Building Muscles for Tall Men vs Building Muscles for Short Men

September 23, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

short-man-tall-man-workout

Since growing to my adult height of 6’1 at age 16, I decided that it was time to hit the gym as my late high school years were coming to an end. Yes, it is true that I may have kept growing up until the age of 21, but I was happy with my height, yet I simply was not a fan of the skinny man look as an adult.

That was some years back now and from my experience of building muscle, I can conclude that it is definitely harder to gain muscle mass on a tall persons frame than it is for a short person.

Now don’t get me wrong, overtime time I have realised that both body types will build muscle at the same rate, it’s just that tall peoples muscles are distributed over a larger area. This means that taller people will need to work harder to grow their muscles to point where they look ‘HUGE’. But when they do get to that stage, they will definitely adopt the’ stand out from the crowd’ look.

This is what the shorter guys won’t get!

Shorter guys can build muscle faster for sure, because their muscles are distributed over a smaller area, but they will only get the small powerful look and once they reach a certain size, there won’t be much room to grow any further either because of their smaller frame. So although taller guys have a hard time gaining weight, with hard work there will always be room to grow.

Tall persons frame

= Larger bones

= More distance between joint and insertion point of muscle

= Better leverage

= Stronger

Taller persons frame

= Larger ROM (Range of Motion)

= What some argue… weaker!

Taller persons frame

= Larger frame

= More potential for weight gain in workouts

But Shaun… people are neither ‘just tall’ nor ‘just short’, there are many variations of body types!

You are right,

  • Long legs vs. short legs
  • Long arms vs. short arms
  • Long torso vs. short torso

And all kinds of combination’s

But you can discuss those variations of body types at the end of this post. For the purpose of this post lets just assume we are talking about,

Short – typical ectomorph

Tall – typical ectomporph

Lets now look at how both body types are affected with particular exercises to prove the fact that it is harder to build muscle mass when you are taller and that tall people are at a disadvantage.

Pull-ups

Pull-up

Pull-ups are one of the best strength gaining and muscle building exercises, and it gets even better when you add a dipping belt to the mix. Despite its greatness, the pull up is simply not a tall persons exercise and someone like myself has to work much harder to get those strength gains (Painful!).

The main issue is that a tall person would have a wider grip compared to a shorter person, and that is what makes it tough.

However, I did work hard, and I know for sure it took me a lot longer to get strength gains than my shorter framed friends. My only real personal advantage was that I didn’t weigh too much to begin with in those early days, so I was able to put out more reps than my heavier taller friends.

Bicep exercises (chin ups/ Curls)

preacher-curl-main_Full

If you are tall then it is very unlikely that you will have short arms, and I know from experience (again, painful!) that a tall person has a tough time building ‘stand out biceps’, even to the stage where they look developed. Taking them to the ‘HUGE’ level is a different matter altogether. (But it can be done). The key difference here is that a shorter person with naturally shorter arms can build big biceps in a fraction of the time that it will take for the tall person to get achieve the same results (damn these long limbs).

Bench Press

machinebenchpress

This is another short man exercise. For years I’ve met many people that were able to lift a lot more weight than I could on the bench press exercise and I just couldn’t figure out how that was so. I mean… I was and still am a pretty strong guy (In my view) and can lift some pretty serious weights. But every time it comes to bench press, it just takes more work.

Why?

  • Longer arms!
  • Wider grip!
  • More Range of Motion to perform a full rep!

Without a doubt, there are advantages and disadvantages to both body types. It may seem like I’m bashing the short guys for having it all, but hey, that’s my experience. The bottom line is that in general, shorter guys can do less and gain muscle mass much quicker than us tall guys. Whichever body type you are, just be sure to replace those exercises that feel awkward to perform with something else, and if a shorter/ taller guy out-performs you at a particular exercise, just mind your own business! Because if you try to challenge them you will get egg on your face, then you WILL be embarrassed.

Which exercises do you have difficulty performing?

What is your body type? Is it a variation of the above?

Tis the S-curve lifestyle… Which means you can continue any current activities you’re currently doing. Even ummm… ‘Crossfit’. Some of our best members were already taking in part in that. We do the best in everything we do. So… Make sure you choose the best shoes for crossfit training, if you’re into that.

Forever building muscles See you in the comments.

Incoming search terms:

Unique Bodyweight exercises (part 2)

September 18, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

After yesterdays post i am still quite enthusiastic to share some of the most unique bodyweight exercises that you can perform to build and maintain super strength . And supreme strength is the very thing that I am quite certain of that most gym buffs lack. But after reading this continuation of unique bodyweight exercises, a strength less gym buff you will be not!

I have talked about abs quite a lot over the weeks. Why? Well, it’s what everyone asks for and it was and still is one of the muscle groups that i am passionate about building. But this next exercise will be a true test of your strength as well as building up your abdominal muscles .

Flying human flag: Oblique ab crunch (Vertical)

  • Difficulty: 8 /10
  • Time to master: 6-8 months

As you can see, this exercise does look pretty insane, and it can take some time to master. The heavier you are the harder it will be to do. Before attempting this, I would advise that you get really good at performing chin ups and handstand exercises. Once you do that you should then have enough strength to attempt this exercise.

To perform this, you will need very good core strength. Start by keeping your knees tucked in close to reduce leverage. Each week you should gradually be able to hold the form for about one split second longer. When you do, you must begin to gradually extend just one leg outwards… and then so on.

When you do nail this exercise you can show off as much as you like, and best of all, you will have super strength.

Now… you may have been able to master pull ups. You may have been able to master the dips exercise. You might have even mastered doing them with a dipping belt. But could you imagine performing both exercises in one whole movement? Well… if you are up for the challenge then such an exercise does exist. It is called the

Muscle up

  • Difficulty: 10/10
  • Time to master:10-12 months

What is a muscle up? It is a pull up exercise followed immediately by a dips exercise. In general you will need rings to perform this (like in gymnastics), but you can use a chin up bar. However, using a chin up bar will make the exercise harder to perform.

This exercise is truly a sacred hidden gem for sure. You may possibly have heard of them before, but i bet you don’t hear about many people performing them. The guy in the video is simply a beast! He makes this exercise look really easy to do. But i can assure you… this exercise is tough and you will need brute Tarzan strength to perform it.

Requirements

Perform

  • 15 pull ups
  • 15 dips

One arm chin up

one-arm-chin-upone-arm-chin-2

  • Difficulty : 10 / 10
  • Time to master: 6 months to several years!

This is actually one of my favorite exercises. It’s not the fact that it will increase my muscle mass or strength, it’s just that i was always really bad at trying to do these exercises, and to progress and be able to do them fluently is quite a good feeling.

But enough about me. Once you have mastered ordinary chin ups, this exercise is the one that will truly challenge your strength. If you do manage to master it, it will prove that you are one of very few who possess this raw human strength and you can be proud to wear that trophy too.

After seeing part’s one and two of unique bodyweight exercises, it is quite possible that you are lost on how to actually perform each one. Because of that, i will be posting an in depth guide over the next few days on how to actually perform them in the correct way, the do’ s and don’ts and how to really prepare for them. So stay tuned.

See you in the comments.

The unique bodyweight exercises ebook

Incoming search terms:

Unique bodyweight exercises

September 17, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

bodyweight exercises

As of this month, it has been reported that we are now climbing our way out of the recession. But for many that doesn’t mean s***, and many people are still broke and struggling. If you fall into that category, you might have made cut backs on spending, and going to the gym may have been one of the things you cut back on, which is a worry as everyone from me to Aviva (check ’em out at http://www.aviva.co.uk/) are telling you the best way to be is to stay in shape. If so then it is your lucky day, as today I will be describing some unique bodyweight exercises that will allow you to maintain that sweet body that you have built up.

Advanced bench dips

bench dips

  • Difficulty: 4/ 10
  • Time to master: 2-3 weeks

Although this exercise isn’t too demanding on the triceps, it is still demanding enough that you will need to have a decent amount of current tricep strength to perform it.

Instruction

  • Find a bench and a wall
  • Place your hands on the bench, shoulder width apart and push your feet against the wall so that your legs are straight and roughly in line with the bench.
  • Put your feet against the wall, lift your arms up straight and lower yourself down until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
  • Hold this position for a second or two, and then back to the starting position.
  • Repeat

What makes this exercise unique is that instead of having your feet placed on the ground, they are up against the wall. Having your feet up against the wall means that your triceps will have to lift more weight. If you want to get creative then you can always place some weight plates onto your lap.

Full hanging leg raise

  • Difficulty: 6/ 10
  • Time to master: 2-3 months

Now normal leg raises can be a bit of a challenge for sure, you,

  • Grab a pull up bar.
  • Raise both legs together up to a 90-degree angle.
  • Lower your legs and repeat.

But now that you have no money to go to the gym, you have to up the ante a little.

Introducing the full hanging leg raise!

hanging-leg-rasie
The difference with this exercise is that instead of lifting your legs to a 90-degree angle, you must now lift them all the way up to the bar until your feet touch the bar. This will be a challenge yes, but once mastered, it will give you an increase in strength, flexibility and control over your body, along with perfecting those lower abs.

If you find that you are not able to get your feet all the way up, take your time and build up to that progression until you do reach the bar.

The Ab wheel roll out

  • Difficulty: 9/10
  • Time to master: 3- 6 months

This exercise is very similar to the exercise ball roll out exercise from yesterdays post. Again, it might look pretty simple to perform, but once you reach those last few reps, the burn really does catch you by surprise. Now the normal ab wheel roll out looks like this,

ab-wheel-rollout

  • Begin by kneeling on the floor, and hold both sides of the wheel.
  • Roll the wheel forward, and lower your body as far as you can without arching your back.
  • Use your abs to pull yourself back to the starting position.

The unique version looks like this,

ab-rolloutab-rollout

The difference now is that only your feet and hands are on the floor. The real burn here is when you return from the extended position. That is where you will suffer, but master this exercise and you will see improvements in your strength on all parts of your body.

One legged squat

one-leg-squat

  • Difficulty: 6/10
  • Time to master: 2-3 months

Now we can test if all of that squatting with weights in the gym has or has not improved your functional strength. This is the best leg exercise that you can do with your body weight. Some may even go, as far as to say that it is the best leg exercise of the lot! But here’s how you do it,

  • Stand straight.
  • Hold one leg out in front of you.
  • Hold both arms out straight in front of you.
  • Lower your self down on one leg.
  • As you reach the ground, tense your butt and stomach muscles.
  • Hold the position briefly.
  • Rise back up and repeat.

This exercise is all about balance, but once you master this one, you will build real true strength for sure.

I am without a doubt a bodyweight exercise enthusiast, but that is also a good thing for those of you reading this. Why? Because I don’t want you to end up being the ‘king’ of the gym who can’t manage to do a single pull up. That is no real king in my eyes.

These bodyweight exercises will help you build real strength, and better yet, you will be building muscle and strength on the cheap in the space of your own home. So follow these exercises through and you will succeed in your strength gaining efforts.

See you in the comments.

You can now grab the Unique Bodyweight Exercises Ebook here.

Incoming search terms: