Unknown Mistake Hindering Muscle Development?

Hey Dr Darden,

A few months ago we spoke about muscular potential & you’ve mentioned long muscle bellies allow larger muscles. My major muscle groups have pretty long muscle bellies, people say I’m pretty big, I put on muscle at a normal speed but I don’t see myself ever being anywhere near someone like Casey Viator & his 19 inch arms. I also don’t put on lbs of muscle on a weekly basis like people who you’ve mentioned that have trained using HIT either. With that being said here are a few questions I really hope you can answer:

If someone has very good genes, what can prevent them from reaching a great physique?

Improper training, consistency or intensity?

Improper eating or resting?

Or is it just lack of patience?

I know your method works better than almost anyone’s so please let me know.Thanks.

Any of your listed characteristics can be the problem.


  1. Casey was a professional bodybuilder. In that era, as now, they weren’t afraid to take buckets of anabolics.
  2. Pounds of muscle or pounds of fat/muscle. Drink Dr. Darden’s blender mix with molasses, peanut butter, ice cream, protein powder, etc (I’m going off memory) and you’ll gain pounds. You won’t be able to flex them but the scale will definitely move.

I was referring to the time period Casey was training with Arthur Jones where he was natural. If I took anabolics (which I’ll never take) I know I’d get close but naturally I don’t know since it’s not my soul occupation unfortunately.

I was previously pretty bulky but after I dropped 25 lbs and saw how muscular I appeared I’d rather keep my same body fat percentage & build muscle even if its not as fast as if I was in a huge calorie surplus.


== Scott ==
Be glad it isn’t your soul occupation , very few make a decent living doing that.

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@castidavid222, also don’t forget Casey was regaining muscle weight lost due to detraining, strategic deconditioning, whatever you like to call it. Ahhh… muscle memory.

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I think most people here accept that natural potential (i.e., genetics) ultimately determines how far you can get as a body builder. But it isn’t all that easy to actually pinpoint the specific genes that are involved. Thickness of joints and length of muscle bellies are both tell tale indicators, but there is other stuff involved that the eye cannot see. In the end, you learn about those other things by training and seeing what happens.

With out knowing more about you it’s hard to tell if you’re one of those few with one in a million genetics or close to it. A picture might help?

As Mike Mentzer said, you really only know your genetic potential in retrospect.

When I first started training at 18 years old, I thought I probably had very good genetics because I naturally gained about 25 pounds (mostly muscle) within a few months. I was ecstatic and thought it would only keep coming! People around me were shocked of the change. I thought I would become a mass monster in another 9-12 months at most.

But guess what? It was like my body tricked me and right after that quick 25 pound gain and everything came to a halt! Gains slowed like the snap of a finger and came much slower and never as much as that initial period. I was super thin and non-athletic when I started, so I think the weight training in combination of my age (high T most likely) allowed me to get to a “normal” bodyweight really fast. I was also eating a lot more and getting plenty of sleep. I would say I have somewhat above average ability to get fairly lean, but very average or low average at best in terms of overall size. I have about average length muscle bellies and am more ecto body type. However, I came a long way from that beginner stage and you really can only compare yourself to yourself. I am very happy with the change I made, but yeah, who doesn’t want more muscle!

I remember I put on some what I thought was impressive muscle in high school and people called me guns. Then there was a local contest and Jim Haislop came and I saw him and other contestants close up in the dressing room . I knew right then I didn’t have even half of the good genetics they had . Did that make a difference, heck no. I kept reading muscle magazines and hoping to find the secret exercise or something to build gigantic muscles. All that BS and the like that was put out then and even now takes it’s tole on rational thinking. That could be me!! Hah!!!

I recall a guy with pretty good genetics who appeared at the gym periodically. He would progress in strength and muscle at a rapid pace. Once he hit a plateau he soon lost interest and we wouldn’t see him for months. Then he would reappear significantly smaller than we last saw him. He jump back in fully engaged and make rapid gains. He did this for many cycles. It seemed like every time he came back to the gym, someone would comment about his tremendous potential saying, “He’s only been here 3 weeks and he’s put on muscle faster than anyone I have ever seen. He could be the best bodybuilder in the state.” But as soon as he hit his plateau again, he was gone again.

Who knows how good he could have become?

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