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  1. #1
    Registered User misstransformer's Avatar
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    Exclamation Changing Muscle Shape: Is this possible?

    I know size and strength of a muscle can be changed. However, can the shape of muscles be changed, or is that genetically determined, and we can only decrease excess fat to reveal true shape? I'm not sure if I'm wording this question correctly, so please let me know if I should provide more details. Thanks.
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    From what I have learned, and anyone correct me if I am wrong, muscle shape is deterimined by genetics. You can lose the fat over them to show their shape, and make them look more defined. I would think that the amount of fat as well as how it is placed over them would also determine how the overall appearance of how said body part looked. And that I would also venture to say would be determined by genetics.
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    Genetics.

    Alltho if you cut the muscle with a knife you are gonna have a slightly different shape , guaranted
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    Good question and very Interesting...b/c I have the longest calve muscles in the world and always wondered why that is. My calves measure 14 to 14.5 inches on their own, without training them....so its genetics. Thought it was from playing soccer.

    Is the way you store fat also genetic and if so, does that also mean that you can't change where you store fat? I know you can lean out, but will you still store more fat in the areas you are genetically prone to store them in?
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    well ... you can a little bit ... but not much ...

    look at a biceps ... two muscles ... tricep has three,
    chest, shoulders and back have multiple muscles and
    attachments ...

    so you can work to 'isolate' different parts of 'chest'
    to develop its look a little, but not so much that it will
    be drastically different in the final result ...

    and what many bodybuilders do learn is how to pose
    to present strengths and minimize weak areas as well.
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    Originally Posted by misstransformer View Post
    I know size and strength of a muscle can be changed. However, can the shape of muscles be changed, or is that genetically determined, and we can only decrease excess fat to reveal true shape? I'm not sure if I'm wording this question correctly, so please let me know if I should provide more details. Thanks.
    They can definitely be shaped.

    Via (technique)

    Exercise angle
    Exercise resistance curve
    Rep range
    Speed of movement/tension applied
    Grip width/stance

    The idea that muscles simple contract from point a to b as a whole has been proven incorrect. Even past the point of "innervations" (i.e. upper and lower pecs..there is more to it)

    Of course, like any personal attribute, like bodyfat or mathematical ability, ability to suntan...whatever...every individual has genetic predispositions and there is an finite ability to change...but it can be done. You also aren't going to get radical changes.

    Here is a great article on it. I have more info on the subject but most peoples eyes just glaze over, so I'll just post the one link:

    http://www.musclewithattitude.com/re....do?id=1327855

    A caveat..."shape" in this case means where the muscle IS. I don't believe it is possible to lengthen muscle bellies.
    Last edited by Defiant1; 07-21-2007 at 11:34 AM.
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  7. #7
    Registered User misstransformer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Defiant1 View Post
    They can definitely be shaped.

    Via (technique)

    Exercise angle
    Exercise resistance curve
    Rep range
    Speed of movement/tension applied
    Grip width/stance

    The idea that muscles simple contract from point a to b as a whole has been proven incorrect. Even past the point of "innervations" (i.e. upper and lower pecs..there is more to it)

    Of course, like any personal attribute, like bodyfat or mathematical ability, ability to suntan...whatever...every individual has genetic predispositions and there is an finite ability to change...but it can be done. You also aren't going to get radical changes.

    Here is a great article on it. I have more info on the subject but most peoples eyes just glaze over, so I'll just post the one link:

    http://www.musclewithattitude.com/re....do?id=1327855

    A caveat..."shape" in this case means where the muscle IS. I don't believe it is possible to lengthen muscle bellies.
    Thanks for this information Defiant1. It's getting late here, so I'll visit the website you recommended tomorrow, and post questions later if I have any. I'm looking forward to it.
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  8. #8
    Registered User misstransformer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bgnb View Post
    well ... you can a little bit ... but not much ...

    look at a biceps ... two muscles ... tricep has three,
    chest, shoulders and back have multiple muscles and
    attachments ...

    so you can work to 'isolate' different parts of 'chest'
    to develop its look a little, but not so much that it will
    be drastically different in the final result ...

    and what many bodybuilders do learn is how to pose
    to present strengths and minimize weak areas as well.
    Thank you Bgnb, Buildking, and Lckymi for the feedback, concerning muscle shape and genetics. I appreciate it.
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  9. #9
    Registered User misstransformer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mcampana View Post
    Good question and very Interesting...b/c I have the longest calve muscles in the world and always wondered why that is. My calves measure 14 to 14.5 inches on their own, without training them....so its genetics. Thought it was from playing soccer.

    Is the way you store fat also genetic and if so, does that also mean that you can't change where you store fat? I know you can lean out, but will you still store more fat in the areas you are genetically prone to store them in?
    Hey Mcampana, how do you measure the exact length of your calves? I want to compare yours to mine, so I'll know how much longer they are. I hope that's not a silly question. Concerning genetics and fat storage, my body sure does not discriminate, because I gain fat all over. lol
    Last edited by misstransformer; 07-24-2007 at 06:30 AM.
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    Crazy as always... IronCamp's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by misstransformer View Post
    Hey Mcampana, how do you measure the exact length of your calves? I want to compare yours to mine, so I'll know how much longer they are. I hope that's not a silly question. Concerning genetics and fat storage, my body sure does not discriminate, because I gain fat all over. lol
    I've never measured them, but I notice how low down the bottom of the muscle reaches. The bottom of the muscle hits about 3/4 of the way down. When I see other ladies calves, I notice the bottom hits about midway down or higher.
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  11. #11
    Registered User Firepower's Avatar
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    I think that the overall look and shape of a muscle is determined by a number of things:
    1) number of heads of the muscle
    2) the muscle fiber makeup
    3) the origin and insertion points of the muscle
    4) amount of fat covering the muscle
    5) the potential for muscle hypertrophy

    There are some things that can’t be changed due to your genetic predisposition, such as your muscle fiber makeup (slow-twitch to fast-twitch ratio), the origin and insertion points of your muscles (attachments). Nor can you change basic human anatomy, such as the number of heads of the muscle.

    But, I agree with D1 and bgnb. A variable that you can change and control is HOW you workout (exercise selection, weight/intensity, reps, sets, rest periods, tempo/tut, etc.). You can target certain heads of a muscle and you can target your muscles from different angles. Exercise selection and feet and hand/grip placement will place emphasis on certain parts of the muscle.

    I think the potential for muscle growth plays a role in how the muscle will look. Even though you can't change your muscle fiber makeup, you can train to reach your genetic limits. It'll take some experimenting and some time to figure out what your fiber type is in that muscle. But once you figure it out, you'll know when to lift heavy to target the fast-twitch vs. lift light to target the slow-twitch. By targeting your muscles differently and by growing your muscles (to your genetic limits), you can make your muscles look and feel full.
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  12. #12
    Registered User misstransformer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mcampana View Post
    I've never measured them, but I notice how low down the bottom of the muscle reaches. The bottom of the muscle hits about 3/4 of the way down. When I see other ladies calves, I notice the bottom hits about midway down or higher.
    Hey Mcampana, how did you arrive at 14 inches? Was that an estimate of the length running from the back of your knee to the lower half of the calf? If so, mine looks pretty short(but then I have short legs too..lol).
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  13. #13
    Registered User misstransformer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Firepower View Post
    I think that the overall look and shape of a muscle is determined by a number of things:
    1) number of heads of the muscle
    2) the muscle fiber makeup
    3) the origin and insertion points of the muscle
    4) amount of fat covering the muscle
    5) the potential for muscle hypertrophy

    There are some things that can?t be changed due to your genetic predisposition, such as your muscle fiber makeup (slow-twitch to fast-twitch ratio), the origin and insertion points of your muscles (attachments). Nor can you change basic human anatomy, such as the number of heads of the muscle.

    But, I agree with D1 and bgnb. A variable that you can change and control is HOW you workout (exercise selection, weight/intensity, reps, sets, rest periods, tempo/tut, etc.). You can target certain heads of a muscle and you can target your muscles from different angles. Exercise selection and feet and hand/grip placement will place emphasis on certain parts of the muscle.

    I think the potential for muscle growth plays a role in how the muscle will look. Even though you can't change your muscle fiber makeup, you can train to reach your genetic limits. It'll take some experimenting and some time to figure out what your fiber type is in that muscle. But once you figure it out, you'll know when to lift heavy to target the fast-twitch vs. lift light to target the slow-twitch. By targeting your muscles differently and by growing your muscles (to your genetic limits), you can make your muscles look and feel full.
    Thanks for this feedback Firepower. Now I'll have to read up on the fast twitch, slow twitch, idea. I've got lots to learn.
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    Crazy as always... IronCamp's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by misstransformer View Post
    Hey Mcampana, how did you arrive at 14 inches? Was that an estimate of the length running from the back of your knee to the lower half of the calf? If so, mine looks pretty short(but then I have short legs too..lol).
    14 inches is the size, not the length...haven't measured the length, but, like I said, they come down to at least 3/4 of the way down.
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    Registered User misstransformer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mcampana View Post
    14 inches is the size, not the length...haven't measured the length, but, like I said, they come down to at least 3/4 of the way down.
    Oh..ok. When you said you had the longest calve muscles, and then stated 14 inches, I was confused. I'm over here wondering...how do you measure the length. lol So 14 inches is the width around your calve muscles? If so, I gotcha. Mine are between 17-18 inches. I plan to re-take all my measurements this weekend.
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