Is Bodybuilding Easier For Short People?

Bodybuilding, Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting are mean to tall people. Extra height requires extra work to succeed. Past a certain threshold, every additional centimeter is not helpful but detrimental. The taller you are, the heavier you need to be in order to make it work, and that’s hard.

5 kilograms on a short person could make a huge difference but are barely noticeable when you are a high altitude brah. You may have to gain two times the amount to achieve the same effect. Obviously, it’s much harder to gain 10 kilograms than it is to gain 5. That’s why tall bodybuilders are a minority.

In an old video, Lee Priest (one of the shortest bodybuilders ever) calls out tall bodybuilders for having the same measurements as him. Cool, but people need to realize that in order for somebody who is 180cm to have the same measurements as Lee Priest, he will also have to weigh 40 kilograms more.


As you can probably guess, a house with a single floor requires fewer resources than one with two or three stories. You are going to need more time, energy, raw materials, workers…etc. When you are tall everything is multiplied – food, elixirs, effort, time…etc.

How much are you supposed to weigh when you are 210cm to match the short guys? 150-200 kilograms? This is the reason why most competitors are short.

Lifting is simply more difficult for the tall brah. Tall lifters have to do more work with the barbell. There is a big difference between a 150cm guy benching 100kg and a 195cm guy doing the exact same thing. When you have long arms, the distance traveled by the bar could sometimes be double. Unless the tall guys get really heavy, the shorter brahs with always outlift them.

You can’t be 195cm @ 75kg and expect to outlift somebody who is 155cm @ 75kg. It’s not going to happen unless your rival is rather untrained.

Height Does Not Equal A Larger Frame

Many unaware people think that the size of your frame is determined by your height. That’s not the case. Your frame depends on bone thickness and structure. You can be tall without thickness or width. The bigger (not longer) your bones are, the bigger your foundation is. That’s why many strength sports are dominated by short stocky dudes who are considered nonathletic when it comes to more explosive and dynamic activities such as sprinting, jumping…etc. {more}

Tall Guys and Their Weak Limbs

Filling out your limbs is incredibly hard when you are tall.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence

Many years ago, I met a guy in the gym who told me that I am lucky to be tall because I can’t develop a gut.

The guy had a big fat gut himself and used to joke that it’s his best muscle group. He was clearly attributing some of his fatness to his height. Ironically, he was not that short, but as we all know – the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

Focus on what you can change, but stay real.

The lifting community suffers from too much positive thinking. We all believe that somehow, all limitations can be beaten. It’s all about “how bad you really want it”. This kind of thinking is not positive. It’s delusional.

Everybody can improve, but there is a big difference between improving and reaching a standard which cannot be achieved in the first place.

It would be naive to think that a guy who is 140cm can become the next Michael Jordan, just like it is delusional to believe that somebody who is 205cm can be the next Naim Süleymanoğlu.

4 comments

  1. Steve

    Not one of the better articles theres a lot of evidence that proves the height of a person has little do do with either muscle or strength gains

    Ive often heard tall skinny ecto guys say things like ‘id be huge if i was ‘x’ amount shorter’ they wouldnt! They would simply be built in proportion to what they are at their current height ie if they are 6-4 and 190 at 5-6 they will weigh 130 and their 13″ arms at 6-4 will now be 11″ at 5-6.

    Power sports are not dominated by shorter guys either just take a look at the worlds strongest men competitions for confirmation of that.

    Shorter guys dont have height to rely on through life, they have to work for things and work harder its likely that they take that attitude into the gym with them whereas the taller guys can coast through life getting things for simply ‘being tall’ but when they get into the gym the weights dont care how tall they are, it then becomes a great excuse to blame your height when you see someone shorter (who you believe to be inferior) with better a physique.

    The guys i know who are tall and train hard and eat enough food are usually as built or better built than the shorter guys ive trained with, the train hard and eat right, the tall guys i know who ‘cant gain size because of their height’ usually are A) as weak as hell B) eat like runway models C) drink every weekend. Funnily enough those are the same reasons the short and average guys don’t gain either.

    The top 3 bench pressers in the world are all over 6′. Being short limits how much mass you can put on your frame. Distances for pushing weights are changed with different stances and grips on the bar. No two guys of the same height are usually of the same proportions, two average 6 foot guys can have different tibia,nfemur, torso, arm lengths, its not as simple as ‘the tall guy has to lift the weight further’

    If i had a pound for everytime a tall guy has used this excuse fir his scrawny and weak physique id be a rich guy. Its easy to blame something you have no control over than to just admit ‘im not naturally strong and im naturally of thin ecto build’ its easier to say ‘id be huge and strong if i was short because of (insert bullshit excuses here). Thats an ego issue.

    So bottom line is if you struggle to build muscle and you are tall you would still struggle to build muscle if you were short. Period!

    Bonus point. Google the perks of being tall vs being short you will find you really have little to complain about unless of course you think that getting attention from women easier, more automatic respect, better job opportunitys etc etc are bad things.

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      Being tall has advantages outside of the gym, but all legendary lifters are barely over 6’1″. Yes, the strong men are tall, but they are not exactly lifters – they are strong men. Their sport requires it. Also, most of them are 350lbs+ in order to fill out.

      Lifting heavy weights is easier when you are short. I am sorry if that hurts.

  2. Kian

    I absolutely agree with Steve’s comment. Besides, all you need to do is look at Mike O’Hearn, a 6ft3 4x Mr. Natural Universe, to see that you can still be a very successful bodybuilder in spite of being tall.

  3. gilbert

    in strongman being tall is and advantage. by the way lou ferrigno is more impreesive than franco… and stronger

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