Zef Zakaveli is one of the most popular bodyweight masters, and over the years his online and offline presence has had a tremendous impact on the so-called “street workout” movement. What makes people so impressed by him are not only his skills but also his muscular body.
As a result many begin to wonder: can I have similar physique naturally without using anabolic steroids?
Is Zef Zakaveli natural or not? Let’s find out in a classic NattyOrNot.com fashion.
How big is Zef Zakaveli?
The official Facebook page of Zef Zakaveli says that his weight is 153 lbs or 69 kg. However, there was no information regarding his height, and I had to perform a small investigation. In the photo below you see Al Kavaldo and Zef next to each other in a park. It’s obvious that Zef is at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) shorter than Kavaldo which puts him at about 5’9″ – 5 10″. (Al Kavaldo is 5’11”)
Does Zef Zakaveli have the Photoshop look?
I went through a lot of photos and clips of Zef on the Internet and in my eyes, he does not have the true Photoshop look, especially in videos.
What stands the most in Zakaveli’s case are his arms which are extremely big. That’s due to two main factors:
– his arm tendons are very short;
The shorter the arm tendon, the longer the muscle belly. This literally means that there’s more muscle to grow. If you look at bodybuilders like Sergio Oliva, who were famous for enormous arm development, you will see that they all had full muscle bellies. The lifters with shorter muscle bellies and long tendons often have poor arm development, albeit the so-called “bicep peaks” are much more pronounced.
– most of the exercises Zakaveli does are arm/shoulder girdle dominant;
Obviously, most of the exercises done by the street workout community are upper body dominant. When you train your chest, arms, back and core at the expense of your lower body, similar abnormalities happen.
Humans have limited amount of testosterone which acts as a natural brake system, stopping muscle growth beyond a certain level. This is also the reason why you can meet naturals with big legs or upper bodies, but rarely both at the same time.
In the case of gymnasts and street workout athletes the fact that the lower body does not receive as much attention allows more mass to be accumulated in the upper body. Of course, this process is limited, but if you only focus on your upper body a small percentage of the growth originally dedicated to your legs will be shifted upwards.
Special note: The fact that the bodyweight guys usually have super thin thighs is a direct consequence of non-existent lower body training. Nonetheless, there is no need to worry. You can’t steal it all from your legs even if you wanted to. They can still grow, but somebody has to train them.
If you look at Zakaveli with clear eyes, you will see that besides his arms and chest he is not that big. Zef’s legs and calves are certainly small. He also has a pencil neck and lagging traps – something rarely seen among users of anabolic steroids.
There is nothing indicating that Zef Zakaveli is using anabolic steroids. You can certainly achieve similar physique without drugs. However, you can’t look exactly like him since different people have different muscle insertions and bone structure. You may be able to do all of his moves without having big arms, if you are someone whose body architecture forces you to use more of your torso muscles and less biceps and triceps.
That’s the way life works. We are all differently the same.