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Building Tall Strength

by Alex Sinanan |

Our previous blog talked about some of the challenges facing tall guys eating enough. And here's why.

Active guys need muscle for power, endurance, postural support and damage protection (everybody falls down sometime!). Tall guys living in a short world designed for smaller folks need to train to maintain their posture.

While tall guys tend to be good at dynamic metabolic activities like basketball, rowing and running it's important to build a solid strength base to support your posture, ensure good body dynamics and surviving crashes and other mishaps. Strength training builds postural stability to provide the structure to drive your energy forward.

 

I'm an avid mountain biker and snowboarder. In my experience I find that being stronger makes these other pursuits way way more fun. But ironically when I have more fun I do them more often and eventually I lose the strength and end up having less fun. Which leads to the quandary of doing a thing that's less fun to have more fun. It's a perfect time to learn how to adjust your thinking around hard training.
 

The godfather of functional endurance-strength-hardman training, Mark Twight

 

In my experience effective training has three main pillars.
 

Structural/Postural 

It all starts with the core. 

You need to work from the inside out to maximize balance, body control and proprioception. Pilates, MVMTLAB Ground Control and yoga are all great tools for developing body control and balance. These basic movement patterns provide the foundation for heavier lifts.Even when I'm at max strength/fitness I try to get 1-2 session of pilates/Ground Control per week to keep my fine patterns working well.

 

Image courtesy of @6foot8yoga and the Navas tall yoga blog


Pure Strength

Focus on major multi-joint lifts like the barbell back squat, deadlift and press. Tall guys need to tie the whole system together and require the neurological hit to build muscle. You don't need bicep curls and tricep extensions. Tall guys need to skip the machines (which don't fit anyhow!) and go big. Big multi-joint lifts bring a great focus to body bracing and breath control both of which are key to good posture. You've got lot of leverage so the same weight is actually requiring more work for you than a shorter person.

To the extent that sport is an ongoing process means that you're likely to push too hard sometimes. Crashing, falling down or getting hit ... these things happen. Strength, good bracing and breath control, staying calm under duress all help you survive these moments. Train hard enough to make these moments seem easy by comparison.

 

Mark Rippetoe is a master strength coach and quotable PITA
 

Dynamic power

Fast and heavy speed movements like cleans and kettlebell training for building versatility. 

Make sure you get some coaching before you start swinging those bells!

Rest

    Big bodies need big rest. Big long sleeps and lots of food will help you grow.

    Be gently active on days off.

    Train hard, pancake harder!