T Nation

Limb length and strength

Every tall person I talk to says that the length of their limbs disadvantages them in exercises like bench and squat.
However I thought that it is where the attachment is relative to the length of the arm that was more important. Ive done a little reading and only got conflicting answers.

And even if it did make a difference wouldnt exercise like bench press be the least affected with exercises like curls and flys the most affected.

I’ve been called “monkey arms” by some co-workers because of my wingspan. Let me say that increasing my bench is a BITCH! My chest gets bigger all the same, but it’s just harder to move more weight. There IS an advantage though…with long arms, your biceps dont look big either (they’re all stretched out), but when you bend your arm—BOING! I’m not making excuses for my sissy-ass bench press, it’s just the way it is.

Long arms are an advantage in the deadlift.

The best way that i can explain it, and this may not be correct, but the longer your limbs, for specific excercises (long legs and squats, long arms and BP or pullups) you have a longer range of motion. Everyone knows that the bigger the ROM, the harder the excercise becomes cuz the more total Maximum Power required. Now if us tall guys were to become gigantic in mass, we may be able to compete with shorter guys. Remember in the Ed Coan interview, he said guys over 6’2" would have to be around 350lbs to compete at his level.

I agree with the theory of the ROM (range of motion), but I went to watch an IFB (pretty sure that’s the initials?) powerlifting meet last year and some of the top lifts were by guys that were 6’2" and over. Just a guess, but maybe the guys with longer arms and legs have the capacity to hold more muscle, therefore allowing them to lift more weight. It’s probably just harder for them to fill out those long arms and legs with muscle than the shorter guys. I’m 6’3" myself, so it would be interesting to find out the correct answer to this question.

Chris, the force exerted by a weight is directly proportional to how far it is from the pivot point. If you hold a 10 pound weight on a 2-foot long pole, which we’ll assume is weightless and held perpendicular to the force of gravity, it exerts 20 foot-pounds of torque. A one-foot pole with the same weight exerts 10 foot-pounds of torque. So long limbs are doubly disadvantaged: they face greater torques (and must exert greater forces), and they must move through greater ROMs. You are correct that different insertion points for muscles could make a difference, but I think this actually works against tall people, as my general impression is that short people often have proportionally larger muscle bellies.

Brian If the 1 foot pole is supported at the 0.5 feet and the 2 foot pole was supported at 1 foot what would be the torque