Article Courtesy of Liam Tweed
Every month in this magazine there are many photos of physiques you admire. You may often wish you had the extra large arms or legs or perhaps the whole build similar to the ones you envy, and you then wonder, "Why can't I have a body just like that?"
You can . . . in a way. Yet you will never be able to look exactly like your ideal. It is impossible because there are no two people completely alike on this earth. True, all of us have the same-named muscles, but these muscles vary greatly in size and shape. Even so-called identical twins are not alike. A critic's eyes can detect differences here and there.
There are no two things exactly alike in all this world - not even blades of grass or leaves on trees. Consider all the faces in the world: two eyes, a nose and a mouth on each and yet all are different.
Just imagine how things would be if every fellow could obtain exactly the same looking muscles, the same shaped chest and back, identical legs and arms, even to the face. Were it possible to produce physical duplications the world would be filled with lookalikes; and then, with similar dispositions, how monotonous this world would be.
You might possibly secure the same measurements as someone else whom you may admire and yet, if you did you would then find that each of your physiques would look differently.
And this might be compared to the muscles of youth with those of middle age or over. In some cases all these muscles might measure the same, yet the youthful muscles would look much better than would the older ones. They have considerably more definition. It is good for us that muscular formations vary as it affords interest towards the element of competitive betterment.
Heredity conditions control height, shape and size, with but very few exceptions. We are born to be tall or short - as the case may be - and there is nothing we can do about it. We can make the most of what we have and become satisfied as much as possible with the results and let it go at that. If a fellow is destined to remain short in stature all his life there is absolutely nothing that can alter his height. He might appear an inch taller by always assuming an erect posture but that is all.
I must confess that it would be rather nice if there were some magic formula that could change our whole appearance so we might look exactly as we wish to be. If such were possible, the extra rich guys would corner the market with the substance and thereby make the price of physical transformation prohibitive. And that is just like life itself: if it could be bought, then the wealthy would live and you and I long ago would have long ago entered that blessed calm of nonexistence.
Be thankful and appreciative that everyone is different. Be gladdened by the thought that everyone can secure a good physique through weight training. Such should be gratifying. You cannot have everything you want in life so accept substitutions or substitutes and be somewhat satisfied. You can become your own individual BEST physical specimen but you can never, for example look like a Steve Reeves, Reg Park, a Bill Pearl or a John Grimek Each of these fellows is a distinctive individual type, as are you.
Look at it this way. If you cannot get a million dollars in life then be satisfied with a tenth of that amount. So if you are of average height and your ambition is set upon owning a pair of 19 or 20 inch arms, you will not get them if you are under six feet in height. Then why not be more than pleased to own a pair of 17-inchers attached to a finely developed physique?
Let me tell you something about Steve Reeves. Perhaps then you will assign yourself to the enjoyment of owning a lesser physique. I first saw Steve when he was about 16 years old. He was then six feet tall, broad-shouldered, sported wonderful lats, and was a mighty handsome lad. One night at a physique show in Los Angeles where he was a spectator like myself and among a couple of thousand others, he chanced to roll up his trouser leg to show someone his calf. My trained eye readily guesses it to be at least 18 inches in size. It had wonderfully separated muscularity of perfect shape. Upon questioning Steve as to how he could get such magnificent calves he informed me that he had gotten them from bicycle riding Well, heck, I have ridden a bike more Reeves ever has in his whole lifetime. Did I, then, get 18 inch calves? I did not. So when a 16-year old kid owns such formation, size and shape of muscle, it becomes obvious that he is a natural and that he inherits such physical magnificence.
Some years ago at Palm Beach, Florida, I saw a little three year old girl in a bathing costume. This child first drew my attention because of her well shaped deltoids, triceps curve and general arm shape. Even her thighs had muscular shape but, of course, no real muscle to speak of. This youngster cemented my belief that heredity plays a most important part in our lives because - in the case of this three year old girl - it would have been physically impossible for her to obtain such pronounced contours from activity at this age.
I have seen boys around 10 or 12 years of age with forms that would do a grown man justice when it came to broad shoulders, well filled out arms and heavyset legs. Of course, these kids lacked defined development but they had shape and size. And so, anyone who is born into such a husky frame usually becomes on who can develop into a worldwide sensation if he trained for it. Most of such types never bother to exercise. They often lack ambition for it.
Everyone has differently shaped arms. Let's discuss the triceps. Some have long, sweeping, curving triceps that appear rounded from the back of deltoid right down to the elbow, whereas other triceps might have almost 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch less sweeping curve, which causes the lower arm section to appear smaller than is should be. There is not the same power in the shorter formed triceps as there is in the one having the longer sweep.
On some arms the external head of the triceps is more prominently outlined than the larger or internal head. This, in itself, becomes a matter of formation because two fellows can perform bench presses, for example, and one will get the longer head of this muscle better outlined, whereas the other fellow would have the outer head more developed.
The same is applicable to the biceps. This muscle may form into a peak when flexed or it might resemble a round ball. It may also extend downward into the bend of the elbow pocket. In other forms of bicep the muscle might extend downward to bulk a bit higher upon the straightened arm or an inch or even two above the elbow location. The longer type biceps are the stronger. Yet these may not flex into the high peak as do the shorter type.
The pectorals vary greatly. Some men have wide ones that cover a generous expanse of the upper chest. Others have shorter ones which appear thicker and which do not possess the width of the aforementioned sort. There are also pectorals that possess a square formation and others that are rounded at the lower sections. You have undoubtedly seen all these kinds. The shape of the pectorals has much to do with the proper training movements performed right from the beginning of one's regime. It becomes essential, therefore, that a beginner should be absolutely certain to start off rightly with all his exercise motions. Hence, I would recommend Hoffman's Course etc. here.
Let's discuss thighs. These are the same on everyone as far as the anatomical names of the muscles are concerned. All those who perform squats know of their quadriceps extensor muscles that cover the whole front of the upper leg. Two fellows can perform the identical amount of squatting while using the same poundages and yet one will secure better thighs than the other. This mystery can again be explained by heredity conditions. You either own thicker ligaments, stronger tendons, wider hip bones or heavier tibia than the one whose thighs fall short of your own if you are the more fortunate one to succeed in getting your legs much better than the next chap who might do the same work as you do.
The thighs can be developed to enormous proportions. The most muscular and largest pair of upper legs I have ever seen were owned by William Gerardi, whom I knew wll a good many years ago, His huge quadriceps extensor muscles curved tremendously at both the sides and front; and even his biceps femoris, the muscle back of the thigh, had a wonderful curve. His thighs measured a tight 31 inches at his 5'8" height. I recall he weighed a trifle over that 200 pound mark. Now then - you and I could squat and squat until all the cheese in Denmark walked away and we would never hit anywhere near that 31 inch measurement Fact is, we would not even get 27 inches, give or take a half inch.
Let me offer you some encouragement. Though your muscles will not look exactly like those of your ideal's physique, don't be discouraged. GET WHATEVER YOU CAN!
There will always be numerous fellows envying you and wishing they had your build. Be happy and appreciative that you have worked for and achieved a strong body with well shaped muscles.
If you really want my advice I recommend that you just plug along consistently and train with weights for the sheer joy of it, and not with the continuous laborious struggle for that ever wanted extra half inch of muscle. Relax more and be happier, you will gain more this way. Train hard, of course, but always relish the effort itself.
Enjoy Your Lifting!