Genetics Always Wins!

One day, during some NFL pre game show, the analysts were discussing a certain player who possessed exceptional speed.

One of the analysts asked Sterling Sharpe, former NFL wide receiver-turned TV analyst, what that particular player might have done to develop such blinding speed.

Sterling’s simple, yet profound, reply: “He wakes up like that”.

Obviously, Mr. Sharpe clearly understands the role of genetics in athletic performance.

Genetics also plays a role in the development of muscular size and strength.

A lot of people ( who are usually trying to sell you something in a bodybuilding website or a magazine) would have you believe that anybody can build a Super Hero type physique if they can just be motivated enough and perservere long enough.

It’s true that anybody can get better, and everybody can get a lot bigger and stronger than they ever imagined, but there are limits. And those limits are genetically imposed.

For example, an entire football team performs the exact same strength training program,  the kicker still weighs 170 lbs. and all the offensive linemen all weigh over 300 lbs.

Genetics always wins!

Here are some individual genetic factors that affect muscular development:


-Bone structure: An individual with a small, frail bone structure simply will not be able to support the heavy musculature of someone like Casey Viator or Dorian Yates;






– Muscle fiber density:  Muscles grow via hypertrophy, where each individual muscle fiber increases in thickness. Everything else being equal, somebody with fewer muscle fibers in their biceps than their training partner will not be able to develop their biceps to the same degree.

-Motor unit recruitment: Some people have the genetically predetermined ability to neurologically recruit more muscle fibers for contraction during a given task. The people you see or hear about who are average size, yet can perform superhuman feats of strength, usually fall into this category.

-Recovery ability: The capacity to recover from stress, and the speed with which a person can do that, are genetically based. That’s why some people can tolerate longer and more frequent weight training workouts than others and still make good progress.

Since limits to individual muscular potential do exist, and those limits are genetically based, there is nothing that can be done to alter them. However, don’t let this discourage you-remember that potential can only be acuurately assessed in retrospect; meaning simply, you’ll never know how good you can be unless you give it your best shot, and then look back on it later.

Also, attitude is a great tool for leveling the playing field a person with the motivation and will to push to the limit in every workout will realize more of their full genetic potential than someone who is blessed with favorable genetics, but trains like a wimp.

And remember that the purpose of all goal achievement is to develop a sense of mastery-to gain satisfaction from the knowledge that you were able to take yourself from point A to point Z in a given endeavor.

So in Rock Solid Fitness you set a goal and the fitness coaches help you  be the best you that you can possibly be, and you don’t have to worry too much about genetic limits. Train with maximum effort, balanced with the proper duration and frequency, enjoy the process, and see what happens.


If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>