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?

See you in the comments.

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