Fitness for tall people – is it something seperate from normal fitness? No, not really, but a few tips and tricks are helpful when training as a tall person such as myself.
I apply the same principles as other not as tall ‘bodybuilders’, but with attention to my longer limbs, my joints and my tall frame. Here, I’ll let you in on what I have chosen to call the ‘Stretch ‘n Squeeze’-principle.
As you will notice in the Exercise section of my Skinny to Muscle guide, I underline Full Range of Motion in almost every exercise. But what is it? Let me run you through the basics here.
ROM – Range Of Motion
Basically, this is all comes down to ROM or Range Of Motion. Range of motion relates to the distance, you move when doing an exercise. Take benchpress – a 100% range of motion would be
- Stretching your arms to the fullest, pushing the bar as far away from you as possible. And
- Lowering the bar until it lightly touches down on your chest.
If you do a full range of motion – let me just call it ROM from now on – you will reap the benefits of working the muscles from complete contraction to complete extension.
Why is this important? In order to build a body that is aesthetically shaped, strong and functional, you have to work through the whole ROM. That’s what we are capable of and what we are built to do.
On the other side, by doing those small ‘pumping’ half reps, you only cheat yourself from a good set. Don’t look to the meat heads on Youtube – they do steroids and play by different rules.
Natural fitness is the way we want to go, and ROM is a basic principle that will save you time that would otherwise have been wasted. That was that about ROM – now moving on to what I mean, when I say Stretch and Squeeze.
The stretch is 1 of 2 outer points in a complete ROM. The stretch is when you extend the muscle to its fullest capability. In a biceps curl, a full extension is where your arm is straight and the weight is closest to the floor.
This should always be the starting point for say a biceps curl. This is the ‘beginning’ so to speak and from there, you begin every repetition.
Some would recommend to only go back to a 95% stretch, because the muscle is given a small break when extended a 100%. I do this too, so stretch the muscle, but don’t let it rest and relax.
The Squeeze is the other outer point of a complete ROM. When you come form the Stretch, do the full range of motion and contract your muscle the last couple of inches, you give it a squeeze at the very top.
Being able to squeeze the muscle not only lets you know that you have moved through the full ROM. You also stress the muscle in a good way – causing micro tear of the muscle tissue, which causes super-compensation/muscle growth, as we all know.
Yes, but why does it matter for tall people?
Tall frames, meaning a long-limbed body, must work through the whole ROM and do both a lot of stretching and squeezing to build muscle. Apply these principles to your training to grow long and beautiful muscles.
It doesn’t make sense for tall people to only use a limited range of motion when lifting weights. We have to go all in and all the way between the extremeties of a movement. Even if that means making a few changes around the gym 😉
When you are tall and have longs arms and legs, these long arms and legs should work from top to bottom – from stretch to squeeze; just as the shorter people do. We just have to go longer to activate the same amount of muscle.
When lifting weights, you should go from full extension of the muscle to full contraction of the muscle. Another way to think about full Range of Motion, or ROM, is to deliberately Stretch the muscle when fully extended. And similarly Squeeze the muscle, when it is fully contracted.
This will give the most muscle gains as you work your muscle from 0 to 100 in every repetition.
Just make sure that you don’t overdo it – be sensible about it and listen to your body. You should work through the entire ROM, but without unnecessary stress applied to the joints.
Thank you for reading this post on how tall people can apply this principle. Hopefully, giving it a name like Stretch ‘n Squeeze will make it easier to remember when you’re down in the gym. Making things simple enough to remember and actually do is important to me, which is why I also do the 3 things to remember after explaining each exercise in the Skinny to Muscle guide.
I want you to make good use of these things – it’s not just talk. Stretching and Squeezing is a great way to work your entire fibres and also to keep good form if done right.
So use what you can and listen to your body while doing it.