Latest posts by Michael Adams (see all)
- Go the distance! - September 28, 2017
- Biomechanics of lifting. Also known as why is this so hard? - September 27, 2017
- Move fast hit hard! - September 26, 2017
First thing we need to consider in biomechanics is our own ratios of limb to torso length. This breaks down into a few basic categories:
- Long Femur/Short Back/Long Arms
- Long Femur/Short Back/Short Arms
- Short Femur/Short Back/Long Arms
- Short Femur/Long Back/Short Arms
- Short Femur/Long Back/Long Arms
These will effect how we lift. Longer femur lifters will always struggle with things like squats, and conventional deadlifts. Regardless of their actual height. Shorter femur lifters will find these positions easy to be in. Taking a wider stance normally compensates for this.. Just as a long arm lifter will take a wider grip in the bench press. The idea is always to get the bar as close to your body as possible. Reduce total range of motion.
I will use myself as an example. I am 5’8ish (on a good day) I have femurs that are longer then my back, but I have long arms as well. This means I have to make adjustments with my lifting. Deadlifting for example, while I can attain a proper position in conventional, I am able to perfect the position with a semi sumo stance. Squatting is always a struggle, as with long femurs, balancing is a very touch and go subject. As such my squat numbers will never rival my deadlift.
My general advise for the categories above:
- Semi sumo deadlift/Wider stance squat/Wider Bench Press/Single leg work for higher reps rather then squatting for high reps
- Same as 1, with the exception of a narrows bench grip
- However you like. Cause you won the lifting lottery
- Can probably do anything, but semi sumo deadlifts may work best for you
- Same as 3, other then deadlifts, probably need to train these at lower volumes.
Now this does not get into how your hips are built. If any position hurts, or is uncomfortable, then it is wrong for you. Sounds like a bunch of you got to figure out what works right? Lifting for every body is very personal to each body.
Squats: High bar or low bar, find the one that is most comfortable for you. Work that one. Only people who “need” to squat in a specific style are athletes who compete in barbell sports.
Deadlift: Semi sumo works better for longer legged, and taller lifters. Conventional works for shorter legged and shorter lifters.
Bench: Natural grip width should be 1.5x shoulder width. Longer arms may go wider, shorter may go narrower.
Overhead Press: This is fixed at shoulder width or just outside shoulder width.
Olympic lifts: Fixed positions, some bodies may not be well suited to these (taller lifters and lifters with long legs)
There are many other movements in the gym, but these are the ones that are most heavily affected by your biomechanics. Don’t fret if you struggle in one movement, because chances are you will excel at another. That’s not to say any movement should not be trained, but train smart for your body. Long legs don’t like high volume squats, long backs may hate high volume deadlifts.