T Nation

Where Genetics Do Come Into Play

First off, I don’t believe in any of that hard gainer, ectomorph, pencil-neck crap. I acknowledge that everyone will grow at different rates with different exercises, and that is at least partially attributed to their genetics, but outside of that, I mostly discard the entire thing. I feel like it is unproductive to think about why something is a hinderance when you could be spending that time getting around the hinderance.

However, I was reading the other night about one area of genetics that I had not really considered the effects of with relation to muscle building, range of motion and hypertrophy.

Bone Length.

As it happens, I am one of those tall and thin guys that always complains about never being able to put on muscle(except I don’t complain about that, since it’s untrue) But I am 193cm(6 foot 4) and basically all of my bones are considerably longer than most anyone I know.

I was reading about how a person with long bones does not end up working the skeletal muscles as much as a person with shorter bones, simply as a factor of increased leverage provided by the longer bones vs. where the muscles attach to the bone. That, effectively, a person with my type build will likely be a little stunted with putting on the mass vs. a shorter person, with all other things being equal(read: not compensating for something like this)

Surely, one correlation would be all of the short an squat/muscular people I know and have encountered Vs. all the ones I’ve met that are taller than 6’2. Arnold is 6’2 and I’m sure there are a fair amount of professional bodybuilders that are tall, but the sport does seem to select the shorter ones more often(or is this an uninformed misperception?)

I am not trying to make excuses for myself or others with a similar type build as me, but I was hoping someone might know more about this, or be able to provide some information as to its validity, and things to consider to do with compensating if it is an issue.