I’m a Ukrainian World’s Strongest Man competitor – this is how I train in a deadly war zone while Russian missiles are aimed at us

Ukrainian strongman Pavlo Kordiyaka is on a “mission” to represent his country.

Kordiyaka, a proud Ukrainian, had a breakthrough in 2022, reaching the World’s Strongest Man, Europe’s Strongest Man and Giants Live Tour for the first time.

Kordiyaka (R) finished third in his qualifying group at the 2022 World's Strongest Man competition


Kordiyaka (R) finished third in his qualifying group at the 2022 World’s Strongest Man competitionCredit: Joe Martinez/World’s Strongest Man
He is very active on social media


He is very active on social mediaCredit: Instagram/pavlo_kordiyaka

To surpass those achievements a year later, Kordiyaka must now prepare in an ongoing war zone.


The 27-year-old, who lives in Lviv, a city near Ukraine’s border with Poland to the west, told The US Sun how life has been impacted on a day-to-day basis by what Russia calls its “special military” operations.”

Kordiyaka explained that residents have planned their power supplies as Russian forces are targeting their power plants.

He said: “We have four hours when it’s on, then four hours when it’s off. And four hours off.

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“And the gym where I work out, I have [a] Generator too, but also for lighting, so heating off, shower is cold water – lighting only.

“So just grab some warm clothes and let’s go.”

Despite these challenges, Kordiyaka explained that it is far worse for many, saying: “It’s not a big problem here in Lviv because the guys have worse situations on the battlefield and we have to support them.

“Here in Lviv we don’t have artillery bombing, we don’t have Russian soldiers here, they’re just trying to bombard us with rockets, with rockets.

“We had three or four air sirens most of the time. The last was maybe two days ago.

“They try to hit our power plants, our critical infrastructure buildings, and sometimes they just hit residential areas.”

While also brushing aside the difficulties he faces in his training regimen due to their electrical limitations, he explained that “if you have a goal, if you have ambition and motivation, it’s not that hard to train without electricity , it is no problem .


Amid the turmoil, citizens of Ukraine continue to suffer unimaginable losses.

As the BBC reported in November, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, estimated that around 100,000 people from the war-torn country were either injured or lost their lives.

While as of Jan. 30, 7,110 civilians had lost their lives since Russia’s Jan. 29 invasion, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Kordiyaka, too, has loved ones fighting for her country, stating, “My wife’s brother is now in the military, my father is also in the military, a lot of my friends, my best friends, are now in the military [and] At [the] battlefield and get hurt now.

“Last week a guy died, he was killed by Russians.”


And with citizens across the country trying to do their part during this conflict, Kordiyaka takes on the task of representing his nation around the world and making sure no one forgets the atrocities.

He said friends of his who are now on the battlefield told him that his “mission, my job now is to represent my country and Ukraine in the world and to speak to the whole world [about] What happened.

“Because a lot of people may have forgotten what happened. And we need support, we need to talk about it, maybe some people [are] tired [of hearing] about the situation, about the war, but it’s our reality. We live in war all day.”

In order to continue representing his country on a global scale, Kordiyaka keeps training despite the limitations and pushes himself to reach the next level as a strongman.

WAR takes its toll

But of course, living in a war zone has taken its toll on his mental health.

He admitted to suffering from trouble sleeping, anxiety and recent panic attacks.

However, training provides an outlet, a brief respite from the daily fear of what might be to come.

Kordiyaka explained, “My training helps me stay focused and change my mind. It’s two or three hours that I don’t think about war.”

He later said that he believes everyone has “their own battlefield.”

“For me it’s my training, my gym, my competition and I try to do my best all the time. This thing also drives me.”


But it’s not just Kordiyaka’s workouts that keep him happy, it’s also the love and support he receives from fans around the world.

He’s very active on social media, and often receives comments on his Instagram stories and posts, as well as direct messages with “words of support” — for which he’s clearly been grateful.

He said: “It’s very helpful and I can say his motivation for me because these guys are texting and spending money [their] Time to write with me, see my competition, support me, they comment, on my pages and Giants Live, World’s Strongest Man, they watch, they buy pay-per-view, it helps too.

“It’s important to me. I appreciate it.”

And his appreciation for the whole world didn’t stop there, stressing the importance of the West’s military support and saying that their armed forces are the only reason Ukraine continues to exist.

He said, “You know [the] Russian Army is the second [largest] army of the world.

“You know how the population of Russia and Ukraine is, and the difference in size between our countries is a huge difference.

“And the reason we are still talking and the reason I can represent Ukraine is just our armed forces and the support from the UK, US and Europe.”

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Kordiyaka underscored the gratitude of the Ukrainian people for this support, noting, “We cannot fight without weapons.”

But for the man himself, the focus remains on fighting his battle and doing whatever it takes to use his battlefield to spread their message and support his nation.

Kordiyaka finished fourth in his first Europe's Strongest Man in 2022


Kordiyaka finished fourth in his first Europe’s Strongest Man in 2022Credit: Instagram/pavlo_kordiyaka
He and Oleksii Novikov represented Ukraine at WSM 2022


He and Oleksii Novikov represented Ukraine at WSM 2022Credit: Joe Martinez/World’s Strongest Man
Kordiyaka also finished fourth at the 2022 World Strongman Championships


Kordiyaka also finished fourth at the 2022 World Strongman ChampionshipsCredit: Instagram/pavlo_kordiyaka

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/7305260/ukrainian-wsm-competitor-pavlo-kordiyaka-training-war-zone/ I’m a Ukrainian World’s Strongest Man competitor – this is how I train in a deadly war zone while Russian missiles are aimed at us


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