Tall Order

By Coach Billie

As many of you know, I have a taller husband:  he’s right at 6’0 and me, well I come in at 5’4 on a good day. He joined CrossFit about 6 months after I did and I was so excited and just knew he would love it…WRONG.. Some of his first words were, “Are you kidding me, this is a short person sport. I’m too tall for this stuff.” I actually watered his words down a bit, he was a tad bit more harsh. But, all I could think was “suck it up, you’re just mad I’m better at this than you are.” As months go by he continues to suggest that this is not for tall people. AND like always, he was right. There is a huge difference in CrossFit for short and tall people. CrossFit is a sport and in any sport you have short and tall people. With that, there are always advantages and disadvantages.

The biggest disadvantage that I see in taller athletes is their ROM (range of motion). My husband’s range of motions is a lot bigger than mine. He has to go a lot further down and up than I do. ROM widely affects any of the squatting movements: Air squats, front squats, back squats, overhead squats, thrusters and pistols. Not only do their long legs hurt them but their huge wing span makes it hard for anything over head. This makes them have to go more inches up and down when they lock out on any of the presses: strict press, push press, push jerk, HSPU and bench press. However, the two biggest movements that will get the most fuss out of my husband on height disadvantage are the deadlift and burpees. I can literally do two to his one! Thank you 6 inch short advantage.

So as you can see the barbell isn’t kind to the taller CrossFit athlete. They do however kick butt in mono-structural work: Rowing, wall balls, box jumps, rope climbs, GHD sit ups and swimming. With this being said, it doesn’t mean that tall people shouldn’t CrossFit, it just means you may have to work a little harder. That’s what will make those victories even sweeter – especially when you beat those shorter athletes.

Stay tuned for our article on the struggles of the short CrossFit athlete…


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