply put, your shoulders aren’t really evolved to do this.
Unconventional forearms exercises
After some research, I haven’t found a name for this variation since the Grizzly didn’t give any name for this exercise in his videos. I’m going to be honest I’d prefer to stick to the good old wrist curl variations.
This looks like a tough exercise and a hard starting position to be in, involving way too many other muscle parts than just the forearms, which you want them to be the main responder.
You’ll also see him performing deadlift walks with a regular bar to develop grip strength. This is another wild, wacky move that (I’m guessing) he just enjoys using. It’s pretty direct on the wrists, core, glutes and back. Not great, not terrible, probably a lot of fun!
He enjoys his type of training, that’s his specialisation and that’s what matters
We all lift for a reason, some like to just focus on bodybuilding, others on powerlifting – the Grizzly likes to vary between powerlifting, strongman and bodybuilding training. What he particularly seems to enjoy is to always lift heavy.
Specialising in what you want is the most important thing at the end of the day – you get better at the things you put effort into. The Grizzly is doing things almost no one is doing, and I’m sure will convert quite some people to want to do the same.
While he switches between all these categories, he doesn’t vary too much the exercises he practices in each category and likes to stick to the same movements regularly, which is what is often advised in this website if you want to improve.
Grizzly isn’t doing CrossFit – it’s not a different thing all the time. He’s using classic strength training principles for weird exercises.
What we can take from that is that you should also lift because you enjoy it! The lifting world is a big place with a lot of different categories, you have plenty of choices to find something fulfilling you.
It could be bodybuilding, powerlifting, weightlifting, strongman training, CrossFit, or dozens of others. You can tell the Grizzly has fun in his videos, by the way he passionately shares his content. What makes you feel that way?
This passion he shares is an important feature/value of his channel.
For me, that’s natural bodybuilding!
How strong is Kyriakos Grizzly?
With all the unconventional lifts he does, it’s hard to tell how strong Kyriakos Grizzly really is, but this is what a lot of people want to know!
Because those unconventional lifts don’t offer people landmarks that they’re used to using to measure and compare his strength, it’s hard to tell. It reminds you that you only know how strong someone is when you have something to compare their lifts to!
Now, he doesn’t take a genius to realise that unconventional lifts or not, the Grizzly is moving tremendous amount of weights in his videos, such as the Zercher shrugs where he holds up to 500kg.
We will sometimes see him do conventional lifts, and this gives us a good idea of how strong he is. When you can bench press 200kg for more than 10 reps and squat at 300kg for reps (admittedly not nearly to depth), it’s easy to tell that the Grizzly is very strong.
Not only is he strong, he can also do many pull ups despite his very heavy weight (over 200kg, sometimes). Now if you’d ask him to cut down his body fat to 12%, it’d be easier to really know how strong the Grizzly is and spot whether or not he is drug-free.
After 30 years of experience, we can say that the Grizzly is a very strong man in some very weird ways.
Using the belly as support to lift more weight and being a heavy man
These are the two factors which might make him stronger than he actually is:
- Being very heavy at a high body-fat percentage, and
- having a big belly.
I know it’s hard to believe but his belly tremendously helps him in his lifts as support – at least in Zerchers and Bench!
It’s not the first time I see guys with a good belly, showing lifts online which look much easier than they are because the belly helps as a support.
Just like when practicing Zercher squats, the bar in the crooks of the elbows and the elbows resting on the belly helps him carry the weight. With Zercher shrugs, the weight bounces off the belly back and forth. While I think it’s funny and an interesting way of training, I wouldn’t recommend my readers to build themselves a belly to lift more weights!
Leave it to the Bloatlord!
Kyriakos Grizzly a natural athlete?
First of all, Kyriakos isn’t an athlete. He has no sport, he just likes lifting heavy.
That means that it’s not quite the same as a competitive athlete and – whether or not he is using PEDs – that’s not as much of a problem. There are no rules to break and he’s not made a clear statement either way – of using or denying use.
It’s hard to tell whether Kyriakos Grizzly is using some type of performance-enhancing drugs to carry the weights like he does. This website is a natural bodybuilding place, and I would like to associate the Grizzly as a natural athlete – until we have more info.
His high percentage body fat makes it very hard to spot traits which could tell us whether or not he is using something. He’s an immensely strong guy but at over 200kg of bodyweight, his lifts could just be the result of immense feeding and years of lifting.
200kg benching is a huge amount but it’s also just bodyweight for sets of 10, with a bounce, and a short ROM. We’ve seen guys in drug-free powerlifting doing this kind of thing and they’re supposed to be natural!
Truth is, most of these guys are using something when competing at a professional level.
I would like to give the benefit of the doubt for the Grizzly.
While the character is very strong, he does also weigh 200kg – which as mentioned above, makes sense that he’ll be strong, also if he has been training for more than 30 years.
I would expect this type of strength after training for so long and at this bodyweight. He also seems to have good proportions for strength movements, so I wouldn’t call his strength and mass unnatural just because of the numbers.
A heavy man with the right morphology and experience
It’s hard to tell exactly what the Grizzly’s morphology is. He looks to have a “stocky” figure, which helps at being strong in most compound movements with short legs and short/medium arm length and a big thoracic cage.
His high body fat percentage makes it hard to figure out – everyone looks stocky at 200kg bodyweight. The sheer mass he holds definitely makes it easier for him to play with those weights. A body with more mass is less fragile and eating so much helps recover.
When I am bulking I somehow feel I have more room for mistakes and heavy lifts than when I’m lean with poor energy and barely any body fat to support me. Your body’s tolerance for error goes up when you’re giving it tons of energy and protein.
When you’re eating and lifting like Kyriakos, maybe these are normal, natural lifts!
The bloatlord philosophy, are bloating/heavy bulking good things?
My opinion on bloating and heavy bulking is simple: I am not against heavy bulking, but I am not for bloating for its own sake. Here are my own definitions of these two terms.
Bloating refers to being at an extreme calorie surplus where you will add significant fat to your body. It can be useful in competitions where weights aren’t a ranking factor, like for a superheavyweight (109kg+) weightlifter and the goal is to just lift the very most. Adding additional calories helps you build more muscle and recover more effectively, but it does also come with more fat-gain. This is a bodybuilding site and we want to minimise how drastic our cuts are, and stay relatively aesthetic as much as possible!
Heavy bulking is in my opinion not a bad thing for those who don’t mind looking a bit bulky. While most bodybuilding enthusiasts will like a small to moderate bulk where they stay relatively lean, strength enthusiasts will usually bulk with more calories than usual (heavy bulk).
By heavy bulk I don’t mean dirty bulk either. You’re heavy bulking by staying at something like a 500-800 calorie surplus and with reasonably healthy food, rather than just eating 2000 calories of ice cream a day. It might have worked for Rich Piana but he wasn’t a natural bodybuilder, and that lifestyle is dangerous to your health.
Heavy bulking is interesting in terms of the momentum and motivation it gives you, which could actually drive some more results than those who lean bulk. More motivation, more training, more energy, more gains, more strength, more gains, more motivation – a vicious, effective cycle.
However, you’ll not look your best most of the time and you’re going to have more to cut when the time comes. It’s a long-term sacrifice because you’re kicking the can down the road and maybe you’ll just keep bulking like Kyriakos.
If you want to stay lean and look better through your bulk, stay gentle with your calories. If you want to eat everything and lift everything and get “soft”, go heavy. Just be sensible, even if you’re going to try and lift big weights.
Kyriakos Grizzly’s flexibility!
You’d think the Grizzly isn’t a flexible man because he is really heavy and carries great muscle mass with a high body fat percentage?
Don’t judge a book by its cover!
Flexibility and size aren’t really at odds with each other most of the time. Kyriakos Grizzly is very flexible. To most people who don’t think they can get flexible because of too much mass – they’re wrong.
Of course, this must demand a lot of practice, and the Grizzly might have been very regular with stretching and “progressive overloading” his flexibility, and this from a young age.
You also see this in athletes in strength sports where they’re massive and very strong. However, they move through full ranges of motion and practice mobility regularly, so they’re able to get into crazy split positions, for example.
The Grizzly also surprises people by being able to do many pull ups. Big guys can do pull-ups, too, they just have that great lat and bicep strength!
Why is Kyriakos Grizzly so popular?
Unconventional training that gets clicks
I don’t think Kyriakos Grizzly does it for the clicks – he was clearly living it before any of us paid attention. He’s just doing his thing and it’s that mentality that has drawn so many people to him.
He’s probably always trained that way and people just love it!
It doesn’t hurt that he’s an enormous dude and he screams all the time. Those tend to capture people’s attention.
It’s just that the unusual, unconventional side of his training is picking interest out of the Youtube Fitness Community. The Grizzly have had this channel for 10 years now and to be honest, we could have expected more people to follow him thanks to this unique content.
It’s also cool to see a different type of lifting and physique, after a decade of the Zyzz-wannabes. We all love an aesthetic physique but fitness culture has all shapes and sizes – from the sheer brick-built Konstantin Konstantinovs (R.I.P.) to Kyriakos Grizzly to fitness models.
What’s really cool is that Kyriakos doesn’t care about the fitness world. He’s withdrawn, humble, and does his own thing. He’s passionate and he does whatever he wants – what’s not to like?
It’s a completely different direction to so much of the fitness industry right now and we’re all refreshed by it. His followers love to caricature Kyriakos and I can’t deny that the meme culture around Kyriakos Grizzly is absolutely brilliant – both on Instagram and YouTube.
It comes from real passion and it’s good his channel gets clicks today – the Grizzly deserves his following, and we want more of his content!
What can we take from the Grizzly
There are many things we can take from the Grizzly.
I wouldn’t recommend training like he does – at least not as a younger, less experienced trainee. Kyriakos Grizzly can do all kinds of stuff because he’s already strong. Get strong and then you can start experimenting.
Start playing with unconventional lifts like the Zercher shrug and the high pull, but take it slow. Work out why they’re useful and feel the different demands. Try some of the things Kyriakos Grizzly does without cheating, without overloading yourself, and with an idea of why you’re doing it!
He seems to have trained for more than 30 years regularly, with an on-going passion. That is something we should all apply in our journey! Specialising and doing what makes us happy and stronger!
What do you want to be good at? What do you want to specialise in?