Victor Martinez and the GI crew debate muscle implants and whether they have been used in pro bodybuilding

The Generation Iron Network production crew was in Istanbul, Turkey this past month working on a new feature film documentary. While abroad, producer and Generation Iron founder, Edwin Mejia Jr. took the opportunity to dive all-in on hair transplant surgery for his beard at the Vera Clinic. Newly transformed, this experience kick-started a conversation on the podcast – have muscle implants ever been used in pro bodybuilding? The concept of muscle implants have been seen, at the very least, on reality television. But would competitive bodybuilders actually use this to try and win shows? In the latest episode of the Generation Iron Podcast, Victor Martinez debates with the GI team about muscle implants in bodybuilding.

Surgery has been used to help change the way we look for decades now. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there has been a 29% increase in plastic surgery procedures performed on men from 2000 to 2018. With each passing year, technology becomes more advanced. The most obvious plastic surgeries are well known – breast implants, butt implants, facial reconstruction surgery. These areas are often related to fat on the body or perhaps bone structure.

But what about muscle and abs? Can muscle implants be successfully integrated into the body. Muscles, of course, are meant to be functional aspects of the body. They differ from fat stores that can be removed with liposuction or added for a “bustier look.” However, muscle implants do exist – however superficial they may be compared to actual muscle function. At its most obvious, you have likely seen it on surgery reality shows.

In regards to competitive bodybuilding, implants are rarely seen as a real option in the sport. Most common are, perhaps, breast implants for female competitors. This much is well known and openly spoken of in the industry. But can muscle implants be used in a similar way as synthol for competitors to round out some muscle?

It seems unlikely but with technology and science rapidly changing – will this be something that can play into bodybuilding competitions moving forward? Let’s jump into it.

Do pro bodybuilders use muscle implants? Have they ever?

The conversation about muscle implants starts as a curious question after Edwin explains his recent beard hair transplant surgery. With Victor Martinez’s long career in bodybuilding – has he seen or heard of athletes attempting to get muscle implants?

Victor Martinez can’t say fur certain but he also admits that there has never been a competitor he suspected of having implants. He does mention there was one low ranking pro bodybuilder that was rumored to have implants. He doesn’t mention the man’s name – mostly because he also can’t prove whether the rumors were even true.

Martinez can, however, say that he has seen people outside of competitive bodybuilding with muscle implants. He claims to have seen them in the gym occasionally – and believes that they always appear obvious. As far as Victor Martinez is aware, muscle implants are completely superficial. They don’t function the way real muscle functions – and so would only be a sculpted cover over the muscle – similar to synthol.

What do muscle implants feel like?

While no one on the GI podcast are medical professionals, they do muse about what muscle implants actually feel like in comparison to real muscle. Victor Martinez jokes that he didn’t ask to feel anyone’s muscle implants. The rest of the gang wonder if they feel obviously harder – the way many breast and butt implants feel depending on the scope and technology behind the surgery.

According to information from clinics, muscle implants are a specialized silicone gel that mimics the look and feel of natural muscles. They are used to help shape or enlarge the muscles already in that area of your body.

Synthol and other site enhancement oil (SEO) that some use to help enhance and sculpt the look of muscle. This is done by injecting an oil that hardens in and around the muscle. If overdone or done incorrectly, the hardened oil is noticeable as it doesn’t feel the same as muscle.

Therefore, muscle implants are a more effective way to creating a natural feel and look of muscle compared to the “hardness” of synthol and other SEOs. Of course, being an invasive surgery, it’s also more dangerous and also much more expensive.

Much like any type of plastic surgery – if overdone it becomes obvious as these implants do not function as actual muscle. They simply work around the muscle you currently have.

Most common muscle implants

Victor Martinez states that the most common muscle implants he has seen are:

He says that biceps and arms are rarely done – as these are very obviously fake looking due to the amount of movement in that area. Abs and chest, in comparison, stay relatively still on your body. Calves also can get away with less movement in that muscle group specifically – unless purposefully flexing the muscle or perhaps sprinting.

So… have pro bodybuilders used muscle implants in competition?

This all adds up to the big question, have bodybuilders used muscle implants to try and win a show? Due to the intense nation of poses and flexing involved with the sport, it’s very unlikely to be the case. However, for less mass monster divisions – the GI crew wonder if there are any athletes possibly utilizing implants.

The newly introduced Wellness category features a softer look compared to many other divisions in competitive bodybuilding. Due to this, the GI team debate whether or not it is realistic for a wellness competitor to use some sort of muscle implant to help get an edge on the competition.

Victor Martinez thinks that any consideration of muscle implants as a bodybuilder goes against the very nature of bodybuilding itself. He calls it, “bodybuilding mutiny.” More than a competition to be won – bodybuilding is a lifestyle. That lifestyle promotes the results of hard work first and foremost. If you can just have a surgery – what’s the point?

Wrap Up

You can watch Victor Martinez and the entire GI crew debate the topic of muscle implants in bodybuilding in the latest episode of the Generation Iron Podcast above. The team also discuss the recent announcement of the Masters Olympia roster – and make early predictions as to who will be in the top three.

Don’t forget to check back every Tuesday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Jacob Ladon
Jacob Ladon is a staff writer and former amateur bodybuilder. He has been passionate about bodybuilding since he was 15 years old and discovered the joys of training in the gym. He reports and comments on all bodybuilding related matters.