Genetics: How Will They Affect You ?

Andy Bolton, the deadlift world record holder of the World Powerlifting Organization, succeeded in lifting 498 lbs on the squat and 599 lbs on the deadlift, at his first ever attempt. The former Mr. Olympia, Dorian Yates, managed lifting 313 lbs on the bench at his first attempt as a teenager.

When Brian Dobson, the owner of Metroflex Gym, talked about training Ronnie Coleman, who will become Mr. Olympia, he remembers that he had huge legs and veins on his arms, even though he wasn’t using anabolic s******s, popular in that period.

Arnold Schwarzenegger had more muscle after one year of workouts than most people after 7 or 10.

It is obvious that these individuals react much better to weight training than many others. So, what makes them so different than the rest of us mortals?


You’ll probably regret hearing this, but our progress largely depends on your genetic predispositions. Numerous studies have confirmed that while the response to weight training is extremely high in some individuals, others don’t respond as well, while some hardly respond at all. Yes, you’ve read that correctly. In some people weight training will result in no change.

This is the conclusion of a study that included 585 men and women, tested in 12 weeks of exercises with weights which were increased progressively and has resulted with numerous different outcomes and responses to weight training.

Those with the lowest response, lost 2% of their muscular mass and made no progress in strength.The ones with the best response to weight training showed a 59% increase in their muscle mass and 250% increase in strength per 1RM (Оne Rep Maximum). Have in mind that all the tested individuals were subjected to the same training program.

This is not the only research of this type. Another research has shown that after subjecting 66 individuals to 16 weeks of physical tests, a staggering 26% of them failed to achieve significant hypertrophy. Some people hit the genetic jackpot, while some just don’t have it in their genes.



Genetics can also influence how the fats are stored and burned in our body.

One recently conducted research tested several pairs of twins for 84 days, where one of the twins consumed 1.000 calories more than the normally required intake, making up for an excess of 84.000 calories for the same period. All the subjects had averagely passive lifestyle, without many physical activities.

Although the resulting average increase of bodyweight was 7.5 kilograms, the individual increase of bodyweight varied from 4.5 kilograms to 13 kilograms in different subjects. Although all the subjects had been eating exactly the same food, in exactly the same period of the day, and had the exact same lifestyle, the genetically doomed individuals showed an increase of their body weight 3 times higher, than the genetically blessed ones.

Not only that they stored 100% of the excess weight compared to the 40% stored by the blessed, but also experienced an increase of their waist fat deposits by 200%, unlike the “genetically blessed”, who experienced no increase whatsoever.

However, this should not be a cause for panic and despair. Although the facts presented here may seem frightening, the situation is not as black as it appears to be at first sight.

First of all, everyone of us has some genetic fault that calls for some attention. Some of us are predestined to have excess fats, others are fairly thin but have patches of stubborn fats, some have problem in gaining muscles, others are muscular enough but with weaknesses in some body parts. Some of us a combination of all. No one has perfect genes.

The list of genetic “curses” goes without end….

  • Some individuals respond great to variations, some to training with high volume, some to high intensity, others to frequent training. It’s your job to find out what works the best for your body.
  • Some individuals are able to gain muscle in no time without applying, while others fail to make any progress even though they are following some fantastic training program tailored for their needs.

If you find any difficulty in putting on muscle mass, and don’t respond well to certain training, try experimenting. With consistency and determination you’re bound to see results in the end.

Conclusion: Genetics can make a difference, but with clever training, diet and supplements you can optimize what nature failed to provide for you.


ACTN3 genotype is associated with human elite athletic performance.
Yang N1, MacArthur DG, Gulbin JP, Hahn AG, Beggs AH, Easteal S, North K.

The response to long-term overfeeding in identical twins.
Bouchard C1, Tremblay A, Després JP, Nadeau A, Lupien PJ, Thériault G, Dussault J, Moorjani S, Pinault S, Fournier G.

Muscle expression of genes associated with inflammation, growth, and remodeling is strongly correlated in older adults with resistance training outcomes.
Dennis RA1, Zhu H, Kortebein PM, Bush HM, Harvey JF, Sullivan DH, Peterson CA.

Variability in training-induced skeletal muscle adaptation
James A. Timmonscorresponding author

Potent myofiber hypertrophy during resistance training in humans is associated with satellite cell-mediated myonuclear addition: a cluster analysis.
Petrella JK1, Kim JS, Mayhew DL, Cross JM, Bamman MM.

Variability in muscle size and strength gain after unilateral resistance training.
Hubal MJ1, Gordish-Dressman H, Thompson PD, Price TB, Hoffman EP, Angelopoulos TJ, Gordon PM, Moyna NM, Pescatello LS, Visich PS, Zoeller RF, Seip RL, Clarkson PM.

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