It is clear that certain traits are handed down to us by our parents and unfortunately our ability to grow muscle mass beyond certain limits is no exception.
That doesn’t mean to say hard work and carefully planned training won’t have a positive effect on your physique. It just means that some people will inherit a greater abundance of the favored physical characteristics than others. Not everyone possesses the physical traits to become a champion, but you can work wonders with the raw materials you do possess.
How responsive you will be to physical stimulation can be predicted to a certain extent by examining your somatotype or natural body shape. Basically, there are three recognized body types:
Endomorphs (Endomorphic Body Type)
These individuals tend to be squat with a round torso, thick neck and short limbs with above average body fat.
Endomorphs – Associated body features:
- soft body
- underdeveloped muscles
- round shaped
- over developed digestive system
Endomorphs – Associated personality traits:
- love of food
- evenness of emotions
- love of comfort
- need for affection
Mesomorphs (Mesomorphic Body Type)
These individuals tend to be muscular with broad shoulders, powerful chest and limbs with minimal body fat.
Mesomorphs – Associated body features:
- hard, muscular body
- overly mature appearance
- rectangular shaped
- thick skin
- upright posture
Mesomorphs – Associated personality traits:
- desire for power and dominance
- indifference to what others think or want
- assertive, bold
- zest for physical activity
- love of risk and chance
Ectomorphs (Ectomorphic Body Type)
These individuals tend to be slim and are usually tall with minimal muscle mass and body fat.
Ectomorphs – Associated body features:
- flat chest
- delicate build
- young appearance
- lightly muscled
- large brain
Ectomorphs – Associated personality traits:
- preference for privacy
- socially anxious
- mentally intense
- emotionally restrained
The ideal bodybuilding physique tends more towards the mesomorph with broad shoulders, narrow hips with arms and legs of medium length. Two further inherited features have a role to play in determining muscle building potential, and these are muscle fiber density and neurological efficiency. Fiber density determines the size potential of a muscle while neurological efficiency refers to the relationship between the nervous system and muscles. This is relevant because in all out effort, genetically blessed individuals have the ability to activate up to 50% of the fibers in a given muscle compared to the average person’s 30%. This allows greater scope for stimulating muscle growth.
The fact that there is no easy way to measure fiber density or neurological efficiency is actually a blessing because the incentive remains for all of us to train hard and strive for improvement. Only a tiny minority of people have the genetic tools to become champions but the rest of us can go a long way to fulfilling our own personal goals.