For decades the western world has been obsessed with physical aesthetics. Fueled by the explosion of bodybuilding in the early 1970s and documentaries like “Pumping Iron,” the desire to enhance physical appearance by massive hypertrophy became an obsession for some athletes and non-athletes. Body building magazines, high protein diets, and strength training programs were standard practices for enthusiasts. When I was growing up a common question among my buddies at the gym was “How much do you bench press?” It’s still a good question, although the focus has shifted toward development of abdominal muscles. All this leads me to wonder: how did training to enhance looking good without a shirt, or to have a great derrière for yoga pants, become intertwined with athletic performance? Does the ability to bench-press more than double your body weight actually provide explosive functional strength? Do coveted “washboard abs” determine speed and quickness? Will that derrière help hold a difficult pose? Let’s examine scientific facts to answer these questions.