The Finest Strategies to Squat and Deadlift For Quick and Tall Lifters

People aren’t quick to admit that like many competitive sports, there’s an “ideal body type” for weight training success. Anyone can get a training effect from lifting weights, but leverages and skeletal build can help (or hurt) an individual tremendously when it comes to having a mechanical advantage for strength. When it comes to the two biggest movements in the gym—the squat and the deadlift, different lever lengths due to height discrepancies are worth examining. t doing so can lead to injury or extremely inefficient training methods that need fixing. So here are the techniques you should be following for short or tall lifters.

Mikel Taboada

Squat For Tall Lifters

Chances are higher that you have a long set of legs to go along with your tall height, and that’s going to cause you some problems getting low, when combined with a short torso. The common tendency is to break at the hips to keep the bar centered over the mid foot, which creates insufficient depth and a back-breaking good-morning style squat.

Fix: It’s not always a matter of getting a stronger trunk and back to stay more upright. It’s equally as important to examine your lower body mobility, especially at the ankle joint. Improving ankle mobility will encourage more dorsiflexion to allow the knee to track further forward over the toe and keep the torso more erect. Use the following exercises to improve that capacity:

Walking on heels

Place your toes in, toes forward, toes outward). Perform 3 sets of 2 minutes straight (each)

Toe Raises (using a band or weight)

Perform 3 sets of 20 reps/leg

Stretch it out

Foam rolling and stretching to calf muscles

Squat for Short Lifters

The problem with having short extremities is often that it’s frustrating searching for more range of motion, and one can only add so much more weight to the bar without form breaking down. For this crowd, using advanced lifting methods may be the proper fit.

Fix: Though it’s impossible to add range of motion to a squat (assuming full depth is already being reached), adding methods to increase time under tension can be a game-changer. These two training methods make light weight feel significantly heavier and put the lower body musculature through much more TUT.

Do 1.5 Reps

Descend to the bottom position, and then explode to the halfway point (90 degrees). Pause for a full second count and descend once more to the bottom. Next, explode all the way up to a standing position. That’s one rep. Focus on sets of no more than 6-8 reps.

Paused Reps

Simply descend to the bottom position and freeze in that position for anywhere from 1-3 seconds. Hold your form and drive to the top position and repeat. Again, 6-8 reps is more than sufficient. Remember to stay tight while you’re paused at the bottom. It’s easy (and dangerous) to relax and allow laxity to enter your joints by taking tension off your muscles.

Deadlift For Tall Lifters

Tall lifters usually face the most problems regarding proper back position with a barbell deadlift. It’s hard to sit deep and get into a good position with vertical shins when a lifter has long legs. Doing so usually forces a compromise that may be disguised as a mobility restriction. But, no one said you can’t hack your setup to ensure good form and safety.

Fix – Use any one of these modifications to make pulling safe to train.

Mount the Bar on Platforms

Whether it takes an 8 inch elevation or just a 2 inch elevation, simply raise the bar to the place where you can pull with a flat, neutral spine and no flexion. As you get better and improve your technique over time, lower the elevation by an inch and continue.

Go for a Medium Sumo Setup

Instead of pulling conventionally with the hands outside the shins, switch it up so the feet are positioned around shoulder width apart, and the hands are placed inside. te, this isn’t a full-fledged wide sumo stance. The shins should be just outside the hands. This will give you just enough room to lower the hips even more and straighten out the torso and spine. It’s a great fix for long-legged lifters.

Use a Trap Bar

There will be a bit more quad emphasis in a trap bar deadlift sine there’s nothing to block your shins from traveling forward. With that said, it makes deadlifting and even deficit deadlifting much more possible with good form since you can find a new centre of gravity.

Deadlift For Short Lifters

Range of motion for a barbell loaded with large plates is usually pretty small for a short deadlifter. It’s even worse if a lifter has small hands to boot. Both of these things together can cause a world of frustration that centres around not feeling like enough of a workout was accomplished.

Fix: Follow these tips to get more bang for your buck:

Use deficits

Set up a platform to stand on to lower the bar’s position on your shins, and you’ll have to pull for a greater range of motion.

Microload your plates

Instead of using big 45lb plates, use 25’s (given you’re at a gym where the plates vary in size) and make them all add up to the same weight. This too will increase your pulling space by a vital few inches.

Pay attention to bar thickness

Many run of the mill gyms don’t do this, and as a result different bars may have different levels of thickness to them. Always do your best to find the skinniest bar you can to pull with (competition deadlift bars usually work quite well). A fat bar can end up making 80% of your PR feel like 95% just because it won’t stay out of your hand. You can only lift as much as you can hold, so it makes sense to start there.

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