Are Genetics Important For Strength?

Posted on 14 Jun 2015 22:36


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The hardcore strength training or powerlifting community has a sometimes overly spoken moto of “Fuck Genetics!” and I’ve always found that to be ridiculous. It is one thing to work your ass off to overcome your genetic limitations but it is a different matter to pretend like they don’t exist. Not everyone can be Dan Greene or Andy Bolton or Magnusson.

No matter who's routine I do or how much testosterone and other chemicals I inject into my body I will never be as elite as these guys. Some people (like me) are just not built to be pulling 700+ pounds for deadlifts. This moto of "fuck genetics" isn't going to help me overcome this obstacle.

I am thoroughly impressed by Omar Isuf in his video where he addresses genetics and strength:

Omar says that there are 3 genetic factors you absolutely cannot change:

  1. Muscle Fiber Distribution
  2. Segment Lengths – long/short torso, limb lengths, etc
  3. Muscle Origins and Insertions


Omar goes on to discuss various things you can do about your training to overcome some of your limitations. But the bottom line is that just because you workout really hard and smart and you are dedicated and have a heart of gold – UNLESS your genetics allow you, you will not be breaking Benedict Magnusson’s Deadlift record of 1,015 lbs anytime in this lifetime. So it is best to just enjoy the process of getting stronger and count your blessings for whatever you have. Very often we get so caught up on our struggles we forget how far we have come. It is important to take a deep breath and just look back on our progress. Even maintaining a lift is progress. You won't be able to set a PR every workout once you've gotten enough experience so even just maintaining a lift is an accomplishment. Genetics will be our limitation but smart hard work is the best we can do to make the most of this journey.

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