Arm Wrestling is a true power sport and full of absolute physical beasts but there is one arm wrestler who is in a completely different league when it comes to physicality, that man being Denis Cyplenkov.
Denis Cyplenkov’s Early Years
Denis Cyplenkov was born on March 10th, 1982 in Krivoy Rog, Ukraine. Cyplenkov did not come from an athletic family nor had any pro athletes in the family but he had the right genetic gifts to excel in strength sports.
It was in high school that Denis really started to take strength sports seriously. In 1993, Denis was in his mid teens when he started training with Kettlebells and increasing his overall strength in a very effective manner.
This would lead Cyplenkov into the sport of strongman and he found a lot of success in the early days of strongman when the sport came to Russia, having even been a member of the Russian National team. He attested this to the fact he used to train a lot with Kettlebells and had a great upper body strength level having trained with the famous kettlebell coach named Coach Yakimanko.
As Strongman became more and more popular in Russia, a lot of power lifters started competing in strongman and they brought with them very strong lower body muscle development. Denis quickly noticed that he was doing very well in upper body strength events but lacked the level of lower body strength that the powerlifters brought to the table, thus not excelling at lower body events.
Cyplenkov also competed in powerlifting as well, his personal records being 340kg (750lbs) in Deadlift with straps, 320kg (705 lbs) squat and 270kg (595 lbs) Bench press with Pause in competition and 290kg (640 lbs) Bench in the gym. So it is easy to say that he really had the foundation for any type of power and strength sport.
Denis Cyplenkov’s Arm Wrestling Career
Denis had his first real taste of Arm Wrestling in 1996 at age 14. He had a true talent for the sport as he had absolutely massive hands, very thick, strong and long, perfect for the sport of arm wrestling. Add on top of this, his strength level and he was destined to have a future in the sport. Denis Cyplenkov’s hands are considered to be the biggest in the world if not in the top sized hands in the world, his palm width is twice the radius of a normal hand, his fingers are each the thickness of 2 fingers from a normal human being and his wrist is an astonishing 24cm circumference.
Denis would compete in Arm Wrestling in the years to come but it was in 2008 where his destiny took a turn as this would be when Cyplenkov started to train with world class arm wrestling coach Kote Razmadze who was the coach of Alex Voyevoda. It was with Kote Razmadze where Denis honed his arm wrestling skill and training regime thus helping him crush future opponents in arm wrestling competition. This decision to train with Razmadze was the catalyst that produced the Cyplenkov the Arm Wrestling world would come to know.
Prior to training with Kote Razmadze, Denis often used brute strength and a type of tricep focused chopping motion to beat opponents After training with Razmadze, Cyplenkov was a much more technically sound arm wrestler and thus had both top level power and technique at his disposal from then on. Add on top the fact Cyplenkov can pull with both his right and left arm at the highest levels of the sport and it is easy to see why he achieved the level of success he did.
Cyplenkov Starts Beating Everyone
2008 was the year when the entire Arm Wrestling world started saying the name Denis Cyplenkov as Denis came onto the scene like a ferocious testosterone filled bear, devouring everything in his way.
His first real test was in 2008 in the PAL against Ukrainian arm wrestling legend Andrey Pushkar. Cyplenkov would defeat Pushkar 6-0 in left hand competition, it would be the first tier one victory of many to come and start his left hand undefeated streak for the rest of the decade.
Unlike many North American arm wrestlers who competed often, Cyplenkov did not compete often but chose to compete at the world’s best shows such as the Nemiroff World Cup which is also known as the Zloty Tur and considered by many as the world’s best arm wrestling competition. 2008 and 2009 would see Denis win the left handed tournament while during the same years, the only match he lost was in the right handed division against the arm wrestling G.O.A.T. John Brzenk.
Denis admits that a big factor in his 2 defeats to John was his lack of arm wrestling experience. He also admits that between the first and second match, that he did not have a huge desire to improve his arm wrestling skills and this led to his 2nd loss to Brzenk.
It was ultimately the 2nd loss to John Brzenk that was the catalyst to Denis rethinking his training methodologies as well as address his weaknesses. In doing so, Denis became a better arm wrestler and started tearing the competition apart.
Denis Cyplenkov vs Devon Larratt
One of the most talked about matches of the past was the famous match between Denis Cyplenkov and at the Vendetta All Stars Arm Wrestling event. There was a huge buildup towards this match as it was a type of East vs West arm wrestling showdown.
Devon Larratt came in his best form possible but was no match for Cyplenkov. Denis would manhandle Larratt and win 6:0 against the Canadian. To this day, Devon always says that in arm wrestling you have everyone else and then you have Denis.
There had been talks about doing a 2nd match between Devon Larratt and Denis Cyplenkov with much speculation to why the match never occurred. Cyplenkov says that the match could never have happened as after their previous match, Denis was resting and coming out of surgery and needed proper athletic recovery. Denis has also stated that if a match was to take place at the time, it definitely would not be under WAL rules but through a rule set of a global federation that Cyplenkov was used to.
Where Does Denis Cyplenkov Go Mentally When he Has a Super Match?
It is no surprise that Denis, like many Ukrainians and Russians, likes to be cool and calm prior to the match, releasing the beast during the match itself.
Who Does Denis Cyplenkov Consider as His Toughest Opponents?
Having competed against the best of the best, an often asked question is who does Cyplenkiv consider his toughest opponent?
When asked about who was the best opponent he ever competed against, Cyplenkov says it was Andrey Pushkar who not only was his hardest opponent to pull against but also a good friend.
Another opponent who Cyplenkov rates as one of his most difficult opponents was Richard Lupkes. Cyplenkov really respects Lupkes for the fact that when they were pulling each other and in even arm wrestling positions, Lupkes was truly a challenge for Cyplenkov.
Cyplenkov has also mentioned that Dave Chaffee was also a great opponent for him and has respect for Chaffee.
Denis feels the GOAT of arm wrestling is John Brzenk due to what he has done in the sport and for the sport of arm wrestling.
It must be taken into consideration that Cyplenkov is a true student of Arm Wrestling and that said, Cyplenkov believes the highest form of arm wrestling is where the opponents simply try to get each other to touch the pad at the side of the table.
When asked about his opinion of the best rules possible for Arm Wrestling, he would prefer to start the wrists in a hook position so that everyone starts on an even position. He believes this would be a truly fair start and not lead to any discussion about an unfair hand position in the start of the match.
Denis considers the highlight of his career being when he beat John Brzenk as well as taking four 1st place finishes in the Golden tour, 2 left hand, 2 right hand in the open category.
How Does Denis Cyplenkov Train?
Cyplenkov usually prefers a 3 month training period to prepare for an arm wrestling match and to work off a proper calendar where he can truly prepare for a match.
Denis is not a fan of doing many different types of specialized arm wrestling exercises but to stay at the bread and butter basics and build from there. Denis is a huge proponent of developing a heavy bicep curl. Cyplenkov says the best accessory exercises for arm wrestling are to work cables with specialized handles for arm wrestling.
Where Does Denis Cyplekov Train?
Denis has his own personal gym he built for himself, it is a huge facility where he also has his office. He has various bodybuilding equipment, arm wrestling training equipment, a boxing ring, grappling mats, weights, ping pong and a caged area. The gym also has a lounge upstairs.
Denis Cyplenkov on Fedor Emelienko Competing in Arm Wrestling
Denis has trained with many Russian athletes from other disciplines. One of the most famous Russian athletes of all time, an MMA and Sambo fighter, Fedor Emelienko trained with Cyplenkov. Denis mentioned that Fedor was a very fast learner as well as showed a lot of talent for the sport of arm wrestling and could be a good amateur arm wrestler should he ever decide to take up the sport.
Denis Cyplenkov’s Health Issues
Cyplenkov unfortunately suffered from some severe health issues later in his career that forced him to exit from competitive arm wrestling.
Denis’s health problem was that due to his extreme methodology of high intensity training he had some internal bleeding that needed a coronagraphy done.
The coronagraphy showed that he ruptured blood vessels that connected to his kidneys that led to hemorrhaging and needing stents placed inside. The doctors fixed the issue but it was a very serious medical issue. As for today, he has not suffered from the same medical issue. These health issues also caused him to suffer from neuritis in his face (partial paralyzation of part of his face).
Denis would go through surgery before the corona pandemic and it took him about a year for his health to start coming around. During the years of his recovery, Cyplenkov would suffer a few times from Corona as well as had to pass kidney stones a few times since the surgery.
Denis feels normal as of Spring 2022 and said during the period of recovering his health that he focused only on training for fitness, no specialized training and no heavy arm wrestling conditioning training.
Denis Cyplenkov’s body weight prior to becoming ill was 140Kg (310lbs) in which he competed while being around 130-132kg (285-290 lbs) during his off season. As of May 2022 Denis weighs between 122-125kg (268-275 lbs).
Will Denis Cyplenkov Make a Comeback to Arm Wrestling?
In regards to if Cyplenkov will make a comeback. Denis mentions that he would like to make a comeback as he is training with a lot of great arm wrestlers and his strength is on a good level, the issue he is concerned with is his health and if he will develop more health problems in the future that could impede his return to arm wrestling.
He humbly mentions that in the event he would return, he could not co straight for the best arm wrestlers in the world and would need to start off against arm wrestlers that he is evenly matched with in order to come back to competition correctly. He says that in early 2022 that he is around 50% strength and capability in comparison to where he was prior to becoming ill.
Denis Cyplenkov’s World Records
An insanely strong individual, Cyplenkov had the world record for strict curl, which was 113kg and has had since 2015. On august 28th, 2021, Cyplenkov’s record was broken by Leroy Walker, when walker performed a 114kg strict curl.
Denis has said he does not consider his record broken as the arm and wrist position for the curl was very different and he considers them to be 2 totally different types of bicep curl. Walker’s curl was close grip while Cyplenkov’s curl was a much wider grip.
Denis also holds the record for standing barbell curl which he did an astonishing 170kg.
Denis Cyplenkov’s Personal Life
Not much is known about Cyplenkov’s personal life but his hobbies are fishing and being outdoors. He is a true admirer of the great outdoors and tries to spend his free time in nature. He currently has no wife or children although he has stated that he ideally would love to have a boy and a girl.
A true master of the sport of Arm Wrestling, Denis Cyplenkov is a true champion, a humble and honest man as well as will always be remembered as the strongest Arm Wrestler in history.
He continues to contribute to the sport of arm wrestling in social media as well as helping a lot of younger arm wrestlers. Denis Cyplenkov is a true Grapplezilla.