Height in body building

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    Dec 13, 2015 6:31 PM GMT
    I keep seeing on web articles and on some of the forums that height seems to plays a part to body building and determines which physique you should go after etc. For instance I hear being 5'10 is the 'ideal' height for body building,,forgive me for being naive asking this but why is that? I'm 5'10.5 and wish I was taller,,,I'd probably gain more muscle and weight easier.

  • Hypertrophile

    Posts: 1021

    Dec 13, 2015 9:44 PM GMT
    Bodybuilding favors shorter guys. With shorter long bones, muscle bellies are proportionately longer than on taller guys which makes your muscles look bigger, and gives you a mechanical advantage. You also don't have to move the weights as far during lifts. I'm about 6 ft tall and on dead lifts I have to move the bar a good 24", and about the same, maybe a little less, on bench press.

    Also, open bodybuilding competitions only group competitors by weight, not height, but it is much harder for taller guys to put on the same amount of mass as shorter guys in the same weight class. I will be eligible to compete next year as a light-heavyweight, up to 198 1/4 lbs. No doubt there will be guys 4 or 5 inches shorter than me which makes them look about 40 lbs heavier though we are close in weight.

    The good news is that starting next year, the NPC has introduced a new division, called either "Classic Physique", or "Classic Bodybuilding". It seems these two names are being used interchangeably. This is for guys who don't want to compete in the Open division, where symmetry is arguably less important than sheer mass and muscularity, but still want to show their legs and perform bodybuilding posing routines, unlike the current "Physique" division, where you see no legs and little posing. What's great, IMO, is Classic competitors will be grouped by height/weight ratios. For example, I will be eligible to compete against other bodybuilders who are 5'11 to 6', and up to 207 lbs. I may want to compete in both Open and Classic divisions, so I'm going shoot for keeping my contest weight around 198.
  • jjguy05

    Posts: 459

    Dec 14, 2015 12:42 AM GMT
    Soccerboi saidI keep seeing on web articles and on some of the forums that height seems to plays a part to body building and determines which physique you should go after etc. For instance I hear being 5'10 is the 'ideal' height for body building,,forgive me for being naive asking this but why is that? I'm 5'10.5 and wish I was taller,,,I'd probably gain more muscle and weight easier.



    I hear this a lot too, but I'm not an expert on the matter. I'm close to that "ideal" too (5'9"). But I've seen guys at the gym that significantly shorter (like 5'6", 5'7") with amazing bodybuilder-proportion physiques. Here on RJ, there's also some guys that are significantly taller (over 6'1") and have amazing bodybuilder-proportion physiques, although I've never seen guys like that in person. So, it's probably a game a of genetic chance: that guys closer to 5'10" are more likely to succeed in this hobby. I myself don't yet have bb proportions, but started taking it seriously a couple years ago, and want to transition to bodybuilder-proportion rather than just being muscular. I've been told I "have the genes", so we'll see.

    BTW, my ideal height is 5'10". I'd love just another inch. Be happy with your height!

    Hypertrophile saidBodybuilding favors shorter guys. ... I'm about 6 ft tall...


    Shorter than you. 5'9"-5'10" is average height.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 14, 2015 1:38 AM GMT
    I have been told that shorter guys can put on muscle alot faster than taller guys (such as myself) as their muscle tissue length ratio responds better and faster to weight lifting than guys who are taller as we have to technically work "harder" to achieve the same results of looking swole. This is because in taller guys there is more areas to cover than those who are shorter.

    "Shorter limbs will include a smaller distance for the tendons to pull the angle. It seems to be easier for these people to build muscle size and some strength quicker than people with longer limb extensions. Here's the catch, it takes the taller person a little longer to build the same appearance of muscle but, when they do, they will be a lot stronger and look more muscle bound than the short guy."
  • FitBlackCuddl...

    Posts: 800

    Dec 14, 2015 7:15 PM GMT
    Soccerboi saidI keep seeing on web articles and on some of the forums that height seems to plays a part to body building and determines which physique you should go after etc. For instance I hear being 5'10 is the 'ideal' height for body building,,forgive me for being naive asking this but why is that? I'm 5'10.5 and wish I was taller,,,I'd probably gain more muscle and weight easier.


    Visit some of the "gay musclebear" sites and note the height of the majority of men--it'll be 5'8 or 5'9. The bodies tend to be naturally well-balanced and proportionate versus a taller (more elongated) physique (like mine).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 14, 2015 11:34 PM GMT
    Simple physics... it takes more water to fill a bigger bucket.

    As for better proportions, this is a matter of taste. Taller guys tend to have wider shoulders which is a feature on its own, but that same feature makes it harder to have fuller pecs because the chest area is so vast.

    A 5'9 muscular guy looks great, but there's something ordinary about it. A tall muscular guy is just glorious.



    Edit: this was filmed by RJer Pat Lee!
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    Dec 14, 2015 11:37 PM GMT
    How could I have forgotten Sergi Constance?! icon_eek.gif

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    Dec 14, 2015 11:43 PM GMT
    bachian saidSimple physics...

    I've also wondered if there isn't also something about levers. Bigger guys have longer bones so it requires more work for them to use the same amount of weight. But that would only apply to things like bicep curls, side and front flys, leg extensions, etc. But squats not so much, although they do have to go farther up, so maybe it always applies.
  • Hypertrophile

    Posts: 1021

    Dec 15, 2015 12:36 AM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    bachian saidSimple physics...

    I've also wondered if there isn't also something about levers. Bigger guys have longer bones so it requires more work for them to use the same amount of weight. But that would only apply to things like bicep curls, side and front flys, leg extensions, etc. But squats not so much, although they do have to go farther up, so maybe it always applies.


    Absolutely. The distance you have to move the weight makes a difference in how much work it takes to move it.
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    Dec 15, 2015 2:07 AM GMT
    ^

    True! But even if taller guys need to work harder to lift the same weight than a shorter guy, at the end of the day, isn't the stress you impose on your muscle the ultimate drive for hypertrophy? Stress is relative not only to how much you're lifting but to your own strength.

    Suppose a tall and a short guy, both sedentary with no previous training arrive for their first day at the gym. The shorter guy can promptly lift 30% more than the tall guy, so that means he will grow more?

    They will probably grow the same. The tall one starts from below but grows all the way regardless. But after they both grow, say, 30lbs... who's gonna look bigger? The short one for sure. Same water on a smaller bucket makes it fuller.
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    Dec 15, 2015 4:31 AM GMT
    I like my lever theory because when I was lifting I couldn't lift as heavy a weight as the smaller guys. I always felt like it wasn't fair; for example, doing flys for my deltoids I can only use some dinky weights that are just right for a woman.   icon_razz.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 15, 2015 5:01 AM GMT
    Thank you to everyone who replied, who are nice enough to share your wealth of knowledge! I see so that's why my shorter friends seem to be getting results faster than me. Well I'm happy with my height...wish I was taller though lol icon_redface.gif
  • FitBlackCuddl...

    Posts: 800

    Dec 15, 2015 8:15 PM GMT
    bachian said^


    Suppose a tall and a short guy, both sedentary with no previous training arrive for their first day at the gym. The shorter guy can promptly lift 30% more than the tall guy, so that means he will grow more...but after they both grow, say, 30lbs... who's gonna look bigger? The short one for sure. Same water on a smaller bucket makes it fuller.


    And socially, THAT is what counts...the appearance of greater size and density.
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    Dec 15, 2015 11:26 PM GMT
    ^

    I'm trying to make this point... As a tall man you can grow as much as anyone, as fast as anyone, but because you have a greater volume to fill, you have to gain more weight to reach the same volume a short man achieves with less weight. To go this extra mile in muscle gains you need to wait longer, train harder, eat better and - if this your thing - juice more.

    Still on topic: to be a fitness model you better be tall (6'-6'1 being the sweet spot) It's not desirable being 5'8 if you plan to compete with Anton Antipov or Sergi Constance.

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    Dec 15, 2015 11:52 PM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal saidI like my lever theory because when I was lifting I couldn't lift as heavy a weight as the smaller guys. I always felt like it wasn't fair; for example, doing flys for my deltoids I can only use some dinky weights that are just right for a woman.   icon_razz.gif


    I like the idea, I'm just trying to understand why it has anything to do with how much a tall guy can grow. If you start weak that doesn't imply you won't grow (in weight) as much or as fast as a short guy, you're just starting from below. It's your height that will determine how much of your weight gain will translate into volume.
  • Hypertrophile

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    Dec 16, 2015 12:46 AM GMT
    bachian said
    Lumpyoatmeal saidI like my lever theory because when I was lifting I couldn't lift as heavy a weight as the smaller guys. I always felt like it wasn't fair; for example, doing flys for my deltoids I can only use some dinky weights that are just right for a woman.   icon_razz.gif


    I like the idea, I'm just trying to understand why it has anything to do with how much a tall guy can grow. If you start weak that doesn't imply you won't grow (in weight) as much or as fast as a short guy, you're just starting from below. It's your height that will determine how much of your weight gain will translate into volume.


    Clearly for a tall guy to have the same proportions as a short guy, he has to pack on a lot more muscle. I'd estimate that it's at least 10 lbs of bodyweight for each inch of height, so a 6' tall bodybuilder should have at least 40 lbs on a 5'8" competitor. That's no problem among us mere mortals, but at the national or pro levels, with guys 5'8" packing 250+lbs, it's hard for a tall man to put on enough muscle and maintain an aesthetic shape. This is why I'm optimistic about competing in the new Classic Physique division having height classes instead of weight classes.
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    Dec 16, 2015 1:52 AM GMT
    Hypertrophile saidThis is why I'm optimistic about competing in the new Classic Physique division having height classes instead of weight classes.

    Sorry to rain on your parade but I wouldn't get my hopes up; they've always shown an obvious preference for heavier/bigger guys. On a scale of 1 to 10 a big tall guy who's a 9 in aesthetics, balance, etc. will win overall over a short guy who's a perfect 10.

    I was always surprised at how Arnold would in over Franco Columbu for the overall title. Columbu had a perfect body. Arnold wasn't even a 9 in my book.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 16, 2015 2:44 AM GMT
    Hypertrophile saidClearly for a tall guy to have the same proportions as a short guy, he has to pack on a lot more muscle. I'd estimate that it's at least 10 lbs of bodyweight for each inch of height, so a 6' tall bodybuilder should have at least 40 lbs on a 5'8" competitor. That's no problem among us mere mortals, but at the national or pro levels, with guys 5'8" packing 250+lbs, it's hard for a tall man to put on enough muscle and maintain an aesthetic shape. This is why I'm optimistic about competing in the new Classic Physique division having height classes instead of weight classes.


    I don't know about USA but elsewhere the so called "Aesthetics" is trending strong. Monster builds will always have their place but I'm happy that many ambitious bodybuilders of today think the bloated look is passé.
  • Hypertrophile

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    Dec 16, 2015 1:41 PM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    Hypertrophile saidThis is why I'm optimistic about competing in the new Classic Physique division having height classes instead of weight classes.

    Sorry to rain on your parade but I wouldn't get my hopes up; they've always shown an obvious preference for heavier/bigger guys. On a scale of 1 to 10 a big tall guy who's a 9 in aesthetics, balance, etc. will win overall over a short guy who's a perfect 10.

    I was always surprised at how Arnold would in over Franco Columbu for the overall title. Columbu had a perfect body. Arnold wasn't even a 9 in my book.


    You're actually giving me more hope, saying that tall guys have the advantage. I disagree but I hope you're right.

    You could possibly argue that in the early days of the Mr. Olympia judging criteria was a work in progress. Not a stretch when you look at Sergio Oliva's physique. I don't give Arnold that much credit. I think his wins were more about selling magazines.
  • Hypertrophile

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    Dec 16, 2015 2:04 PM GMT
    bachian said
    Hypertrophile saidClearly for a tall guy to have the same proportions as a short guy, he has to pack on a lot more muscle. I'd estimate that it's at least 10 lbs of bodyweight for each inch of height, so a 6' tall bodybuilder should have at least 40 lbs on a 5'8" competitor. That's no problem among us mere mortals, but at the national or pro levels, with guys 5'8" packing 250+lbs, it's hard for a tall man to put on enough muscle and maintain an aesthetic shape. This is why I'm optimistic about competing in the new Classic Physique division having height classes instead of weight classes.


    I don't know about USA but elsewhere the so called "Aesthetics" is trending strong. Monster builds will always have their place but I'm happy that many ambitious bodybuilders of today think the bloated look is passé.


    What is happening here at the local level is the number of competitors entering bodybuilding competitions is dwindling (divisions with one or two competitors are not uncommon), while physique divisions are swelling. I think you're right about the "bloated look", but I know I'm not alone when I say that I still want to see guys posing with thicker, more powerful physiques than in the physique classes. The new classic division is an attempt to bridge the gap between "hardcore" bodybuilders and well-built swimmers.
  • jjguy05

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    Dec 17, 2015 12:59 AM GMT
    bachian saidSimple physics... it takes more water to fill a bigger bucket.



    Well, if we go by physics, then it shouldn't not the height of the guy that affects his lifting capabilities, but rather his dimensions. I.e. his shoulder width to arm length ratio, upper arm to lower arm ratio, etc...
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    Dec 17, 2015 1:03 AM GMT
    jjguy05 said
    bachian saidSimple physics... it takes more water to fill a bigger bucket.



    Well, if we go by physics, then it shouldn't not the height of the guy that affects his lifting capabilities, but rather his dimensions. I.e. his shoulder width to arm length ratio, upper arm to lower arm ratio, etc...


    One forgets Newton's fundamental law: Work is force applied over a distance.
  • jjguy05

    Posts: 459

    Dec 17, 2015 1:08 AM GMT
    woodsmen said
    jjguy05 said
    bachian saidSimple physics... it takes more water to fill a bigger bucket.



    Well, if we go by physics, then it shouldn't not the height of the guy that affects his lifting capabilities, but rather his dimensions. I.e. his shoulder width to arm length ratio, upper arm to lower arm ratio, etc...


    One forgets Newton's fundamental law: Work is force applied over a distance.


    But distance and work are relative. A short person will get more tired running a mile in ten minutes, than a tall person running the mile in the same time frame, assuming all else (body proportions, age, health, gender, training, diet, etc) are the same between the two individuals.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 17, 2015 1:26 AM GMT
    ^

    I'm not talking about strength but volume.
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    Dec 17, 2015 6:08 AM GMT
    ^ Using Newton's law, if the same force is used by a short guy as well as the tall guy, more work is required for the tall guy because of his height than the short guy.