I'm an elite powerlifter – people can't believe how strong I am from looking at me… but my skills quickly show them | The Sun
GYMGOERS often weigh up their peers while working out, passing judgment on their power and performance.
But one man is going to extreme measures on his mission to remind people not to judge a book by its cover – especially when exercising.
Elite powerlifter Vladimir Shmondenko wants to bring comedy and camaraderie into the gym with his wacky pranks.
The Ukraine-born muscleman dons hilarious disguises to blend in the background of gyms, which are carefully selected to ensure most fitness fanatics will underestimate him.
To achieve this, he typically dresses up as a cleaner or pensioner to completely convince people he isn't in tip-top shape.
But the loose-fitting overalls and outdated clothing are actually hiding Vladimir's bulging biceps and an enviable six-pack.
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He has even adopted an online pseudonym for his pranks, Anatoly Powerlifter.
The 24-year-old usually targets tough guys, who don't recognise him or his huge muscles thanks to his cunning disguises.
He then stuns them into silence by showing off his extraordinary lifting skills – while capturing their hilarious reactions on camera.
The bizarre concept made Vladimir a YouTube and TikTok star – and a millionaire.
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In one of his recent posts, Vladimir is seen donning his disguise as a cleaner while sweeping the gym floor to make his ruse more plausible.
He approaches two blokes in the gym before offering to educate them on how to perform the ultimate pull-up.
The prankster says: "Pull-ups? My name is Anatoly. I am a trainer here.
"Maybe can I show you a good technique in pull-ups for muscles?"
The bemused men agree, but appear to watch Vladimir haul himself up with little hope that he will teach them anything special.
But the powerlifter then begins expertly executing numerous pull-ups, while even finding time to clap his hands each time he lifts himself.
Numerous gymgoers can be seen turning their heads as Vladimir easily completes the challenge, before he dives straight into a set of press-ups.
The powerlifter then moves on to his next target, another burly bloke, but decides to raise the stakes.
He gingerly asks if he can clean the floor, before dropping his mop to move the ridiculously heavy weight in front of the man out of his path.
After Vladimir easily lifts it, the gym buff is left stunned as he watches the alleged amateur shift it without flinching.
The unphased jokester reassures the man: "All good brother to do a little bit and move it here."
He continues his mopping before putting the weight back, while the bloke was left gobsmacked by the supposed cleaner's strength.
When he asks Vladimir if he has trained before, the content creator then quips: "I train only with mop!"
His amusing videos have proved a hit on social media and regularly rack up millions of views.
The powerlifter's online success is even more touching after looking at his journey to the top.
Vladimir was born in complete poverty – but managed to find an escape from his bleak reality after becoming fascinated by American bodybuilders.
He then incredibly crafted his own gym out of old parts from Soviet-era tractors, wood and bricks at the age of 14.
The powerlifter relied on his family's produce from their farm to help bulk himself up, eating eggs and cottage cheese seven times a day.
After he began to see some results, Vladimir decided to film his resourceful workouts and uploaded his first-ever YouTube video in December 2015.
He then became a fitness influencer, before preferring to make content that showed the funny side of the gym.
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We previously told how bodybuilding grandma told how people underestimate her power due to her age – but she loves surprising them.
The gym-lover, who calls herself Granny Guns, believes she could give youngsters a good run for their money.
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