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Skeletal muscle mass in human athletes: What is the upper limit?

Do you watch bodybuilding videos?To me, they're like a guilty pleasure. Zero learning, tons of entert

Bodybuilding Science Review

February 3 · Issue #45 · View online

Do you watch bodybuilding videos?

To me, they’re like a guilty pleasure. Zero learning, tons of entertainment. One of my favourite channel is Nick’s Strength and Power:

Speaking of bodybuilding, as I’m sure you know, it’s pretty safe to say that all pro bb'ers use steroids. But the sad thing is, lots of “natural” bodybuilders also user steroids.

One of the best ways to know if someone is using is to calculate their fat-free mass index (FFMI). Here’s an online calculator for that. Any result above 25 is very suspicious.

Recently, new studies challenged this upper limit (see the first 2 studies below). I’ve looked into those, and honestly, I still stand by the old max FFMI = 25 rule, with the rare exception going up to 26-27.

You’re welcome to read those and make up your own mind.

Thanks for reading this far.

Your friend in science-based bodybuilding,

Carl Juneau, PhD

Skeletal muscle mass in human athletes: What is the upper limit? - Abe - 2018 - American Journal of Human Biology - Wiley Online Library
Fat-Free Mass Index in NCAA Division I and II Collegiate American Football Players. - PubMed - NCBI
Changes in exercises are more effective than in loading schemes to improve muscle strength. - PubMed - NCBI
Training Volume, Not Frequency, Indicative of Maximal Strength Adaptations to Resistance Training. - PubMed - NCBI
Effects of Whey, Soy or Leucine Supplementation with 12 Weeks of Resistance Training on Strength, Body Composition, and Skeletal Muscle and Adipose... - PubMed - NCBI
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