Everybody wants sexy muscle but not everybody can have it easily – kinda like making big money. Some people make millions by being at the right place at the right time while others who put just as much effort are not so ‘lucky’ and have to count them pennies.
Whether you want to admit it or not, the majority of your successes and failures are the result of factors you don’t control a.k.a. genetics.
Successful people often attribute their success to hard work and perseverance. It’s true that in order to build something in your life, you need to work hard and consistently. Unless you cover certain requirements you are not going to get a reward. If you want to become good at something, you have to pay your dues. Money and connections can be helpful, but they are certainly not a fix. For example, if you aspire to become a good doctor, you have to put in the work which requires you to study 10+ hours a day, specialize, kill a few people before your learn how to do it right, keep on learning and face people’s ingratitude. No matter how rich you are, the work must be done otherwise you will never get there. Of course, having money makes the process much easier because the commodities that financial wealth provides facilitate our existence. However, money and your parents can’t do it for you regardless of how much they want to.
hard work does not always work
Unfortunately or not hard work does not always lead to success in life. If you are not in a position to collect the profits of your labor, you don’t benefit much from working hard. A good example would be the daily existences of most people. We work for employers by trading time for money. In order for the employer to make a lot of money and end up at the front page of a financial magazine, the little people have to work for pennies. All rich CEOs are getting wealthy the exact same way – through exploitation.
Most companies hire people from Third World Countries to do the manufacturing process and pay them just enough so that only a few workers die everyday. The workers that are in similar position do not benefit at all from working hard. The only ones that are getting richer are the shareholders and the management. The poor people who are in such bad position did nothing wrong. They were just not as lucky genetically. You don’t choose where to be born, nor your family.
The same applies to the world of bodybuilding. There are people whose hard work is rewarded and there are also those who do the exact same thing only to get nothing. The success here is also determined by genetics and how well predisposed you are to building muscles.
There Is No Such Thing As Good Genetics For Bodybuilding
There is no such thing as good genetics for bodybuilding. There are only bad and worse genetics. Nobody is predisposed to gaining insane amounts of muscle mass while having super low body fat. However, those who have solid bone structure, longer muscle bellies and fast metabolism would be considered the most favored.
For the most part people who are predisposed to having larger muscular size also have large frames. The bigger the bones, the bigger the muscle. You will rarely see a guy with really tiny wrists who has huge arms. It happens but mostly doesn’t, at least not naturally. The guys with the big bones always look bigger. A good example would be Steve Reeves who supposedly had insane bone thickness and was considered a very gifted bodybuilder competing in times when steroids were limited to testosterone.
The bodybuilders with small bones may be able to create the illusion that they are bigger than they appear to be, but quite often they just don’t have the genetics to build big muscles naturally. Having a smaller frame equals smaller muscles no matter what. The slim boned bodybuilders can look quite aesthetic at low body fat, but as far as size in concerned they will have hard time reaching the big boned fellas. Obviously, drugs change things and this is the reason why some of the most aesthetically pleasing bodybuilding legends such as Frank Zane had small bones.
Related article: Was Steve Reeves A Natural Bodybuilder
Having the right muscle insertions is extremely important for your bodybuilding success. In general, there are two main types of insertions – long and short. Those who have short tendons can consider themselves lucky because they have higher potential for muscular growth. The longer the muscle, the more fibers there are and the more growth can occur. People with long insertions have short muscle bellies which limits the possibilities for growth. A good example would be the calf muscles – all people with really big calves have short Achilles tendons and long bellies while those with long Achilles tendon have small, puny calves. However, having small calves and long Achilles tendon is considered beneficial for running and general athleticism and speed.
In the image above you can see Sergio Oliva who was known for his phenomenal insertions, especially the ones of his arms. He had incredibly short biceps tendons which made his arms appear super full and allowed him to carry a ton of mass there.
In the next image you see the back of Serge Nubret. Notice how his lats insert super low at his lower back. That’s considered a favorable muscle insertion which allows the bodybuilder to build extremely wide and complete back. However, not everybody has been blessed with similar insertions and many have much higher lats. As a result their lower back area looks empty and less thick.
In the image below you can see Albert Beckles who had super long tendons in his arms and forearms. He was able to build an impressive physique and has phenomenal genetics overall. However, he was not natural, obviously, and he also didn’t carry as much mass at the arm department compared to other great bodybuilders with fuller insertions such as Arnold, Sergio, Nubret…etc.
Related article: Steroids Used During The Golden Era Of Bodybuilding
Of course, one could argue that a bodybuilder can develop his muscles regardless of insertions but in the end of the day the guys with longer muscle bellies always have much easier time ‘looking like they lift‘. It’s the way life works.
Another tool you need in order to be successful in the world of bodybuilding is fast metabolism. Obviously, if you have faster metabolism it will be easier to maintain low body fat which is a must for bodybuilding. Not everybody was blessed to have such extras. There are people who eat very little and still gain fat. Most of the time it’s because they have slower metabolisms. There are also those who eat ice cream three times a day on top of a regular diet and remain lean. That’s because their bodies are more efficient at using the macro nutrients and energy received from food. If you have hard time gaining fat regardless of your poor nutritional habits, consider yourself lucky.
SMALL HIPS, WIDE SHOULDERS
To pull off the so-called bodybuilding illusion you need to have wide shoulders and small hips. This way your back appears wider and you look much bigger to the naked eye. All bodybuilders that are considered aesthetically pleasing have broad shoulders and small waists. While you can build your muscles regardless of shoulders to waist ratios, you can’t change your bone structure so consider yourself lucky, if you are a naturally wide guy.
In the image above you see Lee Haney who had really wide back and small hips. It helped him win Mr. Olympia 8 times.
Unfortunately, not everybody has similar structure and many people have shoulders just a little bit wider than their hips. This can make or break a bodybuilder. Having child bearing hips may be great for powerlifting but in bodybuilding it’s considered a flaw.
RESPONSE TO DRUGS AND GORILLA LIKE ENDURANCE
Another very important genetic factor would be proper response to drugs. There are people who get really big from small doses while others need much more. Obviously, the less you need to look good, the better.
All successful bodybuilders share one thing in common – they all have really tough internal organs. You may be extremely gifted but in order to compete in professional and even high level amateur shows you will have to take steroids. It’s impossible to keep up with the competition, if you don’t. They are all drugged and you can’t naturally beat enhanced guys unless they are really bad, lazy and have a fraud dealer.
Not everybody can handle high dosages for years and if that’s the case, becoming a professional seems impossible regardless of the rest. All of the guys you see on Olympia stage have been pinning their glutes for years. To sustain such abuse you need some sort invincibility. There are plenty of unknown bodybuilders who suffer from internal organ diseases due to their abuse. One of the main reasons the best bodybuilders are the best bodybuilders is that their bodies can tolerate anabolic steroids in high doses for decades.
HAVING A BRAIN HELPS
One of the best things you can ask for is having a working brain. It helps with every mission and building muscle does not make an exception. Having good decision making can save your life and take you to the top. If you fail in that department, all else will suffer and your success will be limited. You need to be smart in order to push forward while protecting yourself. You need to improve and in order to improve you need to learn. The better learner you are, the less struggle and frustration you will meet.
BEING RICH HELPS TOO
There is no doubt that in order to be a successful professional bodybuilder you need to be generating some serious money. Bodybuilders spend tons of cash on drugs and food. The bills are always really high and having a stable source of financial income each month is required. Obviously, not everybody has that luxury.
The same applies to natural bodybuilding, although to a much lesser degree. Having the resources to buy good food will help you a lot. Also when you are financially secure, you are more likely to be stress free. Poverty ain’t fun and is not a bodybuilder’s friend.
So, how do you know if you have good genetics for bodybuilding?
It’s really simple. If you have decent structure and respond well to training and basic nutritional plans while also having favorable insertions – you have good genetics for natural bodybuilding. However, if you aspire to be a full blown professional bodybuilder you will also need to be invincible to drugs and this is one thing one can never know for sure. That’s why we always recommend to people to remain natural. Trading your testicles and kidneys for biceps and a plastic trophy is not worth it.