I have been spending a lot of time looking into muscle research lately, and it has been frustrating. For one, some of the research or speculation doesn’t match up with the practices of bodybuilders. This is troublesome for a few reasons.
Professional bodybuilders are the result of great genetics, training, and often performance-enhancing drugs. Their tremendous muscle is often credited to the genetics and drugs, while the training methods are often overlooked. But their training does produce results, and they are constantly experimenting to produce more and more muscle. Also, there is obviously an incentive for each individual bodybuilder to find better training methods. Given two bodybuilders who both have great genetics and access to drugs, the one who finds better training methods will produce more muscle.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have scientists or pundits who try to preach about building muscle. Yet some of these people don’t possess much muscle mass themselves. My thinking is, if you have the secret to building muscle, then let’s see it. Quit telling me about it and show me the results. Not everyone has great genetics and can become huge, but if a training method works it should be able to add muscle to most people with varying degrees of success.
One problem with all this is that bodybuilders often train by "feel", and this can be hard to translate into training instructions. Some people may have "figured out" intuitively how to build muscle, but are not able to communicate specifically how it works.
For anyone who has a grand theory about how to build muscle, this theory must also be able to explain how the top bodybuilding champions have built muscle. To this end, I think the people over at "X-Rep" are trying to do just that. They seek to integrate their training theories with how top pros actually train. They haven’t figured it all out yet, but I think they’re off to a great start.