Although most men cringe at the thought of being on stage at a bodybuilding competition, you don't have to be this gargantuan monster to compete. The key to natural bodybuilding is having good proportions, symmetry, muscularity and conditioning. Most important though, is conditioning.
The most important elements for you are getting down to single-digits body fat 9% or less (lower the better) and perfecting your mandatory poses and having some help with the competition tanning product application. Once you have some decent muscle on your body the most important 2 elements for you are conditioning and posing.
Ultimately it is genetics that will place a limit on your progress, but everyone is different and has a different spread between the fast twitch (white muscle) fibers and the slow twitch (red muscle) fibers. The result is that people vary in the rate at which they gain strength. Genetics exerts a strong influence on the ability to gain strength, but a good training program can allow you to reach your capacity within a genetically-determined "performance envelope".
Although this may sound like bad news if you do not have the genetic predisposition of a champion it does not mean you cannot put on muscle. "All champion bodybuilders have mesomorphic characteristics. If they didn't, they could not have made it to the championship level.
Someone who is largely ectomorphic or endomorphic does not have the genetic makeup to become a champion bodybuilder. He can certainly improve his physique and, in some cases, dramatically transform his body.
Even if one attains maximizing muscle hypertrophy (as big as you can genetically get), this is only half the battle. They still have to be able to nail conditioning, which in a nutshell is the capability to shred body fat to levels near 3-5%. So the question becomes, which approach do you go for? Size or conditioning?
What is expected is that one gets as close to looking like an anatomy chart as possible. This is the most critical element in doing well in a bodybuilding show, particularly as a novice and even as an open competitor. Also, be aware that the amount of muscle one can pack onto a frame is determined by height and genetics.
Height influences the amount of muscle fibers and length of muscle one has. The longer the muscle, the more potential for growth. Taller individuals have an advantage in that they have more muscle available to hypertrophy.
The shorter an individual, the less muscle is available to hypertrophy. And if we are talking about short stocky bodybuilders, this is more of an illusion because short guys will typically look more compact. And also, if bodyweight is too high for a certain height (5'8" 180-200 lb of pure muscle), either this person is the cream of the crop genetically or pharmaceutical assistance is evident.
Bodybuilder physiques are definitely influenced by body types as well. Mesomorphs have a clear advantage in competition in terms of muscle denseness and size, ectomorphs do as well in terms of conditioning and low body fat levels, endomorphs have it a little more difficult because although they can pack good muscle size, the capability to show this muscle with low body fat levels is difficult.
However, keep in mind that most people are neither 100% one, they are typically a combination of them. Nonetheless, the key to maximizing one's potential is to train as needed for your body type to first of all, be able to come to a contest well-conditioned state before getting on stage.
Next would be to establish proportions that are very aesthetic for your body type. For more massive bodybuilders, hitting poses that show mass and if arms are impressive enough, hitting straight arm poses would be to your advantage.
For smaller bodybuilders, staying compact and perhaps showing the disappearing waist would be to your advantage. This means the ability to turn your torso on various poses making your waist appear smaller. This adds a big advantage to your proportions by making your upper and lower body appear bigger.
Good proportions entails having a wide back (strong lats) and small waist (great conditioning), having the biceps be equally as big as the calves and having all muscle groups developed. Symmetry involves having both sides (i.e. right and left arm) being as close to equal as possible. Muscularity involves having striated and dense muscles.
For more information go to The Secrets to Natural Bodybuilding Training
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