Bodybuilding Genetics

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Genes Influence Ability To Build Muscle

Who can measure his genetical potential for building muscle is more realistic about his training and can be saved from big disappointments that often let people quit their workouts soon. But genetics should not be misused to explain poor results that came from poor will...

by Tom Faller


Women basically don't have the possibility of building as much muscle mass as men, primarily because of their different hormone situation. Even for men there are individual and age related differences in testosterone production. These hormones play a central role in the anabolic (building) metabolism. There are ways to influence hormones naturally, but most amateur and pro bodybuilders prefer the easy way of drug misuse. If you feel attracted by steroids, please first read about natural and unnatural bodybuilding before doing the wrong thing.

Muscle length

The length of a muscle bulge in relation to it's tendons is determined and limits directly the extend of a muscle's possible thickness. Why is this so?

Untrained muscles only have their deepest (innermost) fibers thickened respectively in an active state, since they have the best efficiency: their force vector affects direct, even way. The remaining fibers can be called reserve fibers and are mostly inactive. When you start your workouts, you and your body soon realize that you are too weak to handle a weight and you try to go further than your muscles actually can. Thats where your brain sends out strong nervous stimuli to the muscle and thus activates unused, outer fibers. Through this activation they get thickened in the workout's following regeneration process and are ready to help in the next workout.

The outermost fibers have the worst physical efficiency. A part of their tension only increases pressure and thus friction in the muscle inside - in extreme cases these fibers would harm more than help. That is the reason why a certain relation of muscle length to muscle height cannot be exceeded.

Fiber count

The number of fibers a muscle has is genetically determined and unchangeable like the number of nerve cells in the body. The more fibers, the better your bodybuilding potential

Type of fiber

There are two types of fibers in the muscle, which proportion is genetically determined, following the current state of research. This proportion can vary from muscle to muscle in the body and from person to person.

Slow twitch

Slow twitch fibers develop less tension and contract slower, but are persistent in performance say for aerobic activity. Slow twitch dominant people are good long distance runners, however they never are good sprinters (there is no transformation from slow twitch to fast twitch fibers). They normally have fewer back problems and the like. The ability to build huge muscle mass is limited - higher repetition numbers are recommended (longer set duration respectively).

Fast twitch

Fast twitch fibers have more strength and contract faster, but are faster exhausted. Slow twitch dominant people rather are good sprinters, but can also be good endurence athletes, since these fibers can change themselves temporarily to slow twitch fibers. The ability to train for muscle mass is good - deeper repetition numbers are recommended.

Bone structure

Bone structure surely doesn't have an influence on your muscle's training abilities, but it substantially influences the appearance and can bring crucial advantages to a bodybuilder standing on stage.

The information contained on this page is not intended to be taken as medical advice. Before starting any exercise/supplementation program, it is recommended that you consult your doctor.

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