It’s a commonly held belief that if you are tall, it’s much harder to build muscle. This is because people assume that because you are taller, you also have longer limbs and a much larger wingspan.
The longer your arms, the harder it is to lift weights and achieve a full range of motion, right? Maybe. But does this really affect the ability to build muscle? That answer is maybe again.
It all depends on who you are as an individual when it comes to building muscle in general. If you’re an ectomorph or a smaller person with shorter arms, then the answer is yes — being tall makes it harder for you to build muscle.
However, if you are an endomorphic body type (larger in stature), and have short arms as well, then no — being tall won’t make it any harder for you to build muscle. In fact, if anything it might be easier to develop that V- shape we all love so much! Let’s dive deeper into why this could be so…
What Is the Deal with Ectomorphs and Endomorphic Body Types?
Before we go any deeper into the idea that tall guys have a harder time building muscle than shorter guys, we first have to understand what endomorphy and ectomorphy are.
Endomorphy is when your body naturally stores more energy as fat, has a higher metabolism, and needs more calories to sustain itself than ectomorphs. Ectomorphs, on the other hand, are usually smaller, have a slower metabolism, and need fewer calories to sustain themselves than endomorphs.
Being an endomorph or ectomorph has nothing to do with your height. It’s about your body type and how your metabolism functions with your intake of calories.
People with an endomorphic body type have wider waists, shorter arms, and longer legs than ectomorphs. Ectomorphs have longer arms and shorter legs than endomorphs.
How Does Being Tall Make It Harder to Build Muscle for Ectomorphs?
As we just learned, endomorphs have a faster metabolism than ectomorphs. The longer your arms are, the more room you have to move those arms around, which in turn burns more calories.
The more calories you burn off, the less you have to eat to sustain yourself. If you’re an ectomorph, you need to eat more to keep up with your body’s needs and sustain a higher metabolism.
The average ectomorph might be 5’ 10” and weigh 130 pounds, while the average endomorph is 6’ tall and weighs 170 pounds. Now let’s look at how that plays into how hard it is for ectomorphs to build muscle.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Longer limbs mean a longer range of motion when lifting weights. This means it’s going to be harder to lift a certain amount of weight and achieve a full range of motion if your arms are longer.
- Longer limbs also mean having a larger wingspan, which means you’ll have to do more reps of a given exercise to get the same amount of muscle building that somebody with shorter arms would get in fewer reps.
All these things together mean it’s going to be harder for ectomorphs to build muscle than endomorphs.
How Does Being Tall Make It Easier to Build Muscle for Endomorphs?
Endomorphs have a slower metabolism than ectomorphs. Because of this, it’s easier for them to put on weight because they have a higher potential for building fat. In fact, it’s estimated that it only takes about 500 extra calories per day for an endomorph to gain a pound of fat.
Now let’s look at how that plays into how easy it is for endomorphs to build muscle.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Longer limbs mean a longer range of motion when lifting weights. This means it’s going to be easier to lift a certain amount of weight and achieve a full range of motion if your arms are longer.
- Longer limbs also mean having a larger wingspan, which means you’ll have to do fewer reps of a given exercise, which means more gains.
All these things together mean it’s going to be easier for endomorphs to build muscle than ectomorphs.
The Good News: You Can Actually Benefit from Being Taller
Okay, so if it’s harder for ectomorphs to build muscle because of their larger wingspan and longer limbs, and it’s easier for endomorphs to build muscle because of their larger wingspan, does that mean tall guys have it all figured out?
Ectomorphs and endomorphs actually have one thing in common: they are more likely to be shorter. Let’s do a quick check in the room: Who here is under 5’ 9”? Yup, that’s what we thought. Ectomorphs and endomorphs are both shorter than the average height of 5’ 10”, while tall guys are usually 6’ or taller.
This means that while it’s harder for ectomorphs to build muscle and easier for endomorphs to build muscle, tall guys are in the middle. They can benefit from both, so they’re in a pretty good position to build muscle.
Read: Should Tall Guys Sumo Deadlift?
The Bad News: It Is Harder To Build Muscle If You Are a Taller Person
We just talked about how the longer your limbs are, the harder it is to build muscle. Tall guys are more likely to be ectomorphs, which means they’re already starting off with a disadvantage when it comes to building muscle.
Ectomorphs also need to consume more calories because of their faster metabolism and higher potential for gaining fat. And as we just discovered, tall guys have it harder than shorter guys when it comes to building muscle.
Why Is It Harder to Build Muscle If You Are Tall?
The reason it’s harder to build muscle if you’re a taller person is because of those long limbs. This means you’re going to have a longer range of motion when lifting weights compared to somebody with shorter arms.
That means it’s harder to lift a certain amount of weight and achieve a full range of motion, which is what you’re aiming for when lifting weights.
But why does that matter? Well, you have to lift enough weight to challenge yourself and be able to complete a full range of motion. If you don’t, then you’re not doing your muscles any good.
If you’re using too much weight and not being able to complete a full range of motion, then you’re actually putting yourself at risk for injury because you’re lifting too much weight. Nothing good can come from that.
Strategies for Guys Who Are Tall and Want to Build Muscle
If you’re a taller guy and want to build muscle, you’re going to have to put in a little extra effort.
Here are some strategies you can try out to help you get there:
- Use lighter weights to complete a full range of motion.
- Stay consistent with your workouts.
All of these strategies are meant to help you complete a full range of motion with lighter weights so that you aren’t putting yourself at risk for injury due to lifting too much.
Bottom Line: Can Tall Guys Build Muscle?
Can tall guys build muscle? Yes, but it may take them a little longer, require some extra effort, and require a different approach compared to shorter guys.
That being said, you don’t have to let your height determine whether or not you can build muscle. With the right approach and the right amount of time and effort, you can achieve your muscle-building goals.