There’s been an age-old debate about whether height plays a part in your overall ability to put on muscle mass. Some believe that shorter people are at an advantage because of their size, whereas others believe only taller people can become huge. But does height really affect your muscle growth?
Height plays no significant factor in a person’s ability to grow muscle. Whilst shorter people may appear to have gained more muscle in less time, it’s simply because they need less muscle to fill out proportionally. In contrast, a taller individual with longer limbs may take more time to fill out.
This article will discuss whether or not size can affect muscle growth. So, keep reading! We have everything you need to know about if and how a person’s height can affect their muscle growth.
Do Short People Gain Muscle Easily?
Short people generally bear the brunt of jokes in life, whether it concerns dating women or fighting, and are usually considered at a disadvantage when it comes to sports such as basketball. However, there’s a myth that short people can build muscle much easier than people who are considered tall. But is there any truth to this?
How fast you build muscle generally has very little to do with your actual height. However, because smaller people have to cover less of an overall frame or physique, it gives the impression that they can gain muscle faster than someone taller than them.
If you take, for example, someone who is 6’2″ and another person who is 5’5″, the latter being considered much smaller, there would be no significant difference in their ability to build muscle. It usually comes down to how it looks when that person starts to gain large amounts of muscle mass.
Shorter people who are new to working out, and those returning to weightlifting, may fill out much quicker and look more muscular faster than those who are taller because they can fill out their frame much quicker. Thus, 10kg of muscle on someone over 6 feet tall will naturally look like a lot less than someone around 5.5 feet. Essentially, it is an optical illusion.
So, to answer whether or not shorter people can put on muscle much easier than taller people, there is no sufficient evidence that points towards this being true.
Does Height Affect Strength?
Shorter individuals do have a slight advantage when it comes to looking as though they’ve put on a lot of muscle earlier in their weightlifting journey but, as stated above this is merely an illusion. However, does a person’s height impact their strength capabilities?
It is possible that taller people may naturally have a little more strength when compared to a shorter person. This is because taller individuals have more potential for increased muscle mass due to having longer limbs.
People with longer limbs will use more forces to lift the same amount of weight when compared to a short person. This is due to leverages which is why a taller person will find pulling exercises, such as the deadlift, easier than a shorter person. Essentially, when pulling from the ground there is less range of motion for the taller individual than there is for the shorter person. In other words, the tall person does not need to lift the barbell as far.
The same can be said in reverse with the squat movement. A shorter person will find squatting easier than the taller person. Again, the range of motion for the shorter individual is much less, meaning a shorter person does not need to squat down as much as a taller person to achieve a deep squat.
If you’d like to know more about squatting and how to do this exercise, take a look at our article; Squats: How To Do Them And Why
Are Taller People Stronger?
Greater bone density is great for strength in the gym, which comes with height. Thus, if you have longer bones, you have greater leverage and can lift something, such as a dumbbell, much easier compared to someone with shorter arms.
Some believe that in the long term, a taller person of an already average or bulky build will be at a slight advantage over a shorter lifter. This is because fat and weight work to your benefit as a weightlifter. Such body types include endomorph or mesomorph.
However, if you’re tall and skinny (an ectomorph), this may have the opposite effect. For example, if you’re starting the gym as a beginner along with a bulkier friend who’s half a foot shorter than you, he may still be as strong, if not stronger, at the beginning.
Is Squatting Harder For A Taller Person?
The height of your body can play a significant role in how easy some movements are for you. If you’re a tall person, you will probably enjoy exercise such as landmine deadlifts. This is great for anyone with long limbs, usually executed in a stance similar to the sumo-style deadlift.
However, if you’re a beginner and you want to start squatting, this may be a slight challenge for you. Especially if you’re over 6’2″. Squats can be difficult for taller people because you need to go further down to break the parallel angle, and then you have to drive up much further than shorter people.
The length of your thighs really impacts your body positioning when trying to hit a deep and full squat. However, this shouldn’t put you off, as with the proper training and practice on your form, you’ll be able to get the hang of it in no time.
So, now that you know no matter how tall you are, there’s nothing that can stop you from gaining some good muscle and strength in the gym. While height has its advantages and disadvantages in the gym, anyone willing to put in the hard work will be able to build quality muscle mass and strength.