For some people, it seems nearly impossible to build the perfect chest muscles no matter how hard they work out. Others may have solid pecs, yet seem to put little time or effort into developing them. The truth is that everyone will achieve different results from a workout, as genetics plays a key role in muscle development.
Three Basic Body Types
An American psychologist named William Herbert Sheldon first came up with three classifications of body types during the 1940s. The three basic body types are:
- Endomorph, which is characterized by a large bone structure and the tendency to store fat
- Ectomorph, a body type that includes long, thin limbs and muscles
- Mesomorph, characterized by a muscular build and low levels of fat
Your body type is predetermined, and therefore cannot be changed. That does not mean you cannot achieve positive results from bodybuilding. What it does mean is that you may not wind up looking like another person you see in a magazine. It is entirely possible for anyone to achieve firm chest muscles regardless of body type; however, some people will naturally appear more “stacked” than others.
Effects of Body Type
Your body type will affect how easy it is to develop shoulder, arm, and chest muscles. Mesomorphs are considered the ideal type as far as bodybuilding goes because they have a natural propensity to pack on muscle. Endomorphs on the other hand are prone to becoming overweight, and often suffer from a sluggish metabolism. As such, you will find it more difficult to build muscle if you are an endomorph. Ectomorphs are somewhere in the middle-their high metabolism makes it difficult to gain weight, but at the same time it can make bodybuilding challenging.
Just because you are cursed with bad genetics does not mean you cannot have well-developed chest muscles. Sports medicine research shows that performing two to three sets of weight training exercise consisting of eight to twelve reps each is effective for people of all body types. At least two weight training sessions per week are recommended, although endomorphs and ectomorphs could benefit from three to four. Ectomorphs could benefit from additional protein and carbohydrates to help them pack on more pounds.
A common mistake many people make is working only on their bigger muscle groups and ignoring “skinny” ones. For example, you may be tempted to work only your chest muscles and forget about building your forearms, biceps, or back muscles. Personal trainer Matt Danielsson recommends just the opposite, and instead suggests that bodybuilders should work all muscle groups without giving preference to a particular one. He also advises varying your routine every two to three weeks to help develop strong muscles and improve body symmetry.
You shouldn’t give up on the idea of bodybuilding just because heredity has dealt you a bad hand. Regular strength training exercise can help everyone look and feel their very best regardless of body type. With hard work and the right attitude, you will be surprised at what you can accomplish.