T Nation

The Human Skeleton, Let's Talk

Hi All

Just wanted to start a really random and most likely stupid debate. We always talk about weight and say wow you look small for your weight or wow are you really that heavy you don�??t have much muscle. This got me thinking about the single heaviest make up of the human body�?�. Bones and your skeletal structure.

How much do you think this can fluctuate between people of the same height. Take someone at 5ft 8ins. What is the potential weight difference of a skeleton across a selection of adult males, excluding all other factors aside such as muscle and fat.

Lets take this a different angle. If you have a small humerus (arm bone) can you still get 19inch arms. And actually if you get 14 inch arms are you still huge if you have a small humerus, given that you�??ve obviously built up a lot of muscle.

What do you think once again is the varying circumference size between small and large arms. I think there is potentially the possibility of having a whole two inches between a big boned human and a small boned human for humerus circumfernce.

Like I said this is a very random debate and your welcome to take part, heckle me or in fact just ignore my stupidity.

Skeletal cross section increases with heavy weight training just like muscular cross section. So if you’ve built up enough muscle mass to go from 14" to 19" arms, the humerus will have gotten thicker as well.

wow, didn’t know that,are you sure. Wouldn’t that therefore mean you could potentially get taller with weight training

I’m not sure about the bones getting longer, but if they do I doubt it would be enough to necessitate buying longer pants. The bones do get heavier and thicker though, but obviously not nearly the same rate of muscle growth.

Well, I have small bones. I dont know what there is to debate about it. I look bigger than I am, and thats a fact. I reckon being the same height, and looking the same weight, there can be up to about 20lb difference?

Bones continually adapt to stresses imposed on them, if you lift heavy stuff they get thicker / stronger. If you stay in bed (or are an astronaut) for long periods your bones will get thinner & weaker.
Once the growth plates at the bone ends are sealed over they will not increase in length (so, no, you won’t get taller).

given that your feet bones are generally horizontal to the floor, it they got thicker would you not therefore be taller…only messing.

well forevenade,

This is my point, in a world of internet, people go by numbers of what you can lift and height to weight ratio etc. if someone was to say they were 5ft 8 and only 170lbs, poeple assume that it isn’t impressive, yet for someone like you it could be that you have the appearance of someone 190lbs because you have a small skeletal structure…you see.

bones won’t get longer once the epiphyseal plates (growth plates) harden. and, if I’m remembering correctly, the change in bone begins with increased density eventually increasing in size as well (just not length).

Thats the kind of stuff i’m interested in Modok.

I do believe that Skeletal frame has a hell o f a lot to do with weight lifting and consequently the appearance and potential for the body.

[quote]jump2it wrote:
Thats the kind of stuff i’m interested in Modok.

I do believe that Skeletal frame has a hell o f a lot to do with weight lifting and consequently the appearance and potential for the body.[/quote]

You also won’t be able to tell much from it alone unless the person has been trained athletically before.

Looking at a rank beginner whose only exercise has been X-box marathons won’t tell you jack shit about their potential. No one is going to know where you stand genetically until you have put the time in and made some gains.

Trying to think of limits based only on bone circumference is a waste of time and does little else but limits yourself.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
jump2it wrote:
Thats the kind of stuff i’m interested in Modok.

I do believe that Skeletal frame has a hell o f a lot to do with weight lifting and consequently the appearance and potential for the body.

You also won’t be able to tell much from it alone unless the person has been trained athletically before.

Looking at a rank beginner whose only exercise has been X-box marathons won’t tell you jack shit about their potential. No one is going to know where you stand genetically until you have put the time in and made some gains.

Trying to think of limits based only on bone circumference is a waste of time and does little else but limits yourself.[/quote]

+1

Seems there are many factors to take into accounting:

Bone diameter
Bone density
Tendon attachment position on the limb/frame
Joint size
Training age and expertise

A guy with a barrel chest, short arms, and pec/shoulder muscle attachments far down the arm is going be a naturally better bencher than someone with a narrow chest, long arms and muscle attachments close to the body on the limbs.

That’s not to say that they can’t both bench the same amount of weight. But the second guy is going to have develop a hell of a lot more muscle tissue to do it along with better technique. The first guy has naturally better leverages and can make less muscle do more.

That’s why looking strong is not necessarily the same as being strong, though there’s a high correlation.

I do think this is a factor although don’t try to use it as an excuse.

I have a pretty narrow bone struture (slim wrists and not very broad across the shoulders). I’m stronger than most people my hight and weigh alot less than other people of the same height and that appear to be a similar build.

however I definately don’t have weak bones, I’ve never broken a bone and I’ve played rugby for 5 years and done heaps of stupid shit.

[quote]skidmark wrote:
Seems there are many factors to take into accounting:

Bone diameter
Bone density
Tendon attachment position on the limb/frame
Joint size
Training age and expertise

A guy with a barrel chest, short arms, and pec/shoulder muscle attachments far down the arm is going be a naturally better bencher than someone with a narrow chest, long arms and muscle attachments close to the body on the limbs.

That’s not to say that they can’t both bench the same amount of weight. But the second guy is going to have develop a hell of a lot more muscle tissue to do it along with better technique. The first guy has naturally better leverages and can make less muscle do more.

That’s why looking strong is not necessarily the same as being strong, though there’s a high correlation.[/quote]

Good post, sometimes I wish I had a build better suited to benching but then I know some guys that bench alot more than me but still have shitty chest development.

[quote]MODOK wrote:
jump2it wrote:
Thats the kind of stuff i’m interested in Modok.

I do believe that Skeletal frame has a hell o f a lot to do with weight lifting and consequently the appearance and potential for the body.

Different people have different genetic limits…the trick is finding your LIMIT…then you know where you can and can’t go. I’m not saying go out and break your arm…but push your limits.

Honestly, every workout my bones ache after I’m done, and its been that way since I got serious about training. I don’t even pay attention to it anymore. Its just part of the training stimulus. Just seek to know your body better than anything else, pay ATTENTION when it is talking to you, and you will do fine in bodybuilding.
[/quote]

Exactly. There are some days I can curl 20 lbs more than on other days. I use the ache of my joints and bones to tell me what the day’s limit is. The trick is not stopping too soon (no stimulation) OR too late (injury).