T Nation

Taller People = Poor Leverage?


Tap in on this..

I was sitting in physics not to long.. going over the basics of leverage... which as you know already consists of a lever and a pivot point...

The longer the leverage, the more work that is done..

My thought. People with longer limbs must do more work than a 'shorter' person in certain exercises. Think preacher curl.

With that said, would you think it is applicable that taller longer people have a tendency to not lift as heavy as weight ( but do the same amount of "work"?

btw work= mass*distance

In a simple pivoting motion.. a longer leverage = more distance with same mass..

Another observation...

This power lifter at my gym looked at me and told me dead lifting would be my "lift", not bench pressing because of my long arms in proportion to my body..

..anyone hear of this?
..anyone want to tap in on my theory?


Yea, it's common knowledge in the realm of powerlifting as far as I know.


This happens because as usual people far oversimplifying things. For the most part it balances out, or actually helps taller people. Your thinking a little backwards. Your looking at the weight instead of the muscle. The weight is applying a force, the muscle is doing the initial work to move the weight. So if you reverse your theory it takes less muscle work to move more weight. Similar to using a long wrench to apply more force.

But then you have to think about where is all this force going, you have the muscle and the weight so now there is a certain amount of pressure hitting the bone, as well as the muscle isometrically to keep aid the bones. I'm sure as you learn more physics and calculas you'll be able to see how much force can hit the bone at any point.

Long arms proportionately means the bar has to travel a shorter distance, but that distance is generally where the hips are so whether are not its easier depends on your hip strenght more or less.


its not about being taller, its about having long limbs.

most WSM are over 6'0 but the thing is that their frames are built to lift weight and the fact that theyre all 6'5 just means that 200 pounds to them is like 50 pounds to a 5'8 guy.

long arms are good for a deadlift because you leave your arms straight so you connect to the bar at a higher back angle. versus having short arms where you need to bring your body in much closer

its about proportions not necessarily height

and thank god for Firefox spell check.


You can spout all the nonsensical theory you want. The point is that tall people have to move weight further than short people. Anything more than that is just nonsense.

And just so I clarify, I'm not just saying that because I'm tall. I'm not one of the people who goes around crying about how tall people have it so rough in bodybuilding. But to deny that tall people have to move weight for further distances than short people is ridiculous.


Good post, but most long armed deadlifters also have long legs which completely offset any perceived advantage they may have had.


Phelps would be a good deadlifter :slight_smile:



i have big hands/feet and long arms/legs and everyone always said i would be such a great swimmer.


Short femurs (relative to lower leg and torso) = good squat (usually).
Long arms and torso (relative to legs) = good deadlift (usually).
Shorter humerus (relative to everything else) = good bench (usually).
Besides the leverage argument usually means that a shorter guy will be able to lift more than a taller guys AT THE SAME WEIGHT. Thats it.

Anyway, a filled out taller guy will usually be stronger than a filled out shorter guy. Obviously at 6'5" and 230 you wouldn't expect to put up serious poundage unless you were biomechanically suited for some movement.




Ummmmm... This is just wrong. Maybe in the bizarro world where everything is ass backwards. If you are going to look at the physics of lifting, TWO things matter. The length of the segments and the muscle insertions. A longer limb will ALWYAYS mean that a greater force is being applied to both the muscle and weight being lifted, except at zero degrees (vertical). The insertion can matter just as much, and acts like a fulcrum sort of and in a simple sense decreases the length of the limb.

If you had two individuals with identical insertions, but one had an arm that was twice as long, that individual would have to exert twice as much force on the same weight being lifted.

It gets much more complicated than this is you want it to be, with inverse dynamics and accelerations, but it doesn't need to be for what your are trying to understand.

Yes, taller individuals must exert more force to lift a similar weight usually. A 5'8 250lb guy will tend to be much stronger than a 6'8 250lb guy. But training changes things, like your strength curve, and rate of force development, and this is why even tall guys can lift a lot of weight with training.

I'd speculate that part of the reason a lot of WSM competitors are tall, is that a lot of their events have to do with deadlifting, Power, and isometric or supporting strength. I dont know a ton about WSM but if you are lifting those heavy ass stones, longer arms, and a greater height will definately help a lot.