Have you ever gone weight lifting with your shorter buddies and noticed they were bulking up much faster than you?
The truth is, 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 guys 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.
But even though gaining muscle looks different for tall guys, we have a few weight-lifting tips for tall individuals. Check them out below:
1. 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. Taking care of your joints will help you lift bigger weight in general (you're only as strong as your weakest link). Work on mobility before you start lifting heavier weights, risking bad form.
2. Use Your Long Limbs as an Advantage
Since men with longer limbs have a further distance to go when it comes to lifting, 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.
The disadvantage with this however is 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 throughout the exercise.
3. Know Your Equipment
A lot of the equipment in the gym is made for average guys, which means they might not give the same workout experience for taller men. 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.
4. 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.
5. Don’t Stress Over Numbers
Don’t worry when a friend who's 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 simply because they're shorter.
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 working towards your own personal records.
6. Know Tall Guy Gym Tips
Working out as a tall guy requires a little more attention and intention to get the results you want. Check out our article on Gym Tips for Tall Guys - we dove into alternative exercises that benefit tall guys more than typical ones, as well as a few strategies you can use when hitting the gym. Definitely check it out if you want to exercise better as a tall guy!
In short, yes, it is harder for tall guys to gain muscle. But it's not impossible! There are a lot of alternative exercises that will help tall guys build muscle faster - you aren't doomed.
Before you go, check out our tall gym clothing options for tall skinny guys who hit the gym - they're comfortable, breathable, and tailored to help you get those gains:
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