BY LEE BOYCE Men's Fitness
Taller lifters can have it tough when it comes to training. Because our bodies are built differently, what may come easily for a stocky guy won’t be such a simple task for his tall counterparts. Training smarter will help you avoid pitfalls to make your workout deliver the proper challenge that it should for your muscles. Follow these three useful tips to build strength and gain muscle regardless of tall and long-limbed you are.
1. IMPROVE ANKLE MOBILITY
Poor ankle mobility will be the enemy when it comes to squatting, and you’ll always be limited in how low you can go. Tall guys with long legs need the knees to track forward past the toes (no, it’s not a bad thing) in order to maintain proper geometrical balance when squatting a barbell. Not paying attention to this will take plenty of load off the leg muscles and replace it with compensatory low back stress due to the altered form. To stretch your ankles, do moves like step-ups, calf raises or a rocking ankle mobilization.
2. REST MORE AFTER PULLING
In compound movements, the bar will have to travel a lot further when being carried by a taller body. That means an increased amount of time spent under tension. This can be great for muscle gain, as more time under tension means more hormonal release to help with muscular growth. The downside is that it also puts the body through more stress, which can make certain efforts less sustainable over time. Especially in the case of pulling exercises, it may be useful to rest an additional 30 seconds between sets to restore grip strength and get the most out of a heavier set.
3. DON'T STRESS NUMBERS
A 6’5”, 240lb guy squatting the equivalent of his body weight on the bar, won’t have the same ease as a 5’7 160lb guy doing the same thing. The tall guy has to travel much further in both directions, creating much more work (force x distance) performed per rep. Don’t beat yourself up when it comes to strength maxes. Train to stimulate your muscles, and strive for your own PR’s.
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