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Thread: Aspect ratio and strength limits

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    Default Aspect ratio and strength limits

    Written some time ago, I cannot help but admire this fellows knowledge, this following diatribe explains a few things as to why many injuries happen over time.

    The man for whom the so-called “Scott Curl” was named had unusually large arms, and he also had unusually long biceps muscles; and he initially believed that his biceps shape and size was a result of performing curls in the fashion provided by a Scott curling bench, but later realized that his biceps shape and size was a result of a genetic factor rather than a result of his style of exercise.
    The differences in the relative length of the muscle bellies and related tendons that are illustrated by the above pictures should be obvious, and thus it is not as easy to evaluate this factor in other muscles. What determines the absolute limit of muscular size? Aspect ratio.
    Aspect ratio is the relationship between length and width.

    In effect, the shape of something. An aspect ratio of 2 to 1 would mean, in the case of a muscle, that the length of the muscle was twice as great as its width. Which, in turn, would mean that its shape would be relatively long and narrow. If, then, the size of the muscle was increased in response to exercise, the aspect ratio (shape) of the muscle would change.

    The muscle's length would remain unchanged, while its width would be increased. If, later, the aspect ratio became 1 to 1, the width and length of the muscle would be equal. But something apart from the shape of the muscle would also change: the “angle of pull” would change. Only the part of a muscle that is located on the exact centerline of the muscle is pulling in exactly the right direction; while any part of the muscle that is above or below, or to either side of, the exact centerline will not be pulling in the same direction.
    Thus part of the muscle will not be as effective as another part of the same muscle. The greater the increase in the width of the muscle, the greater the chance in the angle of pull; and, eventually, a point will be reached where the angle of pull or part of the muscle has changed to such a degree that it is no longer functional. Any increase in the width of such a muscle would produce added force of contraction that would be entirely wasted. So there is a limit to just how wide a muscle can be; a limit dictated by aspect ratio. Nobody knows just what the maximum possible aspect ratio for a muscle is, but it is obvious that such a limitation exists. And it is also obvious that if a muscle is longer than average, then its potential maximum width is increased in direct proportion to its unusual length. But the potential cross-section of the muscle does not increase in direct proportion; in fact, the resulting increase in muscular cross-section will be much greater than might be expected. If the muscles length is twice as great as average, this means that its maximum width is also twice as great as average, but that its maximum cross-section is four times as great as average, and that its maximum “mass” (or overall size) is eight times as great as average. Thus it follows that having muscles that are even slightly longer than average gives you the potential of greatly increased muscular size. If, for example, the maximum possible aspect ratio of a muscle was 1 to 1, and if the muscle belly was four inches long, this would mean that the maximum possible width of the muscle would be four inches; and if the muscle was a square in cross-section, and for calculation purposes we can treat it as such without introducing any error, then the cross-section maximum would be 16 square inches (four by four). But if, instead, the muscle was twice as long, eight inches in length, then maximum possible width would also be eight inches; but the cross-section would then be 64 square inches (eight by eight), which means that an increase in length of 100 percent produced an increase in cross-section of 300 percent; and since the larger muscle is also twice as long, this means that the larger muscle would be eight times as large overall as the smaller muscle. But this larger muscle would not be eight times as strong as the smaller muscle, nor even four times as strong; stronger, yes, but not stronger in proportion to the increase in size.
    Would not be stronger in proportion to size increase because of the unavoidable changes in the angle of pull of a large part of the larger muscle. The actual mass of his muscles in the case of a man like Sergio Oliva must be seen to be appreciated, pictures simply do not do him justice; but the potential for such mass of muscular tissue resulted from genetic factors that cannot be changed. Some can, some cannot.


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    About twenty years ago, approximately three years after the introduction of the first Nautilus machine, Joe Weider published a series of articles that were nothing short of savage attacks against me, my products and my published statements; he apparently saw me as some kind of a threat to his commercial interests. Most of the statements made in those articles were totally untrue, and many of them were the opposite of the truth; nevertheless, some of his statements were believed by many people, and a few of them are still believed by some people. Some of these false statements are still being repeated in print by other writers; the most common one being that large muscular size and high levels of strength cannot be produced by training with exercise machines, that only barbells can produce great size or strength. As I have stated in earlier articles in this series, I am certainly not opposed to barbell training; in my opinion, the barbell was practically a miracle when compared to an earlier tool intended for the same purposes, could produce results that were utterly impossible to produce with any earlier form of exercise. But it does not follow that the barbell is a “perfect” tool for its intended purposes; nor does it follow that it is the “best” tool for its intended purposes. Nautilus machines were intended to be nothing more nor less than “improved barbells,” were meant to solve some of the problems that are unavoidable when training is performed with a barbell. And they did solve many of these earlier problems. Much later improvements now incorporated into our current line of MedX exercise machines solved even more of these problems. Apart from the skill required to compete in weightlifting contests, any result that can be produced by a barbell can be produced with an exercise machine; with much greater convenience, greater safety, and usually with a lot less time devoted to the workouts. And, in a number of important instances, results can be produced with exercise machines that are impossible to produce with a barbell.


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    gimme the tl;dr version


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    Shut up Bozo


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    This goosey fellow is nasty.luckily I've seen a vid of him struggling with 50 kilos.


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    But it was a very heavy 50kg though


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    Not all 50kg are equal you know
    Tubby must have one hell of a neck lugging that thick noggin around



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    And grazed knuckles


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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkoz View Post
    Not all 50kg are equal you know
    Tubby must have one hell of a neck lugging that thick noggin around
    Be honest,it's what you bench.and let's talk about noggins shall we,your cranium is that large,you couldn't even fit it in your avatar


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    Quote Originally Posted by Goosey View Post
    And grazed knuckles
    Now now it's not me asserting myself like an impounded gorilla,telling people to shut up.your 5000 word posts are long winded and pointless,perhaps you should stfu


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