Short people CAN have a relatively long femur, meaning, their thigh bone is longer than their torso — even if their overall height is way shorter than average.

As a former personal trainer, I am fascinated by the anthropometrics of long femurs as this relates to the squat and deadlift exercises, but am puzzled that so many people believe that only tall people can have long femurs that sabotage squatting.

John Kagwe, long-distance runner, 5’6″

Of course, a 6-4 person has a long thigh bone in the absolute sense, but not necessarily in the relative sense.

When it comes to the squat (or deadlift), relative length is the factor, as in length of femur relative to shin bone.

What about short people?

A short person can have a noticeably long femur relative to his or her shin bone length.

If you take notice of enough people in shorts or leggings, you’ll sooner or later come upon a short person whose femurs are disproportionately long for either their torso or their shins.

Now check out the thigh bones of very tall people, RELATIVE to their shins! Some of them have noticeably short femurs (and thus, lengthy shins).

Being tall does not necessarily screw up your ability to squat or deadlift.

  • With the tall person’s longer thigh bone (in the absolute sense!), also comes a longer shin and longer torso to go with it.
  • And the longer shin and longer torso balance things out.

A short athlete can have a femur that’s longer than his or her torso, making the parallel squat more challenging.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 
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