Tip: Tall Guys vs. Short Guys in the Squat Rack

Here's what you really need to know about leverages and squat strength.

Tall Person Leverages

I'm 6'4" with the longest femurs and arms imaginable. I'm an anatomical outlier in the gym and I'm not built like any elite lifter of any discipline (powerlifter, strongman, or weightlifter). Maybe you are too.

Lee Boyce

In other words, I'm a primo example of how a double bodyweight squat – considered a "strength standard" – is much more demanding for someone who has to travel a much greater distance with many more body compensations to achieve a straight bar path.

That's the reason most titans of CrossFit are under 6 feet and have average lever lengths. Work is the product of force and distance, and both of those factor in huge when you're racing the clock.

A gangly 6'5" guy and a short, stocky 5'7" guy do squats next to one another. The tall guy is lifting 300 pounds for his sets of 10. The short guy is besting him with 320 pounds for the same reps.

The tall guy has to travel 30 inches each way to perform a rep. The short guy only has to move 18 inches. By the end of the set, the tall guy would have lifted 3000 pounds, but would have traveled 600 inches. The short guy would have lifted 3200 pounds, but would have only traveled 360 inches. That's just over half.

This example sounds severe, but it's actually shockingly realistic. With the difference between these demands, who do you think would reach a double bodyweight squat standard first or with less difficulty?

If you're not skeletally built for lifting, you're going to have more frustration reaching generic lifting standards. No strength standard has taken into consideration the anthropometry of the individual, and it's time someone called that out.

Yes, build a strong squat. But if you're tall, don't beat yourself up if it takes you longer to meet one of these supposed strength standards.