It's not the end of the world to be short. Here's how to play up your advantages and work with your disadvantages.
Lee Boyce, C.P.T.
Use Your Advantage
In compound lifts, a short guy will have his center of gravity closer to the weight, providing better balance. Additionally, shorter guys perform less work (force x distance) on every set compared to a taller lifter. Let's say a short guy and a tall guy were lifting the same weight for the same amount of reps. The shorter guy is less likely to fatigue before the taller guy because the shorter lifter isn’t moving the bar as far per rep. Practice compound lifts such as cleans, snatches and overhead squats to basically master what you’re mechanically inclined to perform better at.
Your muscles tend to appear fuller and thicker once you build them, but it also could be a recipe for immobility once you start putting on size. Make it a habit to practice basic mobility drills to keep the integrity of your load baring joints (like your hips and shoulders) intact.
For short lifters, doing a few more reps per set can add time under tension to your sets. Also, consider using unilateral exercises into your strength and conditioning routine to improve muscular stabilization on both sides of the body. This will extend the duration of your workout thus keeping muscle fibers under tension for longer.
You may find that your limiting factor in many pulling exercises (ex: deadlift) isn’t that your back or legs are too weak, but that you can’t grip the bar tightly enough because your hands are too small. That’s right, the bar could take up more space in the hand of a smaller guy compared to that of a bigger guy. The only way out of this is to continue practicing these lifts.
Tighten up your grip strength by way of incorporating loaded carries like farmer’s walks along with plenty of deadlfits, row variations, and chin ups. If you’re really looking for a challenge, throw on some Atlas Grips or Fat Gripz for some fat bar training.