I’m not sure if all of my blog readers are aware of this, but I have an identical twin brother named Joel. We’re clones. Growing up, we were often mistaken for albino Ethiopians (no disrespect intended, but during that era there was a ton of footage on the news showing malnourished Ethiopians and people would often tell my Mom that we looked like we were from Ethiopia). This is me as a kid. What’s up with the posture?
So you can see why I started lifting weights when I was fifteen years old. Despite my constant attempts to get my brother on a workout regimen, he didn’t start lifting until he was twenty-one years old. I definitely had a head-start on him, which exposes some holes in my “experiment.”
Since I started lifting, I’ve always been a little bit bigger than my brother. At times I’ve been a lot bigger. There was one point when we both weighed the same; around 230 lbs. There was another time when I had nearly 50 lbs on him when I let my weight go in an attempt to get my squat, bench, and deadlift up as high as possible. Needless to say, although I got really strong, the fat face just wasn’t working out for me. Here’s a pic from that time. What’s up with the hair?
Right now I weigh 235 lbs and Joel weighs 210 lbs. So currently, I have twenty-five pounds on him. This is what we look like more recently.
This is the 5-day body part split routine that Joel uses:
Monday – Chest
Tuesday – Back
Wednesday – Legs
Thursday – Shoulders
Friday – Arms
This is the 4-day lower/upper split routine that I use:
Monday – Lower Body
Tuesday – Upper Body
Thursday – Lower Body
Friday – Upper Body
Right now I can bench around 60 lbs more than him, squat around 70 lbs more than him, and deadlift around 220 lbs more than him.
Get to the Point Bret! Why Does Any of This Matter?
The other day we were hanging out and it occurred to me that my brother’s arms might be bigger than mine. I was a little taken back because my arms have always been bigger than his. This got me thinking…he does more arm isolation training than I do, but I do a lot more lower body training than him, especially in the form of deadlifts and hip thrusts.
A few nights ago, I went over to my brother’s house and took some measurements. Here were the results:
Luckily, as you can see, my arms are still bigger than his. It’s interesting to note that although my arms are only an inch bigger than his (cold) and my chest is only three inches bigger than his (cold), they expand to two inches bigger and four inches bigger, respectively, when flexed.
The most dramatic difference, however, is in our hips. I have five more inches around my hips than Joel, which demonstrates how much more glute mass I have on him. This makes perfect sense when you break it down. Here are the facts:
1. Joel’s goals are to just stay healthy and relatively lean
2. My goals are to keep getting stronger and more muscular over time
3. Joel does legs once per week
4. I do legs twice per week
5. Joel does pretty much the same workout week in, week out
6. I utilize progressive overload and am always trying to get stronger over time
7. Joel doesn’t do any specialized glute work
8. I do perform specialized glute work in the form of hip thrusts, barbell glute bridges, band seated abduction, and band hip rotations.
Morals of The Story
• Once you’ve accumulated your typical “beginner gains,” if you want to put an inch on your arms, you might have to gain around 25 pounds in order to do so.
• A lower/upper split routine may be more effective in putting on mass than a bodypart split routine for natural lifters.
• Progressive overload on basic compound lifts is critical for continuous gains in hypertrophy.
• The difference between the results of a regular guy who likes to lift but is rather complacent versus an obsessed meat-head/strength coach over a decade or so of training equates to 25 lbs of extra muscle, an extra inch around the arms, an extra three inches around the chest, an extra inch and a half around the thigh, and an extra five inches around the hips.
• With sound training, it is certainly possible to defy genetics and go from “Skinny Geek” to “Total Badass.” Okay, maybe “Not-So-Skinny Geek” is more appropriate.
• My Glute Shit Works!