Genetics. You either have them, or you don’t. Actually, we all have our own unique sets of genetics. However, the qualities that each of these unique sets of genetics deliver to use vary greatly. Some of us have strong natural mental acuity and strengths. Others are naturally fast, quick, athletically gifted in areas such as hand-eye coordination. When it comes to the muscle game of bodybuilding, everyone knows what great genetics look like – Take a look at the Top Ten at the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding show! Large, full muscle bellies with perfect shape, flowing into small joints, pieces together on balanced, symmetrical bodies with small waists and pleasing lines. Not all bodybuilders have every desired qualities, but those at the top of the iron game usually lack any major flaws, or they may never have made it that far.
There is a good chance you do not have perfect, world-class genetics. If you did, you wouldn’t be reading this article, you’d be posing at a photo shoot after winning Teen Nationals or another similar show. Most of us aren’t perfectly blessed in the genetics department. Maybe we have a wide waist, or stubby legs, or a tendency to hold fat, or just naturally skinny arms. Whatever the flaw, we are able to change up our fate for the better by adjusting factors in the area of training, supplementation, and nutrition. Let’s check out five tips that those with “not so great genetics” can use to overcome their innate shortcomings and maximize their muscle building potential!
Let’s face it… some lifters can drive past a gym once a week, and they seem to grow as a result of it! Others of us have to show up, day in and day out, and keep plugging away to build (and maintain) a ¼ inch muscle mass gain on our arms, legs or chest. One of the biggest advantages that the innately blessed bodybuilders possess is the ability to maintain muscle mass while not training consistently. Most of us do not have such a gift. For most of us, the true gains arrive once we’ve attended the gym for 8-12 weeks without missing a day. Only then do we begin to unlock some of the stored muscle thickness that isn’t demanded when we’re skipping days left and right. Show up – every time. Even if the workout is subpart, just showing up and covering your bases will ensure you don’t lose any muscle!
Those with the greatest genetic gift for muscle belly fullness are often able to achieve an amazing, full pump, with only a few minutes of machine lifting. Meanwhile, the hardgainers among us must plug away thru 4 to 5 exercises of 3-5 sets each, stacking up the muscle fiber stimulation because, well, ours just aren’t packed quite as densely. It’s not thrilling, and it’s probably not fair, but it’s the hand we were dealt. You have to train harder, using heavy compound movements, for a set range of 6 to 10 reps per set, if you wish to maximize your muscle fullness potential, and keep up with those who already possess a clear advantage in that department!
Plan out your training program
As mentioned early, some guys can just show up, train with “whatever” and their muscle group will look thick and fully developed. Ronnie Coleman developed a better chest in high school using only the flat bench press, than most readers will ever achieve, even as we bounce to every chest station in the gym! Genetics are tricky like that… but you may have Ronnie beat in the calf department, right? If you want to develop full and completely built muscle groups to keep up with the Ronnie Colemans of the world, then you are going to want to plan each muscle group’s workout to ensure you are targeting all areas of the muscle for maximum possible growth. Chest day should include incline pressing, flat pressing, decline pressing, and outer movements such as butterflies. Let no area go untrained, of any muscle group, as you don’t have much room to spare! No room for error if you’re not born with Ronnie Coleman genetics!
One similarity among those who have always been innately blessed in the muscle-building department, is that they don’t always rest & recover like they should. For them, the gains have always come easy, even if they spend the evening drinking and partying and binge watching Orange Is The New Black until 5 am. You don’t have this advantage, but your own solid sleeping schedule could actually end up becoming an advantage for. Better sleep leads to better workouts because you’re well rested. Over time, these better workouts, when planned wisely and executed consistently, will lead to greater gains than those seen by the genetically gifted group. Over the years, your annual gains will begin to surpass theirs – and soon, your physique may surpass theirs as well!
Set, track, reach, & modify your goals
This is perhaps the most important key to muscle building success for the athlete lacking any huge natural genetic advantages. You have to plan your moves needed to reach your set muscle goals. You have to set the plan in motion, then follow thru by making your meals, showing up at the gym, sleeping regularly, and taking your supplements religiously. As you reach your goals, modify them and go for it again. You have your own starting line, compared with the Phil Heaths of the world, blessed with all the “gifted” genetic glory. However, over time, your slow gains will add up, and the turtle may end up beating the hare, if the turtle (you!) has better training discipline & consistency. Good luck!