If you look at the best jeans a man should wear for his body type, you'll see there’s a pretty big difference between the things a shorter, stockier man should look for compared to a taller, lankier guy. What does that have to do with fitness? The same idea carries over to the weight room, too. Height plays a major role when trying to increase lean, muscular mass.
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If you're a shorter athlete (5'5" and below), you can easily play up your strengths by performing The Short-Man Workout, which consists of exercises that you'll naturally excel at, given your more compact frame. If you're taller, the moves in The Tall-Man Workout will come naturally to you. But, focusing on your weaknesses is what will really help you blast plateus. What's more, like with any training regimen, switching up your routine is a fundamental factor to successfully reaching your fitness goals.
So, we compiled five of the most difficult exercises for shorter men, courtesy of David Otey, Fitness Manager at Equinox in New York City, and C.S.C.S., that a shorter dude should focus on in his training regimen. (Don't worry: There are many exercises that tall guys struggle with due to their larger stature—stay tuned to MensFitness.com for the story, coming soon.)
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What are the things shorter guys may struggle with? Shorter limbs typically also mean smaller hands which, according to Otey, can limit a lifter’s ability to grasp ahold of equipment and efficiently perform exercises with gear such as a bar that may be thick or wide. Working on grip strength, though, can help you overcome this extra obstacle that taller guys aren't as likely to face. Second, explosive exercises are challenging for shorter athletes because they have shorter limbs to propel them, meaning less power. Lastly, Momentum. It's tougher to build for shorter guys, "due to a lower center of gravity and shorter limb structure," explains Otey.
To put it in perspective, Otey says, “power generation and momentum issues can be related to Major League baseball players and the distance they can hit a ball—shorter ball players aren't known for the long ball as much as taller and larger athletes comparatively.”
But again, regardless of any hindrance you may face, the following five moves are "foundational blocks of any program," per Otey, and should definitely be worked into your training arsenal weekly. Just remind yourself: While taller guys may have an easier time with these, it's in the struggle that you truely get results.
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