The Road To Muscle Maturity

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The Perfect body wasn’t built in a day.

For any of you paying attention you’d notice that most top flight pro bodybuilders are between the ages of thirty and forty years old. If you consider most other athletic competitions you’d see that competing as a pro into your thirties and forties is truly a rarity. Considering boxing or football for example. When’s the last time you’ve seen a forty year old running back? What boxer, besides the enigma Bernard Hopkins, has dominated the competition after the age of forty? You could probably count them on one hand, if that.

So what makes bodybuilding different? The answer’s simple. Muscle maturity. Unlike other sporting endeavors that focus mostly on fast twitch motions, joint functionality, and explosive movements, bodybuilding is about putting your muscles through years of intense training until they break down and mature to a level that will show increased definition and deep striations.

Muscle maturity is as much about your age as it is about the work you put into building your body. If you take a look at some young bodybuilders in comparison to their older counterparts, you’ll notice that while they may both have size, may both be shredded, the older bodybuilder will have even more intricate striations in their muscles. Like training your jab thousands of times until perfecting it, so too must a bodybuilder train all their muscle groups through years and years of hard work. Maybe some young bodybuilders will have a chance to break into the top ten, but to an expert judge the difference between the muscle definition of a competitor in their twenties and another in their thirties will be evident. Their bodies haven’t been put through enough hell to reach that higher level of a Phil Heath or Kai Greene, both men in their mid to upper thirties.

So if you’re just starting out and hope to look like an Olympia champion right out of the gate, we’ve got some bad news for you. Not gonna happen. But bodybuilding is about dedication. If you want to be a champ or at least look like one, you’re gonna have to pay those dues.

What are your thoughts on muscle maturity? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Managing editor of Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. He has been writing about bodybuilding, combat sports, and strength sports for over 8 years. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.