T Nation

Long or Short Muscle Bellies?


I've been wondering, in bodybuilding which is the most desired type of muscle belly.

I have started wondering this as recently I've noticed that my friend who has a short muscle belly has larger bicep peaks than me but on the other hand his short muscle belly cuts off so far from the end of his upper arm hes left with a whole area of skin which looks pretty much like fat.

I mean I'd love a great peak like his but whatever. Moreover whats the benefits of each of these different types of muscle bellies. Is one more specific for strength or endurance?



People with short muscle bellies seem to have more impressive looks to their arms when they are still relatively small....however, long muscle bellies have always looked more impressive overall if the size is there.

Sergio Oliva had long muscle bellies and quite possibly some of the best looking arms in the world at the time short of Arnold.

Albert Beckles had very short muscle bellies and while he also looked impressive, between the two, Oliva would win.


Sergio Oliva and Arnold were the creme da la creme. I've got to agree though most champion bodybuilders seem to have long muscle bellies. I'm gonna have to pack some serious size on these lil babies and see how far I can take them.


How can you judge whether someone does or does not have a long or short muscle belly? Their peak?


Let's see...I just gave you the names of two well known bodybuilders who represented each condition....yet instead of looking for pictures of them to see for yourself, you are asking for what exactly?

Yes, Google works for you as well and this is called "critical thinking".


I did look on Google. I also looked at other well known bodybuilders, and the ones who I would consider to have the most impressive looking arms generally had bigger peaks. I simply wanted to confirm, since you had said longer muscle bellies are more impressive if the overall size is there.


Levrone = Long muscle bellies

This isn't about the peak alone but the look of the entire arm. If someone has a very short muscle belly (like Beckles did), even if they build it up and the peak is big, the guy with a more filled out arm (AS WELL AS A GOOD PEAK) is still going to look more impressive because there is simply more muscle there...assuming both are extremely built.


Not always. Ronnie Coleman is a good example of shorter bellies. As was Robbie Robinson.

I would not say this is a case of better, but a case of "different". I like the arms of both types. Shorter bellies look great as they have a tendency to peak. Longer bellies look more massive but their shape can sometimes be more like blob without the aesthetics.


Length of the muscle belly vs. tendon simply determines how big the gap is between the lower end of the biceps (for example) and the elbow.
Peak has nothing to do with it.

Best case scenario is a long muscle-belly with no real gap between elbow and biceps AND a great peak (Arnold).

Little peak but practically zero gap = Oliva, Levrone (sort of), Scott (sort of).

Great peak but very large gap = Beckles, or our very own onemorerep (better bi shape than beckles imo, and he fortunately has some nice tris to balance things out)

Little peak but also a fairly large gap = Henry (among others). He brought his bis up big time, but they will never look superb in a front double-bi compared to guys like Oliva and co.

A guy with little bi-peak and a large gap, coupled with flat and short tris (Paco Bautista -sp- for example, if I recall correctly) will still be able to get his arms bigger, but they'll just be blown away by guys with better arm muscle bellies/shape... And they'll probably always look weak compared to the rest of his body.


The only reason why you guys may think that shorter bellies tend to peak more is that bodybuilders with shorter bellies don't usually get very far in bbing (or end up not competing at all) if they also have little peak. There are exceptions (henry etc) of course, but generally, these guys get little press coverage.
You can find a lot of them in every gym around here...

Peak and length have little to do with each other.


Well either way, no trainee should feel gipped be having one type of belly or another. Both can be developed to impressive sizes.


Agreed...and again, in general, the guy who has a more filled out biceps AS WELL AS A GOOD PEAK is who is going to win.

Ronnie was impressive all over, but Ronnie was not most known for his biceps. People who have been known for their biceps have traditionally been people with very filled out upper arms like Sergio.

The picture above is of Vince Taylor, someone who was written to have some of the best arms in bodybuilding at one time. Long muscle bellies.


not to sound redunddant but basically the shoter the "belly" the wider the gap youll see beetween the muscle and joint or insertion point. another example i could present is by suggesting that u compare the lats of dennis wolf to franko columbu- dennis's lats convert to connective tissue by rib cage(or seem to) and franko's lats remains a muscle belly to to his hip complex.in bodybuilding the longer bellies r typically much more desired because of their potential to build much larger.

on the other note the sport specific advantage is the shorter bellies is that individuals w/ shorter bellies are known to have more exploisive strength (speed strength) since power(again speed strength) is known to origionate at the tendon and not the muscle.
for the type of physiology that muscle tissue is made of i could see a large muscle belly being capable of more static strength especially in the contracted position of a certain range of motion.
anything performance related is usually highly dictated by the nervous system though, so whatever u want the capabilities to be just train for 'em


Both Ronnie's and Jay's biceps seem a little underpowered in front-double-bi poses compared to the rest of them as they appear somewhat short (though peaked).

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_1x3Muszp5gY/RmmySDpAEiI/AAAAAAAAAXU/0TwncYwsYNE/s320/arnie-ronnie.jpg (mind you, I doubt that the images of arnold and ronnie were scaled correctly)

Longer muscle bellies can still look good without having much of a peak, though yes, that can also make them look unaesthetic. Shorter bellies pretty much have to have a peak in order to look good, though.


Phil Heath would be another example of a BB'er with long muscle bellies and good peaking biceps. He has some of the best (if not the best) arms in BB'ing right now.


Please don't beat me for my dumb question guys but... He has low Lats too right?

Who should I look up for a good example of high Lats?


His biceps have truly become insane.


dennis wolf


Wolf would be the most prominent example for high lat attachments.

Mind you, as with biceps (peak and length of individual bicep heads as well as location of peak), how you look depends on many factors.
Wolf has high lats, which can make someone's back look smaller overall or even kill your taper if you have a wide-ish waist... But he has a narrow waist and his lats flare out well, and scapular ROM/position during a lat spread plays a very large role in how your lats ultimately look in a pose...

When it comes to biceps, how your wrist is turned, what angle you hold the arm at etc and even how your shoulders are positioned in a front-double-bi etc all change how your bis appear...


Thank you sir