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.
If you’re 5’8″ or under, we have good news for you: You’re better at working out. When it comes to lifting weights, a stouter guy doesn’t have to travel as far during moves like squats, bench presses, and deadlifts compared with a guy who is 6′ or taller.
Because of this, you can lift heavier weights with a better form for more reps. Also, a shorter range of motion means that shorter guys can achieve better positioning, which reduces the chance of injury. But we’re not here to help you move big weights. So grab your jumbo-size buddy and show him up by tackling these seven weights-free moves.
They’re a true testament to the explosive power and a great way to get more out of the chest and triceps than normal pushups. Small guys don’t have to deal with insane eccentric forces on their landing, which can impact a bigger guy’s joints and connective tissue and risk injury.
- From the bottom of a pushup, explosively press up until your hands leave the floor.
- Aim for maximum height off the floor using good form.
- You may clap (as shown), but keep in mind a missed rep could break your fingers.
- Instead, you should let the hands stay where they started and prepare to cushion the landing.
- 3–5 x 15 seconds.
Easy—because you probably can, and everyone else probably can’t. Long legs and long ranges of motion make pistol squats near impossible for tall—heck, even average-size—guys. And this move is worth doing, as it works one leg at a time and can correct size and symmetry imbalances.
- Hold one leg out in front of you, with both arms extended in front of you for counterbalance.
- Sit back on your grounded leg and squat down slowly.
- Don’t let the knee cave inward.
- Reach full depth and return to your start position.
- 3 x 6–8 (per leg).
This is a fantastic demonstration of strength, control, and stability. Shorter arms and lighter bodyweight make this much more possible than having to struggle with 200-plus pounds and a greater distance to travel.
- Plant your hands on the floor next to your head and kick up so that your feet are resting against the wall in a pushup position.
- Set your arms farther out so that your hands are at, or slightly wider than, shoulder width.
- Slide up and down the wall as you perform inverted presses.
- Your head should nearly reach the floor on each rep.
- Feel free to place a mat under your contact point.
- 3–5 x AMRAP.
These absolutely brutalize the core, and due to a lifter’s shorter height, they impose far less strain on the lower back than they do on a taller, longer-legged body.
- Set up on the floor with your hands secured around an immovable object.
- (You can also lie on a bench as long as there’s a secure place to hold on to.)
- Lever your entire body up as one rigid unit, until you’re nearly vertical, and lower yourself slowly to the floor, using your abs to brace.
- Your body shouldn’t “break”—it should appear as a straight line from shoulders to toes.
- 3 x 6–8.
Ab Wheel Rollout:
Rollouts zero in on anti-extension core strength, and shorter guys have less of a risk of hurting their lower backs since they don’t have to travel as far.
- Set your ab wheel close to your body while kneeling on the floor.
- Keep a round back so your rib cage stays packed and not flared.
- Leading with your hips, “fall” in toward the floor, reaching overhead with the ab wheel.
- At full extension, pull hard with the arms to bring the wheel back in.
- If you’re a real rock star, then try doing these rollouts from a standing position, as shown, and not while kneeling.
- 3 x 6–10.
The ring dip creates an immense amount of instability—resulting in more muscle damage and therefore more growth—but is easier for guys with a reduced range of motion.
- These are performed like normal dips but on rings.
- It’s important to keep your shoulders brushing the straps that hold the rings at all times.
- If you don’t feel the straps rubbing against you, it won’t be easy to complete reps.
- 3 x AMRAP.
These pullups have the lifter pull their chest all the way up to the bar, requiring a more exaggerated range of motion—the payoff is a better lat contraction.
- Start from a dead-hang position as with a typical pullup, then pull while simultaneously raising your body to face the ceiling.
- Your goal should be to make your body as horizontal as possible to combine a pullup with an inverted row.
- Make contact on the lower chest.
- Return to the start position.
- 3 x AMRAP.