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How Do You Know if You Have Short Arms?

Everybody’s always all “You got long arms and a narrow torso, you’re perfect for deadlifting but squats will kill you!” or “This guy can lift so much because his body has the natural leverages for it!”

But it seems like people are always really vague about it… I don’t like vague.

How do you tell what kind of leverages you (or a client, partner, etc.) has, and how they affect your (their) lifts? I’ve been searching for ages for a definitive guide to proportions and leverages as they pertain to weight lifting, but I’ve never found anything satisfying!

IIRC average femur length for people is about 26%. I measured mine at 30% and my tibia (calves) appear short. Great for deadlifting, which is my best lift and the only one that seems to go up easily, but horrible for squats. I know I have shorter arms relative to some people because every other player on my HS basketball team within +/- 2 inches of my height had anywhere from a half hand to a full hand greater overhead reach than me.

Another way to check that would be to measure your wingspan. Average should be within a couple inches of your height. Longer would be greater than your height, shorter would be less.

In more extreme cases you can see it obviously.

Long torso, short femurs. Femurs appear to be only slightly longer than tibia.

[quote]amayakyrol wrote:
IIRC average femur length for people is about 26%. I measured mine at 30% and my tibia (calves) appear short. Great for deadlifting, which is my best lift and the only one that seems to go up easily, but horrible for squats. I know I have shorter arms relative to some people because every other player on my HS basketball team within +/- 2 inches of my height had anywhere from a half hand to a full hand greater overhead reach than me. Another way to check that would be to measure your wingspan. Average should be within a couple inches of your height. Longer would be greater than your height, shorter would be less.

In more extreme cases you can see it obviously.

Long torso, short femurs. Femurs appear to be only slightly longer than tibia.

[/quote]

Agreed, femur length plays a major role in determining squat proficiency. Less so with deadlift proficiency, as long femurs can also increase the moment arm between the hips and the bar in a conventional deadlift, which is why longer-femured individuals often have success with sumo (provided they have proper hip mobility).

Also, just lock out a deadlift. If the bar is sitting just a couple inches above your knee, you have long arms good for deadlifting. If you can nut yourself if you’re not careful, you have short arms.

May I ask what difference it makes if you have long torso, short arms or short legs, long arms or big hands, small dick? You can’t change it so lift with what you got. Stop looking for excuses to suck. All that shit means is you ‘MAY’ have to work a little harder than to get that bench press than some dude that looks like a fire hydrant.

Maybe relevant to what you are looking for OP

Its a logical question due to the fact that depending on how your built certain styles of lifting could be beneficial to use for your leverages to get the most out of your self on the platform. If you can’t see this there is a problem.

As for how do you if you have short arms. If you have to sit up to master bate because your arms just aren’t quite long enough to get a good stroke going laying down you probably have short arms…

I get the question and yeah there no doubt that different leverage produce different results. I agree 100% with your take on it but sadly, in today’s gyms, kids aren’t putting in the work and use shit like this as excuses to suck and most people that lift do not compete.

and lol at your short arm description.

^^^^^ agreed fully. Thank ya hahaha

You just have to train around leverages and possibly alter technique to compensate. I think Nuckols had an article on long femur squatting. He went fairly wide, toes pointed out more than 45 degrees, and had a lot of success like that.

[quote]Silyak wrote:
If you can nut yourself if you’re not careful, you have short arms.[/quote]

[quote]StrengthDawg wrote:
May I ask what difference it makes if you have long torso, short arms or short legs, long arms or big hands, small dick?[/quote]

[quote]Reed wrote:
As for how do you if you have short arms. If you have to sit up to master bate because your arms just aren’t quite long enough to get a good stroke going laying down you probably have short arms…[/quote]

Damn, I hadn’t even factored in penis size! The bar does indeed hit my junk when I lock out the deadlift, but I can also comfortably masturbate lying down… I guess that means short arms, long penis?

[quote]Spidey22 wrote:
Maybe relevant to what you are looking for OP[/quote]

Nice, that’s exactly the sort of thing I’m looking for. And the article it’s referencing* is really helpful too. According to this, I have a short torso and long arms, but it seems weird to include finger length in the measurements. My intuition tells me that my arms are short, but with long fingers.

So J, now that you posses this profound knowledge, what has changed or what will change in regards to your lifting?

The video says to measure your arms to the first knuckle of your middle finger. If I understand correctly, your first knuckle is the one where your finger meets your hand. So basically you don’t include your fingers.

[quote]Silyak wrote:
The video says to measure your arms to the first knuckle of your middle finger. If I understand correctly, your first knuckle is the one where your finger meets your hand. So basically you don’t include your fingers. [/quote]

I noticed that, and that’s what makes sense to me… But then in the comments of the article it was referencing, the author said to measure to the tips of the fingers. If I just measure to the first knuckle, my arms qualify as “on the short side,” but if I measure to the end of the finger, they’re “pretty crazy long.” Common sense tells me the first measurement is right.

[quote]StrengthDawg wrote:
So J, now that you posses this profound knowledge, what has changed or what will change in regards to your lifting? [/quote]

Not much, just a few tweaks in perspective and self-knowledge. “Do what is appropriate for your leverages,” seems to be a part of “do whatever lets you lift the most weight,” in my mind. Just a new tool to analyze things.

It’s also important to me to understand what’s going on with “This works for me but not for you,” situations. Whose style should I try to copy verbatim, and whose should I take with a grain of salt?

Here’s what I think my proportions imply for the big 3:

Bench Press
If I have short arms, the bar shouldn’t need to land too low on my chest for my wrists to stay over my elbows. That probably implies something about grip width too, but I don’t know what.

Squat
If I have long legs (short torso = long legs? Or do I need to measure my femur and tibia now?) then maybe a wider stance would give better leverage. But then again, I should be squatting with a wide stance anyway.

Deadlift
Short torso, short arms… According to the article, I can deadlift either sumo or conventional, but I’ll need lower hips than the short-legged individual would to get the bar off the ground.

I’ve also frequently read that longer-limbed lifters need more assistance/isolation work than shorter-limbed ones, the latter of whom can often see progress using mostly compound lifts. That would imply that I can make progress just by benching alot, but for squats and deadlifts, isolation work will bust plateaus.

Maybe. I dunno. I’m just toying with the idea. Advice from someone more experienced would be great. In the meantime, I’m gonna keep tinkering to see what lets me lift the heaviest weight.