How Correct Form for Back Exercises Can Vary Depending on Your Height and Physique

Their body type can put some people at a mechanical disadvantage when lifting weights.

Simply put, no two bodies are created equally. Taller athletes need to realize the difference in their skeletal makeup and how it affects their pulling mechanics.

A taller lifter with higher lat attachments doesn't need to pull as far to reach a peak contraction in the lats during Pull-Ups or Pulldowns. That means the bar won't clear the face, which by many textbook standards is an "incomplete lift." Moreover, having a body that carries a large amount of muscle would frustrate a lifter's ability to use a greater range of motion, since that muscle, even though fully contracted, would block the lifter from being able to do so.

This isn't a cop-out method to encourage cheating or insufficient training methods. Rather, it's an honest look at the mechanical disadvantage some people have when lifting weights if their body type body is among the outliers.  Compensating beyond this means engaging the wrong muscle or pulling the skeleton out of position to achieve the last few inches of distance.

Coaching Cues

  • Keep your body in mind when training. If you're 6-foot-9, you're probably more susceptible to breaking the rules of blanket cues than someone who's 5-foot-8.
  • Set yourself up properly for your size. A wider hand or foot position may be needed based on your skeleton, depending on the exercise.
  • Chase a peak muscular contraction, not just a complete range of motion. Especially with machine-based exercises, that will elevate the quality of your technique.

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Topics: BACK | PULL-UP | RANGE OF MOTION | TRAINING METHODS | TRAINING TECHNIQUES | LIFTING WEIGHTS | FORM