Why Do Shorter Lifters Squat With Ease?

As I scan the room looking at my Pump Class, I can’t help but notice the variations in people’s squats.

But one thing is clear. 

The shorter people tend to squat better than taller people. You might be thinking it’s an issue with skill or the taller people were probably “newbies” my class that day.

Not so. Across all classes, squats seem to be performed with ease by shorter people.

If I refer to my anatomy and biomechanics, it really does make sense and I will show you how. In an undated article by Ross, the author concluded “For the same weight lifted, taller lifters must generate approximately 25% more torque, which explains why taller lifters tend to be relatively poorer squatters.” 

In other words, I can think of “torque” as related to the lever length from the hip to the knee joint. My friend Katie is the perfect example of this. She has an unusually long thigh bone (femur) and for her, squats feels very uncomfortable. 

As for myself, I have a relatively short femur and I have always loved squatting as it feels really natural and easy. As a Group Fitness Instructor, it’s important I never take a movement pattern and think everyone will intrinsically feel the same as I do. 

The take home message would be to not create a one-size-fits-all approach to the squat pattern. Learn to look at all people’s bodies and give the appropriate cues.


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