Lifting for Tall Guys: Everything You Need to Know

By GI Team Generation Iron

Lifting hard and walking tall.

As a bodybuilder putting on mass and size is essential to the whole practice. There’s a difference between being just strong and athletic and being both while also having massive muscle. It’s the reason bodybuilders hit the weights in the first place. No one who lives this lifestyle eats a ton of protein, watches their macro nutrients and busts their ass in the gym just so they can put up a 200 lbs bench.

For some lifters and bodybuilders, putting on size is a fairly simple task. They’ve been blessed with the genetics to build size with ease. But there are those out there that have a much more difficult time putting on muscle. For the taller lifters out there who possess longer limbs, putting on size is a much more difficult task for a number of reason. The disadvantages of being a taller lifter could possibly spell doom for your gains, but it isn’t impossible. For all the taller lifters out there, here are some tips to keep in mind to make gaining size a simpler task.

Turn your disadvantage into advantage

When it comes to taller lifters, it’s often sited that their biggest disadvantage is the fact that their longer limbs make hauling upwards of 400 lbs for their one rep max a more difficult task. Mind you, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but their longer limbs make it harder to do the bigger lifts than it would for a shorter lifter. Why? Because their longer limbs, the bar has a farther distance to travel. For instance, when performing a bench press, barbell down to chest and up again, travels much farther due to the length of their arms. That’s okay. Instead of being pissed that you can’t max out at a heavier weight, use your longer limbs as an opportunity to build your strength. By lifting lighter weight and performing more reps rather than just maxing out, you could build bigger, stronger muscles just due to the force, time and space that your limbs must travel. The additional time of hauling the weight could mean additional muscle.

Embrace the pin press

Some lifters may not love doing pin press. Some think that it’s cheating, while others sing its praises as being an invaluable tool to making gains. The pin press can help in a number of ways for the tall lifter. For one, they won’t have to fully bend their elbows when performing the lift which would normally make pushing the bar back up one hell of a task. It also means less stress on your shoulders and elbows. To get the most out of the pin press, performing cluster reps will prove to be the best medicine in order to get the hypertrophy that you seek.

Ankle Mobility

When is comes to leg development there’s no secret as to what method will produce the most gains. The squat is the daddy of all lifts and it’s essential for making some great leg gains. But for a taller lifter, particularly those with longer legs, performing squats will be one hell of a job. Full extension on the squat is important when performing the squat to ensure gains. Due to the longer limbs, flexibility in this department is paramount if you want to get as low as possible. Calf raises, ankle stretches and step ups will help to give you the flexibility and mobility required to get full extension on your squat. Once your ankles and calves are strong enough, performing the squat will be a far simpler task.

Front squat over back squat

Speaking of the king of exercises, squats are great for building up your legs as mentioned before. In order to get everything out of the squat, particularly as a taller lifter, then you’re going to have to track your knees over your toes (yes it can be done). The thing is if you don’t have great ankle mobility and calf flexibility then performing a heavy back squat could mean injury or just improper form. Front squats will promote a straighter posture for taller lifters and help them to activate more muscles in their legs as opposed to just quads.



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