Can you change muscle shape

Many bodybuilders say that different parts of muscles are affected by different types of exercises. Still, physiologists strongly disagree with that and claim that the shape of the muscle is determined solely by the genetics. Whom should we believe?


Per Tesch, a Swedish scientist, performed a research in the 1990’s and used MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to look which muscles are used for different exercises. The participating scientists also used electromyography (EMG) to see what the electrical activity is in the muscles
during the exercises. What they saw was that a change in the direction of the hand/feet, change in the position of the hand or in the width of the grip led to a different region of the target muscle being worked.

A group of Australian scientists have conducted a research of the effects of different grips and angles of the benches on the activity of the chest muscles. What they noted what that a change in the width of the grip of in the angle of the bench targeted a different part of the target muscle.

Still, even though it may be possible to alter the shape of the muscle, that’s not an unlimited process. For example, you may have a large biceps peak but short muscle belly and larger tendons. And you cannot alter the length of the muscle bellies and the tendons by working out.
Or, as another example, if you have high calves but short muscle belly and long Achilles tendon, you cannot make your calves much bigger than they are because you cannot affect the length of the muscle bellies and the Achilles tendon through training.


The potential size and shape of your muscles is largely dependent on your genes. But this does mean that you can do something to make your muscles as large as potentially possible – and this something is using various exercises which target different parts of the muscle, variating among different bench angles and grip widths.


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