Have you ever gone weight lifting with your shorter buddies and noticed that they are bulking up much faster than you? Why is this? It’s not that our shorter friends are gaining more muscle, it’s that those who are tall have more body mass to cover with muscle definition (thank you Square-Cube law). While friends of all heights may be gaining muscle at the same rate, the definition of muscle will look different, depending on how the muscle is distributed. Because of this, it will take those with longer limbs more time for muscles to look more defined.
However, we have a few weight-lifting tips for tall individuals:
- Improve Your Ankle Mobility. Stretching your ankles may not be the first thing you think of when weight lifting, but having more flexible ankles will help when it comes to squatting, which is needed for lifting.
- Use Your Long Limbs as an Advantage. Since those with longer limbs have a further distance to go when it comes to lifting, that means each rep will include extra distance, time and force to perform a certain movement compared to someone with shorter limbs. This increased time spent under tension pays off with greater muscle gain. However, because of this extra tension, it puts the body under more stress. This means taller people should take up to 30 seconds longer rest between sets, particularly with pulling exercises, to restore their grip strength and keep their efforts sustainable through the exercise.
- Know Your Equipment. A lot of the equipment in the gym is made for those of average height, which means they might not give the same workout for someone who is taller. First, know how to properly adjust equipment to your height. Second, know which equipment isn’t going to give you the workout you need. For example, most leg press machines are not made for tall individuals. Lunges and split squats are superior exercises for someone who is tall instead of using the leg press machine.
- Work on Your Back. Tall individuals tend to have underdeveloped back muscles. Strengthening your back will help with posture, which will improve positioning when it comes to lifting. Focus on exercises that work your mid and upper back, such as, chin ups and snatch-grip pulls.
- Don’t Stress Over Numbers. Don’t worry when a friend who is a half of a foot shorter than you can bench press his body weight, but you aren’t there yet. There is a good chance that friend is also a lot lighter than you, because of the sheer fact that you are taller. Also, remember that tall people have to travel much further in both directions when performing reps, which is going to require a lot more work. Don’t stress if those around you might be able to perform more reps than you. When you are taller, each rep is going to take a lot more work compared to shorter individuals. Don’t get discouraged over strength maxes, but instead focus on stimulating your own muscle growth and work towards your own personal records.