Why Are Most Bodybuilders Shorter Than Average Height?

  • By: Dave Moffat
  • Date: June 10, 2023
Why Are Most Bodybuilders Shorter Than Average Height?

Many people have noticed that bodybuilders tend to be shorter than the average height, leading to curiosity about the reasons behind this phenomenon.

Understanding the factors contributing to this observation can help provide insights into the world of bodybuilding and the physical attributes that contribute to success in the sport.

In this blog post, we will explore the various aspects that might explain why many bodybuilders appear to be shorter than the general population.

Iconic Past Bodybuilders and There Height

Throughout the history of bodybuilding, there has been a wide range of heights among successful competitors.

Many iconic bodybuilders, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger (6’2″ / 188 cm) and Ronnie Coleman (5’11” / 180 cm), have stood taller than the average height for men in their respective countries.

However, there have also been numerous accomplished bodybuilders who were under six feet tall, such as Franco Columbu (5’5″ / 165 cm) and Lee Priest (5’4″ / 163 cm).

This diverse range of heights demonstrates that success in bodybuilding is not solely determined by height but rather by a combination of factors, including muscle mass, symmetry, and overall conditioning.

Notable deviations from the average height range, like shorter or taller bodybuilders, often resulted in unique physiques that allowed them to stand out in competitions.

For example, shorter bodybuilders typically possess a more compact, densely muscled appearance, while taller competitors may display longer, more sweeping muscle bellies.

These differences in the physique can impact judging criteria and individual success in the sport.

bodybuilder height comparision

Factors That Can Contribute to Bodybuilders Height


Genetics play a significant role in determining a person’s height. Some individuals are genetically predisposed to be shorter than others due to inherited traits from their parents.

These genetic factors can also influence muscle growth and overall physique, making it easier for some shorter individuals to build muscle mass and achieve a more muscular appearance.

As a result, shorter individuals may be more inclined to pursue bodybuilding as a sport or hobby, further contributing to the perception that bodybuilders tend to be shorter than average.


Hormones such as testosterone, human growth hormone (HGH), and cortisol play crucial roles in growth and development during puberty and beyond.

Testosterone is known to promote muscle growth, while HGH stimulates cell reproduction and regeneration, which contributes to overall growth. Cortisol, on the other hand, can have negative effects on growth when present in excessive amounts.

Some bodybuilders might use anabolic steroids or other hormone supplements to enhance their muscle growth and performance.

However, these substances can disrupt the natural hormonal balance in the body, potentially affecting growth, particularly when used at a young age.

Weightlifting and Growth

Weightlifting is a central component of bodybuilding, but excessive weightlifting can disrupt natural growth, especially during adolescence when growth plates are still open.

Heavy lifting puts tremendous stress on the bones, joints, and muscles, which can cause the growth plates to close prematurely, resulting in stunted growth.

This is more likely to occur if the individual engages in intense weightlifting routines without proper supervision or guidance.

Diet and Nutrition

Diet and nutrition play a vital role in growth and development. A poor diet lacking essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals can hinder growth and contribute to shorter stature.

Bodybuilders often follow strict diets focusing on high protein intake and specific macronutrient ratios to optimize muscle growth.

However, if these diets are not well-balanced or lack essential nutrients, they can potentially impact overall growth and height.

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Hi, I'm Dave Moffat the founder and Chief Editor of steroidsourcetalk.com and certified International Personal Trainer and Certified Nutritionist. My passion has always been bodybuilding but with 15 years' experience in weight loss programs too, it's hard not to mention all that when you're working at your fitness level fullest (I hope). When Im not in the gym or spending time away from my family i often think about what advice would help others achieve theirs goals just like these inspired mine.