Dorian Yates Genetics And Training Style – Which Was More Important?

Dorian Yates Genetics And Training Style – Which Was More Important?

Dorian Yates Work Ethic

Dorian Yates is highly regarded for his extreme work ethic.

He is often referred to as an example of hard work beating talent–or genetics.

Many truly believe that he was just such a hard worker in the gym that it allowed him to overcome genetic deficiencies and grind his way to six consecutive Mr. Olympia titles.

Dorian being so diehard about bodybuilding and having an insane level of work ethic is often said to be the critical factor that separated him from all of his competitors.

In my personal opinion, this couldn't be any further from the truth.

The truth is, Dorian Yates had some of the best genetics in the history of bodybuilding.

Dorian Yates Genetics Are Elite

Dorian's biceps are often brought up as a criticism, and typically form the basis of the entire argument that he had subpar genetics relative to the bodybuilders he edged out.

Dorian inspired thousands that the key to being successful in bodybuilding was not his genetics at all, but his hard work and dedication.

Personally, I think that is extremely misleading and untrue.

Yes, adherence to a strict diet and intelligent training regimen is what will ultimately determine if you grow or not, but the reality is that it is not very difficult to do this, even for the average person.

What is difficult to do (impossible for 99.9% of us) is hyper-respond to performance enhancing drugs, training, and walk around with low levels of Myostatin.

This was Dorian Yates' physique before he started training –

Dorian Yates Young Before Working Out

This was Dorian Yates' physique after only nine months of training.

Dorian Yates After 9 Months Of Training

After only 9 months of training, Dorian was more muscular than 99% of aspiring bodybuilders, including the ones who take absurd amounts of steroids and other PEDs.

I wasn't even close to this, even after half a decade of training.

Even now, after 10 years of working out, I'm probably a similar size to the picture above.

Within a handful of years, Dorian was competing on the Olympia stage against the best in the world.

This is another perfect example of a guy who hyper-responds to training and drugs.

I've talked about this many times before, you'll know after your first cycle if you have Mr. Olympia caliber genetics.

The same holds true for Dorian Yates, and you can see for yourself how he quickly he exploded.

How Hard Is It To ACTUALLY “Train Hard”?

Keep in mind, I'm absolutely not trying to take away from Dorian's work ethic.

He very well appeared to be one of the hardest workers in the gym.

And maybe he even did train harder than the other guys who he competed against.

But the reality is that in bodybuilding, unless you're lazy as hell, it's not very hard to go to failure on an exercise.

It doesn't take that much mental fortitude to go to failure, at least in my experience.

It's also not rocket science to perform an exercise with proper form.

I go to the gym 4 days per week as of now.

I train very hard and perform each exercise until my muscle fails and I literally can't even lift the weight anymore.

That's failure, you can't really go harder than that unless you have a spotter who will assist you through partial reps, and force reps past failure.

I've done it, and I'm sure you've done it as well to squeeze out a bit more muscle activation and breakdown.

But, the reality is that failure is failure, and I'm sure a lot of you guys are in fact training to total failure, because it really is not that mentally taxing to do so unless you're extremely weak minded.

It's one thing if you're actually lazy and just go to the gym to move weights around and go through the motions on each exercise.

Yes, that will make or break someone's progress.

However, the majority of us who take bodybuilding seriously train hard and stress the muscle to the point of muscular failure every single time we walk into the gym.

Is Training Like Dorian Yates The Secret To Being A Top Tier Bodybuilder?

The fact of the matter is that you don't need to unlock some next tier mental state to be able to train hard.

It's not the separating factor between who becomes Mr. Olympia and who doesn't in my opinion.

If you train to failure, stretch and contract the muscle effectively during each exercise with proper form and employ progressive overload you're getting the job done.

If you bring a training partner in to scream at you and help you knock out partial reps past failure for a bit more muscle breakdown, is that what will suddenly pack 100 pounds of muscle on your frame and separate a Mr. Olympia champion from an aspiring amateur who just can't gain the size he needs?

Absolutely not.

Dorian Yates is an example of elite caliber genetics that hyper-respond to the bodybuilding lifestyle.

Was his diet and training immaculate?

Yeah, obviously because those are prerequisites for inducing growth.

You need to break down muscle tissue.

Then you need to eat enough to recover.

But, the hyper-responding to those in unison with the performance enhancing drugs in particular is exactly what happened with Dorian Yates.

As well as every other top tier champion.

Phil Heath before and after Kevin levrone before and after

Some of these top pros are so genetically gifted that they even won high level bodybuilding shows eating complete garbage before they understood the importance of intelligent diet principles.

A Genetic Reality Check

There are a lot of guys out there that truly believe they will become a high caliber bodybuilder one day, even after they have been grinding in the amateur league for years with minimal/non-existent success.

Dorian is often referred to as a source of inspiration, because he is seen as an example of a guy who made it, despite his “bad genetics”.

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.

That's a pretty popular quote, and to some extent it is absolutely true.

In the context of bodybuilding though, hard work still won't beat talent, even when the talent is eating McDonalds and hot dogs every day for their contest prep and probably training with a much lower level of intelligence than you are.

That's the harsh reality of bodybuilding, and I have seen far too often guys who will run themselves into the ground (literally) with absurd amounts of drugs thinking that eventually they will get where they aspire to be, even if they are still placing poorly at national level shows, or even entry level regional shows, for years on end.

I have no idea where this misconception came from that Dorian Yates genetics are anything less than top tier, but it certainly is not the case.

Just looking at Dorian Yates' transformation in nine months is pretty enlightening and is certainly a blow to the ego for many deluded bodybuilders who still aren't even that big after years of blasting several grams of anabolics.

I take it as a reality check though.

It wasn't in the cards for me to go on and try and compete at the highest level and I faced the harsh reality that being a mass monster wasn't in the cards for me, and I accepted it.

I laugh now when I think back to when I was 20 years old and I literally believed that I would be 265 pounds shredded by the time I graduated from University.

Some guys get so deluded and trick themselves into believing that they are just one new exotic drug choice away, or one diet change away, or one training style change away from taking their physique from above average, to top tier 0.01% IFBB pro levels.

The allure of the next cycle being the one that changes the game.

Ah, I remember that feeling fondly.

I can see how this post may come across as contradictory to my most recent post about bodybuilding being a marathon and not a sprint, but the contexts are completely different.

Yes, it takes years to build a quality physique, however, it is very apparent when you have Dorian Yates caliber genetics within a very short span of time, as results that would take the average person 5 years to achieve will take someone like Dorian 6-9 months.

No, you don't need to be like Dorian in an underground dungeon with a guy screaming at you through partials until you puke in order to make gains.

Train hard, train properly, don't get injured, eat enough, and if you're a hyper responder too, then great.

Ride it out and take advantage of it by competing at the highest level by all means.

But, if you just have average genetics, which you more than likely do like me, please don't drive yourself into the ground chasing something that's unachievable.

It is crucial that you give yourself a reality check if this is you, because there's a lot of guys that literally die at 30 to 40 years old chasing this pipe dream.

You'll know very quickly if you are genetic freak, and if the best choice for you would be pushing for that extreme level of competition or not.


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About Derek

After dedicating over 8 years to extreme self-improvement, I have created "More Plates More Dates" as a one stop shop for helping you to get yourself on the right path to the "best you" possible too.


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