The effects of weight training on body structure has been a subject much bandied about in bodybuilding circles for the past three decades. These effects are the direct concern of this article, not the physiology of exercise, per se, or health related aspects. Modern physical culture has, from its earliest phases (starting roughly in the late 1940’s with the appearance of Steve Reeves) determined that the ideal male physique should sport wide shoulders, latissimus dorsi sweeping all the way down to a small and muscular waist and narrow hips, full thigh muscles, and large, diamond-shaped calves. Accordingly, bodybuilders have been urged all along to train in such a fashion as to mold their physiques along these lines.
The direction of training instruction found in the the muscle magazines and books has been changing in a continuum, from only tangential references to natural potential, to an increased awareness of this factor in connection with muscular development, to today’s strong emphasis on natural ability as a frame of reference by which the trainee must guide his bodybuilding efforts. The bodybuilding magazines of the 1950’s, particularly the more commercially-biased ones, pretty much pushed the hereditary factor aside, while emphasising the technique of specialization as a way of overcoming structural deficiencies.