T Nation

Different Programs for Bone Structure

Dear Christian,

Do you describe different training programs to people with different bone structures. I have heard that folks with big bones and joints generally have more strength potential than those with frailer frames. How would their programs differ? More rest days, or more speed work?

Thank you

I don’t know if there is any evidence backing this up other than anecdotal, but I have read from multiple sources that those with thinner bones - the so called ectomorphs - do not respond well to 90RM+ training. Recently, and I think this was on T-Nation, an author stated something to the effect that thin-framed people require more rest days between workouts. If I can find the page again tonight I’ll link it to you. Bear in mind this is just stuff I have come across. I’d take it with a grain of salt until CT comments.

Here it is, written by Dan John in last week’s issue:

"There’s a chance, especially if you’re six feet tall or over or even just long limbed, that you simply can’t handle the number of times a week that traditional mass building programs require. You need to rethink the week. Now, I was there for the first week and I clearly voiced my opinion that for hypertrophy training, taller guys should have a ten-day week, but God had other plans.

Change your week into a three-week pattern. For people who are honestly struggling in the gym for muscle gain, but failing to see any, consider training…"

Found this while going through archives for things to help my shoulders:

"Christian Thibaudeau

It’s not so much a trick as it is injecting some common sense in your training. Utilize the exercises that will give YOU the most gains. Not all exercises work equally well for everybody. Here are some tips:

  1. If you have long arms and long legs relative to your torso, your limbs will respond best to unilateral exercises.

  2. If you have short legs, the squat and its variation is pretty much all you need for optimal leg growth.

  3. If you have short arms you will need little, if any direct triceps work. Various presses and dips will do.

  4. If you have short arms and a long torso, you will need a lot of assistance work to improve your deadlift.

  5. If you have long arms, you will need more direct biceps and triceps work to make them grow."

There must be a similar thread a few pages back. I remember that CT has said that someone with a heavy lower body frame has a greater potential to develop strength in the lower body heavy movements, someone with a light frame has a lower potential, he can also develop strength but it will be harder and it will take longer. The same happens with the upper body’s bone structure.

What is considered long relative to your torso? I am 74" tall, my arms are 28" from armpit to fingertips and hang at about 5" above my knees, and my inseam measurement is 34". Does that make me long-limbed or average?

I think you are in the same ballpark as me, which is long arms relative to torso. I am 76" tall with a 36" inseam and 30" arms fingertip to armpit. We are pretty close. This is my opinion only. You should get other opinions on this. If you can’t find any charts online just stop by a men’s clothing store or someplace where you can buy a suit and politely ask them to measure you. These folks measure people all the time. When it comes to buying menswear I am limited to only shirts made specifically for talls. Anything else and the shirt/suit sleeve stops around mid-forearm and I look ridiculous.