T Nation

Genetics and Bodybuilding

We’ve had so many topics about pros and whether their gear usage plays a major role in their success or not. Usually it comes back to the premise that all else being equal, the guys with the best genetics would be at the top regardless.

Anyway, Arash recently shared this pic of him at 16. Yes he was doing everything that most beginners don’t in terms of diet and training, but you’d have to be blind to not realize the amazing genetics he has.


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Is this a top guy? Powerlifter here, so only know of the top couple guys. I will say he has great genetics, but I think he is short of elite. His shoulders seem far to narrow to be a top level open BBer. Maybe they got wider as he aged, as he was only 16 here?

IMO, as with almost all sports genetics is the most important factor. I consider how hard someone works, and how intelligent someone is (which is reflected in their training) as genetic.

When we talk about Genetics for Bodybuilding, what exactly do we mean?

Width of shoulders and size of wrists, like your structure?

The response of your muscles to training, like the ability to put on lots of muscle?

Your “looks,” like movie star handsome vs gargoyle-esque?

Or is it some kind of hard to quantify total package, kinda thing?

WTF I’ll be happy to look like he does at 16 after 10 years of training ahahah

One forgotten genetic quality is the ability to tolerate the side effects of drugs. Some folks touch the stuff and experience a list of sides while other seemingly can go on for years without much obvious negative effect.


Genetics in bodybuilding is limb size, length, proportions as well as the amount of fast twitch muscle fiber a person has since it hypertrophies easier. Its why a basketball star like Phil Heath can win Mr Olympia but you will be hard to find a former marathon runner on that stage.

Everyone at the top in every sport, bodybuilding, football, cycling,whatever, is just genetically & training a small fraction away from the same skill. That’s why some look to PED’s for an advantage (or a necessary thing in bodybuilding if you want the big money). An average person taking all the steroids they can do won’t be an NFL or bodybuilding star.

Is that right? I heard bodybuilders have more slow twitch than fast twit fibers.

I’ve no idea on ratio, but fast twitch grows in size quicker, I think because they store glycogen better. And for every 1 part glycogen you store I think its 3 parts water that also are stored. There’s some T-Nation articles.

Fast twitch, the white ones. Marathoners and other endurance people hae more slow twitch (The red ones).


He has placed highly at Mr Olympia Classic Physique lol

Maybe he developed (widened) a bit since he was quite young in the picture.

But he didn’t win, did he?

JK but seriously that at 16 is fucking insane. @The_Mighty_Stu how many years had he been training at that point?

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Lol I know, he only took 2nd and then finished top 5 a few more times,… damn loser.

Honestly I couldn’t tell you, but he was so into bodybuilding at such an early age, and he’s just so crazy driven that at this point I’m no longer surprised by anything when he’s concerned :slight_smile:



All that work to keep his weight down for Classic,… obviously he’s short of elite though, maybe he could learn something hanging around on message boards :confused:



I can’t believe that thread of his bombed…

For real.

He legitimately looks like he was born for it.

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Very conditioned it seems. Any gear going on there?

For open bodybuilding I agree. No expert, and how someone looks is subjective, but I still think he is too narrow to be an open BBer that is capable of winning the Mr. O, or Arnold Classic. He has great genetics, but I feel the shoulders keep him from elite. Just my opinion.

That’s just not fair. On any level.

Actually more of what is know as a type 2 A fast twitch fiber.


well yea. he was 16, lol. not even done growing.

There are a lot of things we COULD talk about, but in this instance, it would be very easy to just say ‘because he looks like THAT at 16’. Most people can do everything right for decades and never look like that. Even most people taking drugs will never achieve that.

so for me, that doesn’t really mean he doesn’t have elite genetics, at all. Having the capability to EVER end up on the Olympia stage, in any class, qualifies as having elite bodybuilding genetics IMO. If you’re defining elite as having placed, like, top 5 in Olympia open class, I think that’s quite silly. I would be willing to say ‘top 1% of bodybuilders’ are elite. Which he clearly is, he’s much better than that.

EDIT: and as a side note, if he ever wanted to, I think he could absolutely move to the open class and finish top 10 one day.