T Nation

Limb Lengths and Performance

I was hoping to ask CT about this, since the last time I read an article by him he talked about having good leverages for squatting and bad leverages for deadlifting, but since he is not in the locker room right now, I’ll put it out on here first in case anyone has any relevant information, or maybe to stir up interest.

How do limb lengths and other anatomical features lend themselves to a body’s training preference? I have always been much better at Deadlifts and olympic lifts than squats. I am starting to realize that this has to do with the length of my upper legs compared to the length of my torso and lower legs, and probably also the width of my hips, the length of my arms and possibly the width of my shoulders.

Are there any other dimensional relationships that dictate leverage advantages? By this I mean, what sets a person up for being better at rows than pulldowns, or flared-elbow lat work versus elbows-in lat work, or a bench press versus an overhead press, grip variations within exercises like these, etc. This probably also has to do with predicting what body type performs well in which sports: compact gymnasts, tall basketball players, etc. -But I do not really know much about these things.

If there is a resource that references what has been observed in limb length effects on training preferences and dominant movements, I would like to know what the guidelines are. Some of it is probably common sense for someone who has a good understanding of functional anatomy, so anyone who has that, I would also love to hear from you and what you have found.


short legs = good squat

short arms = good bench

long arms = good deadlift

so just look at it oppositely

long arms = bad bench

short arms = bad deadlift

long legs = bad squat

maybe i shouldnt say “bad” or “good” maybe i should say that youll have a harder or easier time depending but whatever its what it boils down to and you can still make good numbers on all with hardwork.

Agreed about the hard work.

Lamar Grant had long arms, and had the world record of DL’ing 3x his bodyweight, and still managed a 315BP I believe.

Depending on the exercise, choose the proper positioning that works best for your anatomy.

Example, I was taught from the beginning to put my index finger on the markers on the benchpress bar. But over time I realized that due to the way my own shoulders were set up, I needed a much narrower grip.

Same with goes with grip on pullups, foot stance for squats. Once you hit the “sweet spot”, like the bench for example, it just feels right and training becomes better.

Just work around the whole limb length thing, like other ppl said, its just about more hard work. Long arms are a bitch to add size to, but once you do, its impressive.

<------------this girl looks identical to my ex in the same position.

and OP… just dont ask if limb length makes much difference to strength and performance…

[quote] JJ wrote:
<------------this girl looks identical to my ex in the same position.

Damn, mine too. What are you insinuating?

ll! she really does… to the extent that when i first saw it i emailed it to her showing her!