Gymnasts are guilty of big arms, broad shoulders, wide backs, square chests and impressive leanness – a combination that results in the formation of an aesthetic physique that many aspire to acquire. As expected, the common belief is that gymnasts are 100% natural. However, is this really the case?
However, is this really the case?
Not All Sports Require Steroids
Highly technical sports rarely require PED to get to the top. A good example would be skateboarding. Most pro skaters do not even know what steroids are.
Gymnastics are also a highly technical activity. The sport necessitates flexibility, agility, functional strength, and high-end physical skills. This leads to the logical conclusion that unlike bodybuilding, the gymnast world is not dependent on anabolic steroids.
If steroids, insulin, and GH are removed from bodybuilding, the competitors would lose 100lbs of muscle. Meanwhile, the level of difficulty in gymnastics would remain similar to what it is today even if roids disappear from this universe.
Mass and Leanness Are Not The Primary Goal Of Gymnasts
The goal of gymnastic training is to perform advanced movements. Producing mass monsters is not on the list. The extra muscular development is a side effect rather than a deliberate goal. In general, gymnasts don’t benefit that much from gaining excessive muscle mass because the extra bodyweight affects their performance.
Gymnasts Are Short and Have Poor Lower Body Development
There may be some exceptions, but most gymnasts are extremely short. The reason for this hides in the mechanics of the stunts. Obviously, somebody who is 5’3″ will have a much easier time holding an Iron Cross compared to a 6’7″ NBA superstar. Gymnastics are simply a short man’s sport.
Moreover, shorter guys have to build less muscle to look impressive because every extra pound represents a higher percentage of their optimal weight. A pound gained by a short guy equals 5 or more pounds gained by a taller individual.
Truth be told, most gymnasts don’t look as impressive in person as they do in videos and pictures. In real life, you actually get to see how short and light they are.
When you combine shortness and non-stop upper body training since childhood, you get a recipe for a top heavy musculature.
Since the sport does not call for big legs, most gymnasts rarely perform hypertrophy routines for the lower body. However, some gymnasts squat with a barbell to build explosive legs.
The fact that the growth of the lower body is minimized means only one thing – there’s more room for the upper body to grow because everything is invested in that direction.
This phenomenon is also backed by another frequent observation – true natural bodybuilders can build a decent upper or lower body but rarely the two at the same time. The “testosterone budget” does not allow it.
The same is often observed with gymnasts – since the strength elements of the sport are arm and shoulder girdle dominant, the upper body takes most of the profit.
Gymnasts Are Smaller Than Bodybuilders
When you put gymnasts next to bodybuilders, you will realize how small they look. Bodybuilders carry a lot more mass and have a complete physique. Moreover, very few gymnasts get as lean as bodybuilders preparing for a contest.
At The Highest Level, True Naturals Are Hard To Find
Steroids and other PEDs may not be required, but they can always be implemented for their indirect benefits. Sometimes drugs are added to speed up the recovery of an injury and or to prevent muscle mass loss during illness.
Bodybuilders and strength athletes do not have copyrights on PED. For example, even some musicians take beta blockers to feel calm during a live performance. That’s why it would be silly to say that all gymnasts are 100% lifetime naturals because they aren’t. However, the sport is not 100% drug dependent, unlike bodybuilding, powerlifting, and weightlifting. A man can become an elite gymnast without drugs.