Feb 9th, 2008
By Mike Minium
The short guy taking on the tall guy
I saw this a couple of days ago on CrossFit NYC’s website.
Science has finally proven what many of you probably already suspected: short people have an advantage on pull-ups.
Here’s the abstract:
J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2008 Mar;48(1):37-42.
Chin-up strength tests: does stature matter?
Sekerak RJ, Zimmermann KP.
Rehabilitation Services, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand firstname.lastname@example.org.
AIM: Many organizations place high value on employee physical fitness and use standardized physical fitness tests (PFT) to quantify it. The chin-up strength test is an example of such a test. Participants’ anecdotal reports raise some concern that the latter is inherently biased against tall individuals. A demonstration that tall individuals are less likely than short individuals to achieve maximum score on a chin-up strength test, and modified scoring tables that equalize this likelihood across the stature range are sought. METHODS: A statistical summary of 85 chin-up test outcomes is analyzed for likelihood of maximum scores as a function of stature. Scoring tables modified by reducing the number of chin-ups required for maximum score in a ratio inverse to a fixed power of the stature ratios are introduced. RESULTS: Statistical analysis shows that short individuals are more likely to achieve maximum chin-up test scores (P<0.05). Stature adjusted scoring tables are shown to neutralize this trend. CONCLUSION: Current scoring standards for chin-up strength tests favor short statures. Bias-free chin-up strength tests can be achieved by using stature-adjusted scoring tables. Similar bias problems may exist for other strength tests.
PMID: 18212708 [PubMed – in process]
Post your thoughts to comments on other exercises in which the short person might have an advantage. Also post to comments exercises in which the tall person might have an advantage.