This is going to be a series focused on building an effective technique for all 3 lifts as a tall lifter.
In case you were unaware I am 6’6 240 ish pounds and I compete in the USAPL as a 231 Jr. Over the last 2 years, I have added almost 500 pounds to my total and achieved a 600+ deadlift and achievement I am very proud of. While I am certainly not the most strong, proficient or experienced but, I have certainly found out a lot about adapting this sport for a person of a taller and perhaps lankier build.
First, a few caveats that carry across all 3 lifts.
- Weight gain usually means strength and technique gains
Obviously, for any lifter gaining weight will be beneficial for the most part. This is especially important as a taller lifter. Moving from 190lbs to 240lbs over the past 2 years has made a dramatic difference for my strength and comfort under the bar. While the myth of improving your leverages is clearly false, having a higher body weight will help you reduce your ROM and also accommodate having a better position under and over the bar. Ray Williams and Dennis Cornelius are good examples, both very large and tall men. But, working on having a huge back they are both able to create very effective shelves and squat huge. But, putting weight on as a tall lifter can be tough for me I am a hard gainer and I have to eat a lot to put on weight so just be patient and progressively gain to support your training.
2. Individualization is key
There are 1000 different ways to do anything in life and that is certainly also the case in powerlifting. While it may be really popular to wear Olympic shoes and have a huge arch in the bench, this might not work for your body so ultimately there is no shortcut for experimentation.
3. Cut down on the accessories
Recovery is tough for taller lifters and most of us tall folk are less able to handle reps than our shorter compatriates. Mainly due to the longer length of our reps and the increased energy required to do the movements so mitigate some of the strain by taking out more accessories as you move into meet preparation phases.