Silent Mike – Natty Or Not?

| January 19, 2019 by Truth Seeker |

SIlent Mike is a popular YouTuber in the fitness segment and a strong powerlifter who has produced many educational videos in collaboration with other legends of the online muscle game such as Omar Isuf and Allan Thrall. This classic natty or not review focuses on him.

What are Silent Mike’s stats?

In an interview, Mike states that he has the following stats:

  • Height: 5’9″/175cm
  • Weight: 225lbs/102.2kg
  • Body fat: “I’d imagine its like 18-22% but like I said no clue.” [taken from the same interview]

In a video clip, where Mike presents himself, he reveals his powerlifting achievements too:


  • Gym total: 1700lbs/ 772kg
  • Squat: 590lbs/268kg
  • Bench: 405lbs/184kg
  • Deadlift: 705lbs/320kg
  • Bodyweight: 220lbs/100kg

The lifts above reveal the following strength to bodyweight ratios:

  • SQ – 2.68 BW
  • BP – 1.84 BW
  • DL – 3.2 BW

According to strengthlevel.com, the squat and the deadlift of Mike are in the “elite” category for his weight class. The bench press is almost there too – only 4lbs/1.8kg away from 409lbs/185.9kg.

Mike’s squat is 57lbs/25.9kg deep into the elite category.

Mike’s deadlift is his best lift – 105lbs/47.72kg higher than the necessary number to be a high-end deadlifter in the 220lbs weight class.

Conclusion: Silent Mike is an elite powerlifter.

Are Those Lifts Possible Naturally?

For some they are. Bob Peoples deadlifted 725lbs/329.5kg while weighing 181lbs/82kg himself. That’s a deadlift amounting to 4 times his bodyweight – an absolutely insane number by natural and unnatural standards. The lift took place in 1949. The “history books” also say that Peoples had a 530lbs/240.9kg squat and а 300lbs/136kg bench press.

Was he natural? There’s a very high chance he was. However, he was also a man designed to deadlift. He was obsessed with the lift and had the ultimate structure for it – long arms and a spine of steel.

In addition, the deadlift is the only lift out of the big three that does not require you to be extremely muscular to move decent numbers. This is one of the primary reasons why natties love the deadlift so much.

The other two lifts of Peoples are also impressive, especially for his bodyweight, but some argue about their validity. In the book “Power to The People”, Tsatsouline states that Peoples “could barely bench press his bodyweight.” (p.38).

What’s the actual situation? I don’t know.

Bob Peoples was built to deadlift heavy weights.

Bob Peoples’ 725lbs deadlift was the record in the 180lbs class for 23 years. Vince Anello broke it in 1972 with a 730lbs/331kg deadlift.

The 70s were the Golden Era of Anabolic Diversity. This reveals how natural the powerlifters and the bodybuilders were at the time. Of course, various forms of steroids were on the market long before the 70s. You don’t go from A to Z without transitions. Yet the record of Peoples stood for many years. Why? He was gifted and dedicated.

Conclusion: If you have the right deadlift proportions and invest a large portion of your training into the deadlift, you may have a monstrous deadlift naturally.

Does this mean that Mike’s deadlift is the result of natty madness? Not really. He does not have the proportions of Peoples which is why he pulls sumo. He is certainly not the deadlift type – lanky and with long arms. If anything, he is the squat type – stocky.

This explains why Silent Mike has such a good squat (2.68BW) and bench (1.84BW). He is thick and of average height.

Can naturals match those lifts? In theory, a natural can be really good at 1 or maybe 2 lifts, but all three are rarely super strong.

Rippetoe when he was thick and lean.

Not Even Mark Rippetoe Had Those Stats Naturally

Rippetoe is a legendary man in the strength world. His best numbers are:

  • SQ: 622lbs/282.72kg (equipped)
  • BP: 396lbs/180kg
  • DL: 633lbs/287.72kg

{source}

The lifts were done in the 220lbs category. Since Rippetoe’s height is 5’9″, his build is pretty similar to Mike’s. In case you are wondering, Rippetoe was not natty.

Maybe Mike has a higher total because he has access to better programming? I don’t think so.

Rippetoe was trained by Bill Starr and had the opportunity to communicate with many strength athletes. It’s doubtful that he didn’t deadlift 700lbs due to programming issues.

Observations

Natural 590lbs squats and 405lbs benches are beyond rare. If you have those lifts and perform them in a commercial gym, people will stare at you for days. You can argue that this is the case because the lifters at those places are a “joke”, but the same numbers would be impressive even in powerlifting settings. I spent 2 years in a powerlifting gym. No natural man there was benching 400lbs at any bodyweight.

When Marty Gallagher started his Kirk Karwoski project, Captain Kirk was a 240lbs/109kg man with the following lifts:

  • SQ – 800lbs/363kg
  • BP – 400lbs/181.8kg
  • DL – 605lbs/275kg.

Gallagher states so in his interview with Rippetoe from 2012. (source) [around the 9-minute mark].

This reveals three things:

1. Rarely even the best powerlifters excel in all lifts.

2. While a 400lbs bench press was laughable during Kirk’s prime, it was still a fairly solid number during his “formative” years.

3. As a 240lbs “beginner lifter” who was about to be “upgraded” by Gallagher, Kirk had a theoretical total amounting to 1805lbs/820kg – only 100lbs more than Silent Mike.

Don’t forget that Kirk was ultra-hyped and in a higher weight class than Mike. Kirk is also 2 inches shorter and stops the meter at 5’7″/170cm. Was Kirk natural? No.

So, this thick man had a 400lbs bench press and a 605lbs deadlift at the time. Yes, people like Gallagher were laughing, but only because the expectations of Kirk were higher. Besides, let’s not forget, that Gallagher was comparing him to the best in the world.

Gallagher also states that it took Kirk 10 years to deadlift 825lbs/375kg. One of the reasons for this were his short fingers making it hard to hold the bar. Even Kirk’s mutant physique didn’t allow him to deadlift 900lbs. This reveals the importance of “structure”.

Karwoski was a muscular beast, but his short fingers were a serious disadvantage during deadlifts.

A Man Is Known By The Company He Keeps

Winners don’t hang out with losers. The president would not invite a beggar to his birthday party.

Gallagher presents the same concept in the interview. Kirk wanted to train with the big boys, but around them, he looked like a “puppy”. He wasn’t on their level yet.

Silent Mike is often seen in the company of known steroids users or heavy suspects. How does he fit there if he is not one of them? How do they benefit from him?

Regardless of who you are, there are always similarities between you and your social circle. The people around you influence you. If you are not made of the same cloth, you will be kicked out sooner or later.

I can guarantee you that the same juicers that Mike collaborates with will never accept me in their crew. I just don’t fit there.

This is why I am always suspicious of alleged naturals integrated into the social circle of juicers and shadow pinners.

What is Silent Mike’s FFMI?

At 5’9″@225lbs@25% bodyfat (let’s be generous), Silent Mike’s FFMI is slightly over 25 – the line beyond which juicing happens.

Of course, people will speculate that the FFMI calculator is not accurate unless ultra-leanness is present, but since this has not been the condition of Mike, we cannot use other data.

Mike carries 225lbs or so very well for a 5’9″ tall guy. There are many people who are significantly taller than Mike and much fatter at the same bodyweight.

https://www.thecalculator.co/health/Fat-Free-Mass-Index-(FFMI)-Calculator-794.html

The Crew Of Silent Mike Negates The Power of Roids in a Video

According to the original narrative, the only juicer in the video above is Mark Bell. The others are his natty angels.

There are two illogical notions in that clip:

1. Alan Thrall gives the Dave Tate Argument in regards to steroids.

“They are your ace card”. Hence you are supposed to inject steroids at the latest possible point to get the most benefit.

The idea is that steroids will get you only one level up. For that reason, it makes sense to deploy the needle when you are about to conquer the last objective.

While this statement may seem fairly rational to people with short attention spans, it’s actually incorrect.

PEDs are not a light that you switch on and off. It’s a gradual process. Nobody goes from TRT to Olympia level in a day. People arrive there after many years of abuse.

Steroids are actually an ace card that you keep showing and multiplying. It’s true that eventually roid users hit a wall – a point of burnout when their bodies stop responding well. However, it takes a lot of time to go there.

If you fail to go up a level, it’s not because you used steroids too early. An athlete who takes steroids to play in college may not turn pro, but why would this happen because of the steroids? What is the logic behind this idea? Exactly. There’s none.

Why would steroids stop this man from advancing? What would be the driving factors behind the failure? Why is this man inferior to someone holding his “ace card” for later? The differences between those two men could only be genetic or motivational.

If a man fails to reach a higher level, it’s because of other factors such as:

a. Genetics
b. Lost motivation
c. Financial reasons
d. Personal reasons (e.g., a career switch due to family issues…etc.)

PEDs may have side effects, but they do work. They make you stronger, faster and allow you to recover more efficiently. In other words – they improve your performance.

If a man was destined to reach the top, he will even if he uses steroids relatively early. Besides, if steroids are as detrimental as Tate thinks, a man can always go back to being natural or “somewhat natural” (TRT).

Let’s not forget that even amateur bodybuilding and powerlifting are full of roids. The powerlifting gym where I trained a long time ago was routinely organizing gym meets infiltrated by local roiders. The awards were laughable – creatine, protein powder, lifting belts…etc. Yet you couldn’t win even that naturally.

Nevertheless, I do agree that really young people should not use steroids because they lack wisdom and discipline.

2. The second problem with the video of the natty angels is that they amount roids to merely 50lbs/22.7kg on the bar. The logic is a little something like this – “If I bench 305lbs and take steroids to bench 350…what good will that do me…”

It’s not that simple. It’s actually difficult to calculate precisely how much a person gains from steroids. It depends on the drug, the dose, the duration of the intake and the willingness to gain weight.

In reality, steroids can catapult you way higher than 50lbs. Imagine that you are a skinny guy weighing 170lbs at 6’2″/188cm who decides to take steroids to become a 240lbs monster. You really think you will only add 50lbs to your bench press in the meantime?

What about the shorter men who get thick as hell? Ed Coan was 5’6″/168cm and weighed between 220lbs/100kg and 240lbs/109kg. You really think he got only 50-100lbs from the substances that made him this muscular at that height? Sure, buddy.

What about Ronnie Coleman in his prime? 300lbs of muscle. Maybe he would have been 250lbs without the drugs…

You get the point.

Why are they doing this? To diminish the power of steroids in your head. It’s not much different than the “self-made” entrepreneurs who “forget” to mention the trust funds set by their multi-millionaire fathers.

The natty angels benefit from keeping you in a delusional realm where only the mind sets the limits.

Conclusion

While Silent Mike is natural by the online standards, he has strength, stats and social enclosure suggesting that injections are a real possibility. Realistically, most naturals will never have all their lifts in the elite category for their bodyweight.

20 comments

  1. Natty lifter

    Great article Truthseeker. There is an Asian guy by the name of Ufpwrlifter on youtube who benches four plates tng and 370lbs paused at 155lbs. Can you do a nattyornot on him.

    1. Nicolas

      man truth seeker should do that, but there is no way that dude competed with power lifters he was a power lifter and that is all you need to know he is not natty but take nothing away of his feat because his p4p strength is unreal even with steroids which he is clearly not abusing

    2. Albert

      He is not natural that is 100% clear as water, there are countless steroids that promote increase strenght without the increase in muscle size and bodyweight. Plus other PED’s do similar effect.

    3. François Dion

      Apparently, he used to do powerlifting meets. I just can’t explain how a skinny AF dude with lanky arms can bench press that much at such a low bodyweight. I am going to advance something as stupid as ”perhaps tendon strength”.

  2. Joe

    I’m surprised of look at Mark bell say that, but now I figure that Most in the movie biggest strongest faster is a scam too, that dinimise the great effect of the roids

  3. keepitsimple

    rows are rows, you might do them if normal ones bored you but they are no better than any other row in strenght and muscle gains

  4. Rick

    Has anyone trained with exclusively barbell complexes or other gpp work? I’m constantly battling injuries and thought this may be a better approach. Goal was always just a better looking body. Let me know what you think! Thanks.

  5. John Southern

    Having used steroids myself, I’d say they should absolutely be an ace card you play when you can’t go any further. Too many people start without a strength base, I’d say you want to get to an advanced level first, elite if you can.

    There’s really no reason not to, considering that most serious people start training in their early-mid teens, that gives you 10 years so you wouldn’t start the juice until after 25 or so.

    I reached a 2x bench myself (250 bench @ 125lbs) in 2 years as a kid without an advanced program. Granted, it’s much harder to do as a 220lb er but probably doable in 5-10 years if that’s all you do.

    The problem with starting with steroids is that it still takes time to get strong and that’s time that your body is being exposed to progressively higher doses. Even if you start with low doses, pretty soon, you’ve nowhere to go. Remember, you still have to cycle, it’s two steps forward, one step back.

    You really backslide and lose strength when going off, PCT doesn’t work, it’s voodoo.

    Unless you’re going to go all in without breaks and that’s just stupid. I was on for a year without stopping, not a great idea and your progress stalls after 4-6 months anyway unless you keep upping the doses.

    The side effects sucked and eventually I had to quit.

    I didn’t max out my natural potential for mass and strength before starting (mostly due to being underweight), but if I had to do it over, I would have.

    It should also be noted that I never benched more than 315 for 10 reps on all that gear. My strength/weight ratio really took a shit gaining all that mass. I gained 100lbs but didn’t gain commensurate strength.

    I believe silent Mike is natty or was in the recent past.

    There are tall skinny dudes deadlifting 900lbs these days, you don’t need a lot of muscle for some of these lifts.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QExFQeWvJJ8

    405 bench is pretty high but I think a 400lb natural bench with Mike’s level of dedication is possible. Omar Isuf is benching at 365 at 185 and he ain’t juicing or he wouldn’t be stuck at 16 inch arms and a 365 bench. Silent Mike has access to some of the best coaching available and he’s bigger.

    Rippetoe is not exactly a genetic specimen. There are plenty of men who take steroids who have very unimpressive results and some that get very stellar results so it’s difficult to compare two people.

    220lbs at 15-20% bodyfat is not good body composition for an enhanced lifter, with gear, Mike should definitely do better and I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t with the level of coaching he has.

    With gear, I’d expect to see him closer to 500 on the bench. Shit, Arnold could press 500. Look at Arnold, then look at Silent Mike. lol

    1. Nicolas

      get the fuck out nor silent Mike nor Omar isuf are genetic freaks since when 315 became so easy that everybody is repping two times bodyweight natty it can’t be and both Omar and silent Mike are juicy they just keep a higher body fat and use different drugs than the regular bodybuilder you’re just being naive

    2. Nicolas

      you’re just naive lol Mike is better than Arnold? drugs will give you close to 150 or even 200 lb of gain on a lift like the bench press, silent Mike without steroids would be nothing special and Omar isuf natty would be a world of Warcraft nerd legend and that’s it

    3. Fatman

      This seems correct. Silent Mike and Omar Isuf are dedicated powerlifters who have access to great coaching. Their lifts are very good, but not good enough to suspect drug use. Same goes for their physiques. If they are using steroids, they must have started recently, or are not responding well.

      A bench press of 405 lbs. at a bodyweight of 220 lbs. is remarkable, but hardly world class. The strengthlevel.com numbers are correct when it comes to the average gym goer who trains for general strength and conditioning. Powerlifters are better at heavy singles and that chart makes no sense in the context of powerlifting.

      Using Rippetoe as an example is misleading. He was an average powerlifter with mediocre lifts, even on steroids. Some people respond well to steroids, others don’t. Arnold is a classic example of the former. I saw him in a TV interview from the 1970s, after he “retired” for the first time, and he barely looked like he lifted. A few years later he would go on to win the Olympia. Rippetoe seems to be an example of the latter.

  6. Marod

    When I see all these supposed “naturals” with such crazy elite lifts, I always ask myself – why aren’t these guys injecting some roids and becoming legends, celebrities, Guinness World Record Holders, entering Hall of Fame with thunderous applauds? Surely, if they can have 3.2BW deadlift and 2.68 squat all naturally, then with the insanely diverse array of steroids they can lift dozens of pounds more. But no, they just don’t wanna do it for some unknown reason even if their entire lives revolve around lifting as much weight as possible.

    All these supposed “naturals” have skewed the numbers to a point when a 705 deadlift almost looks mundane and yet it was a PR set by Mark Bell – a world record holding powerlifter who is juiced to his lungs and open about it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpdyfmFB7QA

    Now he has a deadlift of “just” 766 pounds. So after years of steroid abuse, training, dedicating his life to lifting, this freak can only deadlift 60 pounds more than supposedly “all-natural” Silent Mike? And do keep in mind that he is heavier than him too. I mean, come on!

    Anyway the truth is that all these guys, including Omar, are using steroids. May be not extremely high doses, but still enough to make difference. People who believe that anyone can step inside the gym and somehow magically have these numbers are just delusional. At this point someone from Omar’s crew should have failed to achieve these numbers by the virtue not having that good of a genetic base. But no! All of them somehow have elite lifts down to a T. Hell even their numbers are kinda similar. I think it could be more obvious.

    1. Fatman

      “I always ask myself – why aren’t these guys injecting some roids and becoming legends, celebrities, Guinness World Record Holders, entering Hall of Fame with thunderous applauds?”

      Because no one other than a small minority of powerlifting aficionados (plus maybe an even smaller minority of weak, steroid-obsessed perpetual whiners) actually gives a shit about powerlifting records, so there’s no point risking organ damage by injecting?

      Steroids aren’t going to turn a 600-lb. deadlift into an 800-lb. deadlift. And even an 800-lb. deadlift isn’t going to get you world records.

      Mark Bell’s deadlift is weak compared to his other lifts because of how he’s built. He can bench 600 lbs., 50% more than Silent Mike’s best lift, because his leverages for the bench press are much more favorable.

      “All of them somehow have elite lifts down to a T.”

      Most of them, including Omar, do not have “elite lifts” at all.

  7. Lloyd

    PLEASE DO RUSS SWOLE

    PLEASE

    I can’t stand the fact he is an obvious fake natty competing in a drug tested competition and getting away with it.

  8. marlon

    Dear God, some of the comments here are nauseating.

    There is no “coaching” that can get you up to 400 lb benches!
    None!
    There is no super technique.
    The 400 lb bench guys do the same exercises the 150 lb bench guys do.
    They have better drug cocktails (go to GH15’s forum if you want a breakdown of mixes that work).
    And of course, some people do have better genetics.

    Better coaching..??!! C’mon, man.
    In 1898, the world bench press record was 361 lbs. Eighteen years later (1916), it moved up by a staggering 2 lbs (363 lbs)!
    But now a 400 lb bench is natural because of “better coaching”?

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