Why don't chimps LOOK strong?

so if chimps are so much stronger than humans why don’t they look like big burly strongmen? if strong humans LOOK strong… like the guys who chuck kegs around, then why aren’t chimps big and burly?


Because they aren’t built the same way as humans; they can carry bigger muscles (proportionately) without looking ripped because it’s all attached differently.

This also comes into play when you compare leverage: Chimp muscles have more leverage, so they’re effectively stronger than humans pound for pound.

Here’s a post where Blake goes into more detail.

Physical muscular strength is not the same as bulk (hypertrophy). Compare gymnasts to bodybuilders. Gymnasts are phenomenally strong per bodyweight–much stronger than bodybuilders, and easily comparable to Olympic weightlifters–but they have low muscle bulk because they train for a wide range of muscular motion and endurance rather than primary recruitment of fast twitch fibers. While bodybuilders are often bulging out of their clothing, most gymnasts don’t look physically impressive (to the untrained eye) in normal clothes.

It is also true that the muscular composition of chimpanzee (and other primates) is somewhat different from Homo, but fundamentally, chimps and orangutans don’t look big because their muscles don’t bulk, despite the superhuman
strength they can demonstrate.


This can in humans too. Sometimes very strong people look far less strong than they are because their muscles have longer “bellies”–i.e., the “red meat” part of the muscle. In other words, there’s less tendon and more meat, as it were. People gifted with this condition are less apt to have arms and legs that appear knotty and bulging with muscle.

It’s because of the hair. Without it, they look like bodybuilders. How’d you like to be alone in a cage with one of these guys?



thirdname called it. No way you’d say this guy doesn’t look swole.

Can’t tell if you two guys are joking but those images all look like pensioners.

Like George Burns with the physique of Paul Hamm. Those guys could tear your arm off and hand it back to you tied in a knot.


Kind of the point isn’t it? They don’t work out per se, they’re old enough to be hairless and the one has a pot belly and they look like that. Imagine them in their prime.

I always thought chimps look strong.

Their strength is still disproportionate compared to their weight, if you went by human standards.
I wonder if it’s our running muscles that account for the difference.

I did not know chimps became so hairless as they got old. That can’t be so good for their survival out in the wild.

thirdname was awful quick with pictures of naked chimps. Better keep an eye on him…

Their hair thins but they do not become totally hairless. I believe those hairless chimps have skin diseases or medical issues.

I think you have it exactly backwards. Long muscle bellies are just what bodybuilders hope for, since it makes for a bulgy physique. Think of the biceps, for instance. With a long muscle belly there is more meat in there to squeeze up and bulge when the arm curls and the muscle contracts, making a bigger hump. A person with short muscle bellies will not have similarly large, bulgy biceps, no matter how hard she trains, because there is more ligament and less meat there, and the tendons don’t add to the bulge but take up the space of bulgeable muscle instead.

Personally I think they look more like refugees from Mordor. :eek:

I was wondering who might be given the awful job of shaving chimps (and why that would even be a job).

I would think it would be an adventure.

Just imagine what they would look like if they hit the gym and ate lots of protein. They’re pretty strong just hanging out.

Have you ever been up close and personal with an adult chimp? They look damn strong. The few times I have been close they scared the crap out of me. I was once 12 inches away from a 40 year old male chimp who looked like a short hairy linebacker.

Most of the chimps on TV or in movies are actually juveniles (which are still damn strong but perhaps not quite as bulky looking). Once they hit puberty they are too dangerous to work with.

It was answered earlier on. It’s about leverage. Their tendons tie further up on their bones so they have a much larger moment arms than humans.

What’s that? :confused: