Palumboism occurs when the muscles on the sides of the abdomen, also known as your oblique muscles, thicken and make it difficult for a bodybuilder to hold in their stomach, or rectus abdominis muscles.

Palumboism is also referred to as:

  • steroid or roid gut
  • human growth hormone or HGH gut
  • HGH bloat
  • bubble gut
  • insulin gut
  • muscle gut
  • bodybuilder belly

This condition is named after Dave Palumbo. He was the first bodybuilder to display a stomach that appeared unnaturally bloated in proportion to his chest.

Keep reading to learn more about this condition, why it occurs, and how to treat and prevent it.

A rare condition, Palumboism appears to only affect bodybuilders, especially during the bodybuilding competition trend for massive muscularity in the 1990s and 2000s.

According to Health Research Policy, the contributing factors for Palumboism are likely a combination of a rigorous regimen of bodybuilding training combined with:

There are no medical studies on Palumboism, so most of the data available is based on anecdotal evidence.

The lack of clinical studies on Palumboism means that there’s no recommended treatment.

Logic suggests that the first step for addressing Palumboism is giving your body a rest from overexertion and stopping the use of unnatural additions, such as steroids, HGH, and insulin.

The next step would be to consult with a doctor who specializes in muscular conditions experienced by athletes who may have misused performance-enhancing substances, such as steroids.

If you’re a bodybuilder or planning to train for bodybuilding, you should be able to avoid Palumboism by avoiding:

  • steroids and HGH
  • nonmedically prescribed insulin shots
  • pushing your body beyond its limits

Mild to potentially fatal consequences may result from the misuse of appearance- and performance-enhancing drugs (APEDs). These include:

Many consequences can be reversed by stopping the use of these drugs. Other effects may be semi-permanent or permanent.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, health consequences of misusing anabolic steroids may include:

  • cardiovascular system problems, such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, artery damage, and stroke
  • liver problems, such as tumors and peliosis hepatis
  • skin problems, such as severe acne, cysts, and jaundice
  • hormonal system problems for males, such as testicle shrinking, decreased sperm production, male-pattern baldness, and enlarged breasts
  • hormonal system problems for females, such as decreased breast size, excessive body hair, coarse skin, and male pattern baldness
  • psychiatric problems, such as aggression, delusions, and mania

Dave “Jumbo” Palumbo is a retired bodybuilder who used to compete on a national level. His nickname, Jumbo, reflected his competition weight of close to 300 pounds. He competed from 1995 to 2004 but never turned pro.

Dave Palumbo is best known as the founder of the supplement company Species Nutrition and RXmuscle, an online magazine for bodybuilders.

Palumboism, named after bodybuilder Dave Palumbo, is a rare condition that results in a bodybuilder’s abdomen appearing unnaturally round, extended, and oversized in proportion to their chest.

Based on anecdotal evidence, it’s widely believed that Palumboism is caused by a combination of:

  • rigorous bodybuilding training
  • high calorie, high carb diet
  • use of human growth hormone (HGH)
  • insulin use