Richard Sandrak (born 15 April 1992), also known as Little Hercules, is a Ukrainian-born, American bodybuilder, martial artist and actor, known for his muscular physique at an extremely young age, and for his appearance in the documentary The World’s Strongest Boy.
Richard Sandrak was born April 15, 1992, in a small village in Ukraine, to Pavel Sandrak, a martial arts world champion, and his mother, Lena Sandrak, an aerobics competitor. In 1994, Sandrak, aged 2, moved with his family to Pennsylvania, where his parents believed he would have a better life. Sandrak began his training soon after they arrived in the states, when Sandrak was still an infant. His father, who had trained in Taekwondo, introduced him to various stretches and light weight training. The family subsequently moved to California, with the intention to break into show business. The family met trainer Frank Giardina, while touring one of Giardina’s gyms, and hired him to help gain publicity for their son
His parents started him out with light exercises and martial arts techniques which soon progressed into more intense bodybuilding training. At the age of six Sandrak was maxing out at 180 lb (82 kg) on the standard bench-press. During this early age he claimed his title as world’s strongest boy as well as his nickname “Little Hercules”. At the age of eight he was bench-pressing 210 lb (95 kg).
During his childhood, Sandrak used to work out with his father and he would do up to 600 pushups and sit-ups a day including 300 squats. Dedicating all of his time towards training, he never had time to play with friends and experience a typical childhood. Being on a strict diet enforced by his father, Sandrak was never able to eat junk food or any sweets. Sandrak recalls days when his father would eat pizza in front of him, while he was left to eat a head of lettuce. According to Giardina, Sandrak was made to repeat intense exercises as punishment if he got something wrong. Sandrak states his father never forced him into bodybuilding. “I’ve never been forced to train or do anything against my will”, he said. “My parents used to train all the time and I wanted to join in. It was mostly my choice. It’s just what I grew up doing. I was never forced. It was never an issue.