The ‘muscle belly” term is in direct connection with genetics. This can give a clue of one’s muscular potential. No matter how obsessed you are with weight training, you must remind yourself that you can only go as far as the genetics allow you to go.
The mentioned potential is evaluated by considering the muscle-tendon complex. Thus, if your tendons are long (this could be easier to measure), then the muscle belly is short. You may compare yourself with people of the same height, otherwise it makes no sense. Muscle bellies do not necessarily depend on the size of your bones. It is true that people with thin bones tend to have short muscle bellies, but this is not always the case. Also, do not be tempted to believe that this is related to easy gaining/hard gaining topic. You can still gain mass easily even with short muscle bellies.
So what exactly are these?
By muscle bellies we refer to the total length of the tissue that’s made of elongated cells – the classic long muscle fiber. These can relax or contract, and are thus capable of movement. The total length of one such muscle may hold important clues for bodybuilders or anyone aspiring to become one. It’s actually the meaty part on your big bones, like your biceps or calf and thigh long muscles. The closer this meaty part is to the end of the bone or to the joint, the better.
Muscle bellies and bodybuilder
Having a long and thick muscle belly is a good sign. If it is short, it’s no tragedy though. You will just not be one of those size monsters, but you can still develop an insanely strong body. In general, the muscle belly length alone can help experts see one’s muscular potential and possible future development. You can still try to evaluate it yourself. The longer the muscle bellies, the better for the bodybuilder. Both performance and strength can depend on this aspect. A related term is the “muscle insertion point”, which marks the limit between the tendon and the muscle. This is where it connects to the bone. The closer this point is to the joint, the more you make of your muscle.
You may check your calf muscles, for example. If these are long, then you have a greater potential to develop these. Think that this muscle contracts when used. If the fiber has a greater length, then it can form a bigger angle when flexed. Thus, length shows the growth potential of the muscle in question. The tendons are not meaty. These will not grow with weight lifting. Therefore, you cannot take these into account.
In the case when your muscle bellies are short, it doesn’t mean you will be mediocre. You can still (and should) opt for reaching your full potential, because this will represent your maximum level – the best you can be. Besides this aspect, the rules are the same for everyone: to create optimal conditions for bodybuilding, train hard, stay motivated and control the diet obsessively.
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