Is It The Length of Your Limbs or You?

Bad genetics, no time to go to the gym, too old to lifts weights, etc. The list of excuses is quite frankly endless if excuses is what you’re looking for. One I haven’t talked about yet is “bad body type” – long arms, long legs, short torso.

It’s very hard to come up with a list of rules about this, because leverages are more important than the length of your limbs. Add that the more you weigh, the better your leverages. That said, here are some pointers:

  • Bench/Press: short arms is an advantage
  • Squats: short torso/short thigh bone is an advantage
  • Deadlifts: short torso and long arms/legs are an advantage

A guy can be short but have long arms/legs. I’m for example 5’8″ and have long limbs with a short torso. This definitely puts me at an advantage on the Deadlift but it does NOT on the Squat and the Bench/Press. Yet this has not stopped me from Squatting 400lbs RAW at only 170lb body-weight. My point being that if you’re persistent, you’ll improve, no matter the length of your limbs.

Inside the StrongLifts Community, everytime a new Member wonders if his body type might get in the way of gaining strength on the Squat or Deadlift, senior Members always quote Lamar Gant. It is actually StrongLifts Member Michael (“mjh”, 30, NZ) who asked me to make an article about Gant so thank him.

If you’re not familiar with Lamar Gant, he was the 1st man to Deadlift 5x body-weight: 661lb at 132lb. He later pulled 688lbs and is the world record holder in the 123lb and 132lb weight class. Lamar Gant is 15x IPF world champion, 18x National Champion and even made the Guinness Book of Records.

Before you say that it was easier for him because he had gorilla like arms that almost reached the top of his knees, look at his other lifts. Lamar Gant was NOT just an amazing Deadlifter, he also achieved a 615lb Squat and 352lb Bench!

Lamar Gant Benched 352lb at 132lb even though he had gorilla like arms.

Add that Gant also had scoliosis, and as you can see on the picture below, he has a lot more curvature than StrongLifts Member Harrison (“Maslow”, page 69 in the 5×5 report) and I do. Maybe this was one of Gant’s motivation: keeping his back healthy by strengthening the surrounding muscles with heavy lifting.

Lamar Gant had scoliosis and yet he became a world class lifter.

If Lamar Gant could do it, why not you?