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You've heard it from your mom your whole life: You're special. And you are, as far as weight training is concerned, anyway. Every body is different - some respond well to one kind of exercise, while another exercise can be downright dangerous. For the best long-term gains, you need to find which exercises are the most effective and safest for how you're built. The following two routines will help you on this journey, offering examples of how a taller, long-limbed guy can train for the best results, and how a shorter, stockier man should go about it.
How It Works
If you 6' or more, with long arms and legs, you're going to have trouble with classic barbell exercises like the bench press and back squat. You're simply not built to perform those lifts efficiently. You'll likely do better with the dumbbell bench press, which allows your hands to move freely, making for a safer and more comfortable movement pattern for the shoulders and elbows. At the same time, front squatting will be easier on your lower back and will allow you to squat deeper.
Stockier guys, around 5'10" and shorter, who have naturally broader shoulders and shorter limbs, may need to extend their range of motion on certain exercises to activate the most muscle. Bulgarian split squats will stretch out their hips while working more leg muscle. They can also take advantage of ab rollouts. Because short arms don't have to reach far, rollouts won't overextend the lower back as they can on a tall guy.
Choose the workout that's appropriate for your height and limb lengths - for example, if you're 6' or more, go with the taller-man workout; if you're built like a D battery, use the other routine. Exercises marked "A" and "B" are alternated, so you'll do one set of A, rest as needed, then one set of B, rest, and repeat until all sets of the pairs are completed.
1A) - Front Squat, 4 sets of 6-8 reps
1B) - Low-Incline Dumbbell Press, 4 x 6-8.
2A) Close-Grip Chinup, 4 x 8-10
2B) Reverse Lunge From Deficit, 4 x 10 each leg -
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand on a box or other platform that's six to eight inches above the floor. Step backward off the box and drop into a lunge, lowering your body until our front thigh is parallel to the floor and your rear knee nearly touches the ground.
3) - Dumbbell Angled Press, 4 x 10
Grasp a light dumbbell of kettlebell in each hand and, keeping your lower back slightly arched, push your hips back until your torso makes a 45-degree angle. Hold the weight at shoulder level as you would to do a normal overhead press and then press it at that angle. Hold the end position for a second or two.
1A) Deficit Deadlift, 4 x 10
Place a weight plate or low box on the floor and stand on it with feet hip width so you're raised two to three inches. Roll a barbell up to your shins and bend down to grasp it outside your knees. Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, extend your hips to stand up with the bar in front of you.
1B) Weighted Dip, 4 x 10
2A) Bulgarian Split Squat, 4 x 10 each leg
2B) Suspended (ring) Pushup, 4 x 10
3A) Straight-Leg Hip Thrust 4 x 12-15
Lie on your back on the floor and rest your heels on a box with legs extended. Brace your abs and deive your heels into the box to raise your hips so your body forms a straight line.
3B) Ab Wheel Rollout, 4 x 8
4) Turkish Getup, reps for 5 minutes.