How To Gain Size As A Tall Lifter

How To Gain Size As A Tall Lifter

It can be hard on us tall guys when aiming to put on some serious muscle mass (believe me I know, I struggled for years trying to put size on my skinny 6ft 4 frame).  Most of us have been dealt long lanky limbs, making our muscles look smaller then they are. This is because the origin and insertion of the muscle (muscle attachment points) tend to be further away (making our muscles look longer, not bulker). So even a significant weight gain can translate to a sub-par size gain.

    Also there’s the fact that nearly every machine in the gym feels unnatural and awkward for us, as they were not designed with tall guys in mind. When height is a factor (6ft above) lifting the iron requires a lot more coordination and energy. This is because sets take us longer as we have more range of motion with our long limbs .

When it comes to tall powerlifters and strongmen, whose main goal is to build strength, they are constantly looking for ways to refine their technique and form so they have optimum leverage over the weights (less range of motion = heavier weight).

BUT if you’re your goal is to strictly build muscle and look as good as you possibly can, you should look at it the other way around, and use your long limbs to an advantage as they make the range of motion bigger.


Taking that into consideration, here are some exercises and tips to go along with them, that I found to help me build mass on my 6 ft 4 frame!

Pin Press = healthy shoulders

pin press

A pin press is a variation of the bench press. It’s when the bar is starting on pins set a few inches above chest level. The main benefit of the pin press is that you can lift heavy with less pain or even prevent any pain in the elbows and shoulders. This is because of the fact that the elbows don’t have to travel quite as far below the level of the chest, meaning less shoulder stress at the bottom of the lift.

Additionally the pin press is great for ‘concentric only training’. As you can drop the bar back down to the pins from the top position with minimal tension. This increases the amount of max efforts you can do since the eccentric phase is typically the most taxing on the CNS (central nervous system).

 

When you can’t leg press, lunges are the solution

As we have already gathered, most machines were not built with tall people in mind. This is the same when it comes to the leg press, as it tends to put our limbs and joint angles in an awkward position. BUT the leg press isn’t a complete loss cause, work on your ankle mobility (dorsiflexion). This helps by allowing your knee to travel further past your toe, so you can have greater range of motion while maintaining a neutral spine. Another tip would be, when using the machine assume a very high foot position on the platform, to prevent pressure being put on the lower back and knee joints.

Some tall guys regardless of how mobile they are will never feel comfortable using a leg press. So what I recommend for the majority of you tall guys is to really utilise lunges and split squats. They are also great exercises for the quads and glutes. What make them even better is that they are unilateral movements, meaning they use one leg at a time, which is great for preventing muscle imbalances and improving balance.

goblet-reverse-lunge

 

 

Make sure you include deadlifts (trap bar), pull/chin-Ups,  and snatch-grip pulls in your training-

The back is one of the areas of the body that normally gets rejected and under developed, resulting in bad posture. As tall guys we can not afford to reject our back. If anything we need to put more time and effort into making our lets wider and our upper- back thicker as it takes more muscle to fill out our longer torso. Hammering away at the upper and mid back is important if we want to look large and imposing and feel healthy.

In my opinion chin-ups are the most important exercise when it comes to bicep growth. Using a narrow supinated grip is the key to targeting the brachialis (bicep) muscle. This is a great way to overload the biceps as they are under a heavy load putting stress on the muscle, causing them to increase in size, which is what us tall guys want. We want to build as much muscle possible on our arms as we have a bigger surface area to fill out!

When I do pull ups I like to include isometric holds, as it’s a good way to hit the endurance-geared fibres (type 2a muscle fibres) of the back (which there are a lot of) through increased time under tension.trap-bar-deadlift-300x274

Some of you tall guys will have very short torso with long legs, making it difficult to use a conventional deadlift set-up since it’s hard to position the shoulder blades above the bar, which is the ideal position. If you have this problem I recommend you try out trap-bar deadlifts and snatch grip rack pulls instead. These both are great deadlift alternatives. The lowered pulling space in a snatch-grip rack pull, along with the ability to lower the hips in a trap-bar deadlift, are both money makers that can keep your pulling strength in check.

Learn to love the flys –

As tall lifters we need to think smart. Take advantage of your longer limbs. When doing any fly or raise variation, such as; reverse fly, chest fly, lateral raises and front raises, take advantage of additional time, space, and force that’s created by us having longer arms.

Flat-Bench-Flyes-With-Dumbbells

This leads to more time under tension, and also the further away the weight is from the torso the more pressure is put on the muscle (chest or shoulder, depending on exercise), and this can mean more potential muscle.

Play to your advantages

There are some real challenges when it comes to building muscle as a tall guy, so rather than get disheartened and frustrated when there’s an exercise you can’t perform, start using your long levers to your advantage.

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What A Tall Guy Can Do To Bring Up His Legs!

What A Tall Guy Can Do To Bring Up His Legs!

For the purposes of this article, I think it’s important that we define what “tall” means.

The average height for a male is around 5’ft 9″.

So when I say tall I’m referring to everyone 6’ft and over.

The information in this article will be more helpful and applicable for every inch over 6’0″ you happen to be, but you’ll still get results following the guidelines.


Being 6 ft 4 I know exactly how hard it can be trying to gain mass on super long and lanky legs.

Tall guys generally have long femurs (leg bones), that tends to make every leg exercise feel uncomfortable and awkward, also having to pack on twice as much muscle as a shorter guy to make your legs look good!


So, what can a tall guy do to bring up his legs?

Image result for arnold schwarzenegger legs
Arnold was 6 ft 2

Mess around with your reps-

I know the typical gym ‘bro’ loves high rep squatting for leg growth, and I can see why. Unfortunately, our levers are not made for squatting, so a lot of us would struggle keeping good form when doing high reps.  There are a few techniques I use to up the  intensity that you can use, such as one and a half reps, as well as throwing rest-pause training into the mix.

 

Box squat-

Incorporating a box squat into your leg day routine can really help your leg growth, specially the posture chain. Have a slight wider stance then normal and place the bar in more of the low bar position on the rear delts. This decreases the range of motion and fatigue on the stabilizers, allowing you to overload the muscles instead.

Intra set rests-

Intra-set rests really forced my legs to grow. This is where you pause at the top of a squat for 10-15 seconds without racking the bar is a very potent weapon for us tall guys. Not only does it help to restore creative phosphate, but we’ll also increase our aerobic capacity for future squatting endeavours.

Keep the reps low-

Stop trying to squat for sets of 12 to 15 plus. Long femurs are not optimal when it comes to squatting. Our stabilizers will fatigue before our muscles, causing form to break down, putting you at risk of an injury.  Remember, we’re tall, so the rules change. Therefore, when you’re squatting, I recommend aiming for around 4 to 8 reps for maximum benefits.

Do what feels comfortable and what you’re good at-

Due to the lever length us tall guy’s femurs, we’ll be able to rock with the leg extensions and various leg curls. They may not be the most ideal functional movement, but they are a great exercise to pack on the mass the them legs, so get the most out of these machines and up the reps and sets.


In summary, work with the hand you have been dealt. If you train hard and smart, you’ll have big legs in no time!

BE Positive

BE Positive

Positivity Is Key!

I  always see on social media and in day-to-day life, how negative some people are. Being negative can affect your life, the same way having a positive outlook can, except one changes it for the better and the other for the worse. I always hear people saying ‘Why’ instead of  ‘How’ or ‘What’.

If you pay attention you’ll notice this happens all the time in the ‘fitness industry’, you’ll often see  comments on a popular fitness figures Instagram saying something along the lines of ‘Why can’t I be as skinny as her’ or, ‘Why can’t I be as shredded as them?’ and maybe even, ‘why can’t I have a lifestyle like them?’.

You hardly ever see someone comment asking how, ‘How can I achieve what you have?’ A lot of people are so quick to get down on themselves and  give up before they even think about trying to do something about it.

Ask yourself now, what is holding you back and stopping you from achieving what you want in life?

Is it a fear of being judged?

Afraid of looking stupid?

Not enough knowledge?

Are you secretly scared to really push yourself outside of your comfort zone?

Nothing worth having is in your comfort zone.

‘Get comfortable being uncomfortable’

 

 

Look at it this way, nothing is impossible (As cringe as it sounds its true). You know what, I’m going to be honest, no you might not ever have the same physique as the girl in the magazine, or you may never look like the person you envy in the gym, but seriously who cares? As long as you are the best you! If you’re putting your energy into becoming a better you than you were yesterday, whether that’s going to the gym to look better, or reading a book to educate yourself. You can get lean and drop body fat, you can put on muscle, you can start your own business, you can learn a new language, but it will take hard work. If it were an easy process, everyone would look great and have an IQ of 140, but that’s not the case.  It is those who invest the time and effort that see the results.

Now ask yourself ‘How’ can you achieve your goal/goals? The answer is quite simple.  Patience, time, hard work and discipline. We are so much more capable than we ever give ourselves credit for, and our greatest growth will come from the times we try but fail, but never give up.

It really is easy than ever now as there is an abundance of resources out there from articles, to YouTube videos, and even online mentors, coaches and trainers to help you reach your goals.

I hope this article motivates and inspires you so the next time you see something you want, you don’t doubt yourself and ask yourself ‘Why,’ instead you ask yourself “What can I do to achieve this?” Be better than you were yesterday, set a goal, and smash it!

Thank you for reading