When it comes to getting results in the gym, the phrase that often comes to mind is “if it’s worth doing it’s worth doing well.” Despite what we might like to think, there aren’t any real shortcuts to achieving those gains… apart from one. Steroids.
But if you’d rather not have your balls shrinking up inside your body, lose your hair, and increase your risk of cancer, then you’ll have to build muscle the old-fashioned way. And without juicing, there’s a limit to how much muscle your body can naturally build.
The male potential
In his lifetime, the average male can gain roughly 40 to 50 pounds of muscle naturally. That’s around 20 kg of pure muscle, and it is not gonna happen overnight. It takes several years of proper eating and training to even get close to that, so maybe don’t set that as your immediate goal.
So while it is far from an exact science, there are a couple of tests you can do that will help determine your muscle-building potential.
1. Measure your bones
(So many jokes about bones that I want to make, but I won’t!)
Turns out the old comment about being “big boned” may have some merit, as research has shown that those with larger bones tend to be more muscular than those with smaller frames. They also tend to have higher levels of testosterone and so gain muscle faster when they start weight training.
Are you “big boned”? The best way to find out is to measure the circumference of your wrists and ankles. Those of you with wider wrists and ankles tend to be more naturally muscular with a greater potential for muscle growth than those with “slim bones”.
The majority of research on the subject has been from a lifelong lifter Casey Butt, PhD (I swear I didn’t make that name up). He wrote “Your Muscular Potential: How To Predict Your Maximum Muscular Bodyweight and Measurements”, which may not exactly roll off the tongue, but at least it’s clear what it’s about.
His research is based on a 6-year statistical analysis of the achievements of drug-free bodybuilders and strength athletes. After hours and hours of dedicated research, Butt created a formula that allows you to predict your muscle-building potential.
2. Finger yourself… in the bicep
The other factor that will influence your natural muscle-building potential is your muscle structure. If you consider that every muscle has two main parts: the “belly”, which is the part that contracts and that you want to grow; and the tendon, which connects the muscle belly to your skeleton.
Since muscles can’t grow longer, only wider, those with longer muscle bellies and shorter tendons will be able to gain more total muscle mass.
So here’s the test: bend your arm to 90 degrees and flex your biceps (it’s not about size at this point). How many fingers can you fit comfortably between the bulge of your bicep and forearm?
This is one of the few times a big belly is a good thing. If you can only fit 1 finger in, you’re one of the lucky few with longer than average muscle bellies, making it much easier to gain muscle naturally.
3 = shorter muscle bellies
2 = average muscle bellies
1 = larger muscle bellies
Stock image guy above could probably just about squeeze 1 finger in between the edge of his bicep and the bend in his elbow. Then check out the tall, lean and gorgeous Matthew Dempsey below. You can see he has a bigger gap between his elbow and the edge of his bicep.
Everyone can build muscle
This may seem like a downer of an article if you’re a long-boned, 3-finger guy, but it doesn’t have to be. Maybe your arms will never look like stock image guy, but they could look like Matthew’s. Is that such a bad thing?
Gay Personal Trainers
Whether you’re a 1-finger or a 3-finger, if you could do with a helping hand in building up those biceps, then speak to one of our gay personal trainers. They can design a training and nutrition program to suit your individual needs, and be on hand to help coach you towards your goals.
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