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  1. #1
    Registered User Jon Harris's Avatar
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    Is lifting harder for tall people?

    Today I was working out and was doing dumbbell curls, and this guy next to me started talking to me while I was working out saying how much harder it must be for tall people to lift due to our extremely large range of motion. The guy looked pretty fit, maybe a short range goal for someone like me, but I am questioning the logic behind his statement. No matter how tall you are, wouldn't the range of motion be proportional to your height unless you had abnormally long arms/legs/whatever? That makes sense to me, but I have been working out for 6 months and am still learning. Even though this topic doesn't effect what/how I lift.
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  2. #2
    Yep, vegetarian. MrSinister's Avatar
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    if strength was proportional to height then yes it would all be fair.. however its almost the opposite in real life, most tall people are lanky and skinny, yes they have longer range of motion but dont have the extra muscle mass or strength to compensate...
    i can argue that point all day, what i refuse to get into is using it as an excuse, when people bring up that crap i just turn off. My limbs are too long, my genetics suck, my lats insert too high, my calfs insert too high...


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    no

    their muscles are longer, which allows for greater lbm, and overall muscle size/strength. Everything is relative. If it were true, then all the world's strongest men, would also be the shortest...
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    Originally Posted by Jon Harris View Post
    Today I was working out and was doing dumbbell curls, and this guy next to me started talking to me while I was working out saying how much harder it must be for tall people to lift due to our extremely large range of motion. The guy looked pretty fit, maybe a short range goal for someone like me, but I am questioning the logic behind his statement. No matter how tall you are, wouldn't the range of motion be proportional to your height unless you had abnormally long arms/legs/whatever? That makes sense to me, but I have been working out for 6 months and am still learning. Even though this topic doesn't effect what/how I lift.
    It depends what you mean by "harder." The only way I see it harder is the person may have to take alittle extra caution with there range of motion where shorter people can almost go full with every excercise. A tall person is more likely to need to stop a militasry press at chin then a shorter person. But in terms of hieght actually making it more difficult to lift, I dont think so. If a person has heart and determination, they will lift hard no matter what body they are in.
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    It all comes down to proportions. Guys with longer torsos/shorter limbs tend to do well in the weight room. While lanky guys with short torsos/longer limbs tend to not do as well.

    Tall people tend to be lankier because your spinal bones, and ribcage stop growing at an early age, while your arms and legs might not stop growing until you are 20. However, if a 6'6" guy had proportions like a typical short person (long torso/short limbs) than he would have a mechanical AND mass advantage in the weightroom. A lot of strongmen are pretty tall, but they aren't built lanky.
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    Well, I, despite how much I hate to say this, am indeed lanky. My shoulders are not very wide. I kind of grew up, and not out so to speak. So because of that, I am at a disadvantage when it comes to things such as benching, right? I was just curious. I can see how not everyone is proportional to the norms.
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    I wouldnt say your at a disadvantage really. In terms of saying "hey man I can bench 300" yea maybe you are. People need to understand the raw numbers in lifts arent always important. A person with longer limbs doing bench with a shorter range of motion may be able to get just as much stimulation as a guy with short limbs doing full range of motion. Sure they guy with short limbs is more likely to beat you on a bench competition since you have to use certain form, but that doesnt matter for bodybuilding. Everyone has different structure and dynamics, whats important is how the lift effects you not how much weight you use compared to someone or the range of motion compared to someone.
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    sure for taller person it's harder to lift certain weights, but a taller guy who fills out his frame will look way better then someone who is short. so i guess that's the trade off
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    Originally Posted by liverpool4ever View Post
    sure for tallers person it's harder to lift certain weights, but a taller guy who fills out his frame will look way better then someone who is short. so i guess that's the trade off
    The problem is taller people have a hard time ever filling out there frame. This is why most bodybuilding contests especially the high ones (olympia and arnold) tend to be dominated by people in the 5 ft 9 to 5 ft 11 range. People like Priest are to short to ever win and people like Gunter are to tall to ever win.
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    Originally Posted by liverpool4ever View Post
    sure for taller person it's harder to lift certain weights, but a taller guy who fills out his frame will look way better then someone who is short. so i guess that's the trade off
    x2, would rather be a 6'2 meso than a 5'6 endo any day of the week.
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    Yes, it is harder. The mechanics are against someone with longer limbs. But I would still rather have my current height frame than to be shorter.

    Longer limbs work against you in terms of basic lever principles.

    Another factor that affects strength is muscle insertion points. People with lower instertion points will have a greater mechanical advantage... more like less of a mechanical disadvantage. However, the potential to generate velocity is diminshed.

    Just like gears on a car.
    lower gear = more force applied to the resistance, but less velocity
    High gear = opposite of that
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    This length=longer range of motion thing is something I never understood . Normally, longer lever=better mechanical advantage right? But in the weight room longer lever = bad. BTW, how does one tell if they have short limbs for their height?
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    Originally Posted by phat_endo View Post
    This length=longer range of motion thing is something I never understood . Normally, longer lever=better mechanical advantage right? But in the weight room longer lever = bad. BTW, how does one tell if they have short limbs for their height?


    __________________________________________
    (Force) ....... ^ .....................................(resistance)
    ..............fulcrum


    The force is your muscle. The fulcrum is where the tendons insert. The longer the arm on the right, the worse the mechanical advantage (aka, harder)

    Also, if you move the fulcrum to the right (lower insertion point), there is a greater mechanical advantage.
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    a longer lever is at an advantage when you are doing something like tightening a bolt where you are applying force on the free end of the lever around a pivot point. However, for the bicep curl you are in the opposite situation where you are applying force at the pivot point to a weight on the free end of the lever. For example, grab a sledge hammer and hold it right next to the head, now rotate your wrist. It should be extremely easy, this is like someone with no arm doing a bicep curl. Now hold the hammer on the very end of the shaft and try to rotate your wrist, it should be very hard. This last situation mimics someone with a very long arm.
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    Ah! Now I get it thanks.
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    As height increases, leverage decreases and ROM increases, producing a disadvantage. HOWEVER, as height increases, there is also a disproportionate increase in muscle size/cross-section. All else being equal, greater size creates greater lifting strength.

    I think most of the guys whining about the burdens of being tall are just giving themselves excuses.
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    Its definately not "all relative."

    As peoples height changes, not everything changes. As people height increases they tend to grow longer more than they grow thicker. Take someone who is 6'0 tall and someone who is 4'0 tall. The 6'0 tall person is 150% the height of the 4'0 person. However, if you measured their head, waist, chest, or the girth of their limbs, the taller person wont have such a striking difference. Of course you could find a freaky worlds strongest man competitor and this may closer to the case, (although the head would still stay the same size).

    In general though, taller people are not just bigger versions of short people. They are simply longer versions. As a result, shorter people have a leverage advantage not in addition to insertion points, but because of insertion points. Since their limbs are shorter, but not equally thinner, they will end up with a muscle insertion point (fulcrum) that accounts for a larger percentage of the total length of their limb.

    So, on average, shorter people have better leverage than taller people. Theres always exceptions but, on average, this is the case. Add that to the fact that shorter people have less total length to pack their calories onto, and they achieve thicker muscles (even better leverage) with the same caloric intake (total mass gain) when compared to a taller person.
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    One thing that i've noticed as a tall person is many people here like to compare their lifts to bodyweight. Being tall is a major disadvantage when comparing lifted weight to BW. Longer limbs make it harder to lift a given weight and at the same time increase bodyweight. Double whammy. Taller you get the more pronounced the effect is.
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    Originally Posted by jude-o View Post
    As height increases, leverage decreases and ROM increases, producing a disadvantage. HOWEVER, as height increases, there is also a disproportionate increase in muscle size/cross-section. All else being equal, greater size creates greater lifting strength.

    I think most of the guys whining about the burdens of being tall are just giving themselves excuses.
    It has a strong bell curve.

    No-one should ever whine about being tall... [unless you are like 10ft].
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    Registered User Jon Harris's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jude-o View Post

    I think most of the guys whining about the burdens of being tall are just giving themselves excuses.

    I wasn't whining. I was just curious if it was infact harder. I know bench is harder to do for me due to the extreme length the bar travels, but it isn't something I dwell on. I dont gain muscle mass easily and my metabolism is very high. Nothing I can do about that either, just somthing I have to recognize and then look past.
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    I've never heard this theory and don't believe it has any validity. It doesn't matter what height you are, the exercises are the same. I would think that mesomorphs have more of an advantage because their body types are better suited to lifting heavy weights.
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    Height is just a really bad excuse that tall skinny guys came up with that happened to stick.

    Pretty much everybody competing in the WSM is over 6 feet tall. Yes the bar travels a longer distance. YES they have more frame to fill in, so that makes up for it.
    Last edited by Uriel_da_man; 04-10-2007 at 10:59 AM.
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    Originally Posted by Jon Harris View Post
    Today I was working out and was doing dumbbell curls, and this guy next to me started talking to me while I was working out saying how much harder it must be for tall people to lift due to our extremely large range of motion. The guy looked pretty fit, maybe a short range goal for someone like me, but I am questioning the logic behind his statement. No matter how tall you are, wouldn't the range of motion be proportional to your height unless you had abnormally long arms/legs/whatever? That makes sense to me, but I have been working out for 6 months and am still learning. Even though this topic doesn't effect what/how I lift.
    http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=461061
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    Originally Posted by DimSumDick View Post
    no

    their muscles are longer, which allows for greater lbm, and overall muscle size/strength. Everything is relative. If it were true, then all the world's strongest men, would also be the shortest...
    Just because you are tall and have long bones doesnt mean you have long muscles. The main disadvantage long limbed people have is the weight they are using has to travel a farther distance. This may hinder their attemps in building strength contributing to there lack of muscle mass. There are many other factors in building muscle though.
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    Thumbs up

    I'm 6'5" and yes I can't lift as much as someone that is about 8" shorter then me and I don't complain. I can't squat my bodyweight and i'm fine with that, even though I squat way lower then people that can squat twice as much as me, but I can out run those guys at the gym hands down both short and long distance.

    So tall people don't have advantages in the lifting realm; well what about all other walks of life:Tall and or lanky people excell in endurance sports compared to short people with shorter limbs; so I wonder if short person with short limbs complains about not being able to run a mile in 4minutes.

    I boxed for 13 years of my life as an amatuer and was an alternate on the olympic team. I constantly heard excuses from opponents and coaches and so on and so forth about being to tall and to difficult to box against. So being tall was a huge advantage for me and a huge disadvantage for my opponents.

    Yes taller people are at somewhat of a disadvantage when it comes to lifting and bodybuilding-big deal. Keep lifting and keep making progress and try to stop making excuses. If you are determined to get in shape and look your best and put in time at the gym and at the dinner table then you will make gains. I know i'm never going to be a Mr. O or compete in bodybuilding competition, but at least I don't need a step stool to reach the stuff all the time
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    Originally Posted by krazyk View Post
    Just because you are tall and have long bones doesnt mean you have long muscles.
    longer limbs do mean longer muscles, what else is taking up the space under your skin, besides water, bone, and fat, MUSCLES.
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    In Ferum Veritas jude-o's Avatar
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    I'm 6'5" and yes I can't lift as much as someone that is about 8" shorter then me and I don't complain. I can't squat my bodyweight
    You're just giving yourself excuses; men as tall or taller than you have reached squats near 1,000 pounds (equipped). Go eat something and do some serious strength training.
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    Originally Posted by jude-o View Post
    You're just giving yourself excuses; men as tall or taller than you have reached squats near 1,000 pounds (equipped). Go eat something and do some serious strength training.
    did you read the rest of his post, or are you just retarded?
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    Originally Posted by djartek View Post
    longer limbs do mean longer muscles, what else is taking up the space under your skin, besides water, bone, and fat, MUSCLES.
    Tendons.
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    Ohh well what can you do. Its is genetics and it is unlikely you will be able to change it any time soon. So I squat and bench **** -no big deal, -I never gonna compete either in BB or powerlifting. But it will allow me to gain some meat on my bones and thats why I am doing it.
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