This post comes as a response to the discussion following Michael’s post „Muscular Potential and Reality“ at criticalmas.com. For a thorough background on the topic, go check out my original post „Understanding Your Muscular Potential„.
After I had built an Online Calculator which would predict a trainee’s maximum lean body mass, Michael ran his own stats on it and calculated his personal maximum lean body mass. Assuming Michael stays drug-free :), the calculator predicted he could add another 17 lbs of lean muscle mass to this frame.
He is skeptical. And rightly so. He has trained for years and adding 17 lbs of muscle is rather unrealistic. More importantly, he pointed out that the formula used for the online calculator didn’t include enough data points to make a precise prediction for all body types.
Based off Ellington Darden’s work, one of the additional data points that needs to be considered when predicting max lean body mass is the length of muscle bellies. The 3 guys in the image below have different body types. Their genetic potential of max lean body mass is largely determined by their bone structure and their muscle belly lengths.
If you want to know if you are a hard gainer with short muscle bellies, read what Casey Butt has to say on the topic:
„You can make a self-assessment of your muscle belly lengths by checking to see if you have longer tendons attaching your muscles to the bones than the average trainee of your height. In other words, do you have big gaps between the ends of your muscles and the bones to which they attach? If you do, then you have short muscle bellies in the muscles in question.“
If you have big gaps between the ends of your muscles, you are likely an ectomorph and will not achieve the max lean body mass that trainees with normal genetics can expect to achieve.
Upon Skyler Tanner‚s suggestion, I built an online calculator around the formula Casey Butt uses to predict max lean body mass in hard gainers/ectomorphs. This should be helpful to all those ectomorphs who are unwilling to accept their genetics and still dream about becoming a huge bodybuilding monster. I am sorry to say it: stop dreaming, and be realistic. Compared to the general public, as an ectomorph you will still be a beast if you train consistenly hard for long enough.