01 June 2014

Manlet Power!!

Bushwick Bill, what do you do when muthafuckas underestimate your size, man?

No one on Earth could possibly bear the shame of being one of these guys.

Ah, the internet- on the one hand, a boon to humanity by placing an unimaginable amount of information and pornography at one's fingertips, while on the other hand a megaphone for the least intelligent, least well educated, saddest, useless, violently dogmatic, and unimaginative troglodytes by which they can pollute the zeitgeist with their cretinous thoughts.  By far and away the worst cesspools in which these halfwits congregate are messageboards, on which people with absolutely no justification for holding an opinion about anything feel free to spew their idiocy to the detriment of their fellow man, and it was here that the concept of a manlet was born.  Variously described as a man shorter than 6', 5'7", or 5'5", and usually described as weighing under 200 lbs, manlets have become the whipping boys of the chubby internet warriors of lifting messageboards, who assert (wrongly) that anyone of those dimensions could not possibly know what they're talking about in regards to lifting.

Who wouldn't smash the granny out of Bridget the Midget?

Why this phenomenon began is a mystery I highly doubt anyone cares enough to resolve.  It could be the propensity for neophytes obsessed with having ripped abs at a bodyweight that would shame an Olsen twin into eating to ask stupid questions of their equally clueless peers, or perhaps it's the result of rampant outrage by people who are both weak and fat at the audacity one might have to simply be weak rather than fat, or it could simply be the outgrowth of the repeatedly discredited theory of the Napoleonic complex.  Whatever the source of the manlet concept, however, it's high time one of us jacked dwarves climbed atop a stepladder and reasserted the dominance over strength sports we've rightly held for much of human history.

Yeah, Maxick sucked- he only weighed 145!  Nevermind the fact he continentalled 340, bro beans.  He was a manlet.  Doesn't count.

The dominance we've held, you ask?  Pish posh!  Short motherfuckers have never dominated strength sports, have they?  As it happens, yeah, we kind of have- it's just that no one's noticed because you can't see us.  Here's a short list of "manlets" of note:

First of all I laugh...
Mr. Olympias:

1977-1979 Frank Zane 5'7", 185 lbs.  In spite of the fact that he was skinny and only trained for aesthetics (though he did do one proto-powerlifting meet in the 1960s and hit a 425 deadlift, 285 bench press and 155 curl weighing 175), Zane was still capable of hitting 375 for ten on the squat, reps with 220 on seated behind the neck presses, and high rep dips with a couple of plates strapped to his waist.  Certainly these aren't massive strength feats, but they would generally tend to indicate he was far more skilled a lifter than the vast majority of internet message board chumps.

1976, 1981 Franco Columbo 5'3", 185 lbs.  If you don't know who Franco is, you might want to just find a nice place to lay down and die.  Well, read this first, then go die. 

1982 Chris Dickerson 5'5", 189 lbs.  Frankly, I have no idea how strong Dickerson was- there isn't much information online about it.  What I can tell you, however, is that dude trained more on your average Tuesday than most lifters do in a week- according to the anti-broscientists of the interwebs, Dickerson shouldn't have lived past the first Thursday of a training cycle.

1983 Samir Bannout, 5'5", 193 lbs.  Feel free to call Samir Bannout a bitch.  He was a decent oly lifter and rocked insanely strict bent over rows with 315 for sets of 20.  If there's a lifter on the internet who's ever even attempted a set like that with that weight and "calls out manlets" on the regular, I'll eat my fucking laptop


Maxick 5'3", 147 lbs.  Everyone worth a shit already knows who Maxick is, which virtually gurantees the dipshits on message boards don't.  School those stupid sons of bitches.

Hermann Saxon 5'8", 168 lbs and Kurt Saxon 5'8", 170 lbs.  Though you'd vener know from their bodyweights, these motherfuckers could eat.  Training for hours a day burned a lot of calories, and they ate even more than they lifted, it seemed.  Both of these guys were massively strong, trained and performed with Arthur Saxon, and were accomplish acrobats and wrestlers as well- Hermann could jump forward or backward over a dining table at will.    Who gives a fuck what they weighed?  They were out-drinking, out-eating, out-fucking, and out-lifting everyone else on the planet for years.

Joe "The Mighty Atom" Greenstein 5'4", 140 lbs.  Bizarrely attired and overly hirsute Joe Greenstein is apparently one of the most famous strongmen of the 20th century, though I don't think I've ever heard his name mentioned in any conversation about strongmen.  Nevertheless, this tiny little Jewish immigrant drew huge crowds for his feats of strength, and both survived a gunshot wound to the forehead (his skull didn't even crack) and beat down 18 Nazis simultaneously armed with nothing but a baseball bat and a bellyfull of hate.  Dat Bear Jew rage.

Stumpy Raynes 5'4", 300 lbs.  I wonder how long a keyboard warrior would live after calling Stumpy a "manlet" to his face.  Stumpy competed at 242 in powerlifting (posting a solid 836 squat and 814 deadlift), qualified for the WSM on his first attempt and finished in 10th place in 2001, in spite of the fact he is too short to see over any of the boxes for the stone load, rocks a 363 Log Lift and a 385 Apollon's Axle, and has a pile of bodybuilding medals.  One might say that he didn't do much as a strongman, but his 10th place finish in 2001 is basically on par with Spudd Webb's win at the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk competition, given the massive handicap his height gave him. 

Olympic Weightlifters:

John Grimek 5'8", 195 lbs.  John "The Fucking Manlet" Grimek- Again, if you don't know, you ought to.  
Pyrros Dimas 5'8", 181 lbs.  As a Greek Albanian, one would have expected Dimas to have a long and unremarkable career as an unemployed car thief with a penchant for chugging olive oil.  Instead of going into what seems to be the only lines of work available to Greeks and Albanians, however, Dimas decided to get off his ass and set some records in Olympic weightlifting, collecting three golds and a bronze in four consecutive Olympics

Naim Süleymanoğlu 4'10", 137 lbs.  Chain-smoking Turkish weightlifting juggernaut Süleymanoğlu earned himself the nickname "Pocket Hercules" in his quest to nab three golds in Olympic weightlfting over three Olympics for two different countries.  Tiny, swarth, and covered in that uniquely southern European hair shirt, Süleymanoğlu is a diminutive legend with whom no one can fuck.

Kim Un Guk 5'2", 137 lbs.  North Korea's worth about as much to the world as a hobo's boot used by gay foot fetishist homeless men as a cum receptacle, but Kim Un Guk is an exception to the DPRK's nearly flawless record of making Transnistria seem like a coveted vacation destination.  In the last Olympics, Guk's first, Guk managed to set a world record total while tying the World Record and setting a new Olympic Record in the snatch.


Larry Pacifico 5'6" 198 lbs - 242 lbs.  Larry Pacifico, at 5'6" and 198 lbs, is not going to earn any cred on Bodybuilding.com, but that's cool- he's just a manlet to whom Bill Kazmaier referred as a "god" of powerlifting.  One of the greatest lifters ever, Pacifico was an unstoppable beast on the platform and remains a world record holder in the total at 242 lbs... in spite of the horrible tragedy that was his height, apparently.

Ernie Frantz 5'5" 165-220lbs.  The founder of the APF and possessor of one of the best sets of calves in history, Frantz was still pulling 600 in competition at age 70 and squatted 516 at age 74.  To call him a beast simply wouldn't do the man justice- he's more like a demigod.  
Other manlets of note:

Danny Padilla, 5'2", 190lbs at his heaviest.  Danny trained 6 days a week with massive volume and extremely short rests.  He's been caught on video squatting 405 for sets of twelve weighing under 190, and benched 450 when he was closer to 180 lbs.  Yeah, sounds like something that motherfucker ought to be ashamed of.  If he sucked any harder he'd likely spend all of his time in his parents' basement talking shit on Bodybuilding.com.

Eddie Robinson, 5'6", 220lbs.  Like Padilla and Platz, Robinson began his career as a powerlifter, and was a fucking good one.  At one point, Robinson held world records in the bench press as a teenager, hitting 575 and 610 on the bench rocking nothing thicker than a t-shirt.  Apparently Robinson hated bodybuilding, but it was the only way for him to get paid to lift, so he set about becoming a staple in Weider mags for ten years... mostly for training like a total psychopath.

Tom Platz, 5'8" 195lbs.  Platz began his career as a powerlifter and won the State Championships in Michigan in powerlifting's hypercompetitive late 1970s scene.  Thereafter, he became well known for his squatting prowess after learning to squat under the great Norbert Schmansky and constantly training legs with olympic weightlifters.  Platz was hugely strong for a sub 200 lifter- during his precontest prep for the 1986 Mr. Olympia, Platz busted out a set of 15 reps with 635 without knee wraps or a suit, and reportedly had a 765 single at one point.  I suppose this means we can just toss out the "no one under 200 lbs knows shit about training" bit, right?

Marvin Eder, 5'7" 190 lbs.  Eder was a strength athlete and bodybuilder at a time when no one really gave much of a shit about either, and he moved more weight than most people could possibly fucking conceive, just because fuck gravity, that's why.  He could do a strict press with 330, bench 515 at a time when bench presses barely existed, and even at 75 years of age was still dipping with 70 lbs chained to his waist.  To call him a monster among men does the man about as much credit as calling internet warriors dickless bitches- there just isn't enough hyperbole on the planet to adequately describe either.
As if that weren't a strong enough pedigree, Chris Beardsley did some interesting regressions in an effort to determine if there was a trend in height and weight among bodybuilders.  As you can see, there really isn't much of a strong correlation.  What you can see, however, is that fully half of the Mr. Americas in the 30 years after the invention of the television were under 200 lbs and roughly a quarter of them were also under 5'8".

Then I smack their ass like a goddamned car crash.  So if you wanna try your luck, come on- play pussy gets fucked.

While that should lay to rest any contention that being under 200 lbs or under a given height makes your achievements illegitimate, the endlessly bloviating, inarticulate, hyper-toughguys of the internets will still likely contend that any success "manlets" have had is due to the fact that it is apparently easier for shorter people to put on muscle than taller people- a contention that is as unscientific as it as mind-boggingly illogical.  This isn't fucking Warhammer- it's not as though we dwarves issue forth from the womb in an arterial spray, full beaded, wielding a giant hammer and 17" arms.  Quite to the contrary, most of us held very little muscle naturally and were incredibly slight growing up- the myth that we magically pile on muscle and move massive weights is just that- a fucking myth.

Nor does height even play that significant a role in lifting- it's limb length, not height, that truly determines a lifter's potential, and joint size that determines how much muscle one can attain.  Short legs and short arms are critical in barbell sports, as shorter limbs ensure the lifter doesn't have to move the bar as far (Cole).  Beyond that, a variety of other factors play a massive role in strength, and none of them are height related:
  • Muscle fiber composition.  The ratio of type I to Type IIa and Type IIb muscle fibers plays a key role in a lifter's strength (Butt).
  • Muscle fiber thickness.  The number of muscle fibers appears to have far less to do with one's strength than does the thickness of the muscle fibers (Butt).  
  • Muscle length.  The longer a muscle fiber, the stronger it is (Haffajee).
  • Joint angle.  The angle of joint flexion constantly changes the force curve generated by the muscle being flexed (Haffajee and Progressive).
  • Speed of contraction.  The speed of contraction is going to be, in many way, dependent upon the aforementioned muscle fiber composition (Butt).
  • Connective tissue (everything from the site of attachment to tendon and ligament strength and thickness).  The stronger the connective tissue, the greater load a muscle can bear (Butt).

Conversely, shit like testosterone doesn't correlate with height at all, and neither does strength.  How anyone developed an idea to the contrary is beyond me, but it's time to put that retarded baby back in the dumpster where the morons of the internet seem to have discovered it and held it aloft as the savior of every idiotic conversation they'll ever have about lifting.  If anything, shorter guys have to try harder than people of average height to achieve similar gains.  As such, their opinions should actually hold more, rather than less weight.

Joanna Angel, fully awesome and not a fucking hair over 4'11".

While we're on the subject of opinions that should hold no weight, we might as well address the tired old argument about range of motion.  This failure pile of shitty logic usually comes wrapped in more whining about "fairness" than you'd generally see on a social justice website, and is often accompanied by even less pride than the social justice warriors manage to conjure on the best of days.  Let us just put this baby to bed- having a greater range of motion is an advantage, not a disadvantage.  Greater range of motion leads to greater strength gains and more hypertrophy than short ranges of motion, which means that taller lifters actually enjoy a very distinct natural advantage over their diminutive compatriots (Pinto, Beardsley).  Once more, it's the shorter lifters who have to work harder for the same level of gains as larger lifters, meaning they just might know more about getting strong and jacked than the skinny dipshits looming over the keyboards of their parents computers spewing ill-considered, poorly constructed diatribes about their superiority.  

Simple, right?  Shame the fucking tards of the world's message boards haven't gotten the message I've attempted to impart, but at the very least I can send you forth to battle these simpletons armed with the requisite knowledge to crush them utterly.  

Baechle, T.R. & R.W. Earle,  Ed.. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Champaign: Human Kinetics Publishers, 1994. 

Beardsley, Chris.  How does ROM affect gains in muscular size?  Strength and Conditioning Research.  11 Nov 2013.  Web.  1 Jun 2014.  http://www.strengthandconditioningresearch.com/2013/11/11/rom-hypertrophy/

Butt, Casey.  Muscle Growth Part 1: The Science Behind Why, And How, Does A Muscle Grow And Get Stronger?  Simply Shredded.  Web.  1 Jun 2014.   http://www.simplyshredded.com/muscle-growth-part-1-the-science-behind-why-and-how-does-a-muscle-grow-and-get-stronger.html

Cole, Adam.  Olympic Bodies: They Just Don't Make Them Like They Used To.  NPR.  9 Aug 2012.  Web.  1 Jun 2014.  http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/08/09/158448224/olympic-bodies-they-just-dont-make-them-like-they-used-to

Haffajee D, Moritz U, Svantes G.  Isometric knee extension as a function of joint angle, muscle length and motor unit activity.  Acta orthop. Scandinav. 1972;43:138-147.

The Legend of Frank Zane: An Interview With The Man Who Achieved Physical Perfection.  Simply Shredded, reprinted from Flex Magazine.  Web.  1 Jun 2014.  http://www.simplyshredded.com/the-legend-of-zane-an-interview.html

Pinto RS, Gomes N, Radaelli R, Botton CE, Brown LE, Bottaro M.  Effect of range of motion on muscle strength and thickness.  J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Aug;26(8):2140-5.

Progressive Sporting Systems.  Biomechanical Strenngth. Bodybuilding.com.  14 Sep 2004.  Web.  1 Jun 2014.  




    also, i find great irony and amusement in the combination of the subject of this blog post and the part where you decry the napoleonic complex (and i say this being 150cm tall and 60kg myself :p).

  2. Ad Ed Coan and Mike Bridges to the list.

  3. The weightlifting section could consist of 'absolutely all of them besides some of the 105s and supers'.

    Here's a sick shot of Kim Un Guk http://i.imgur.com/MaCLP0v.jpg
    Surprised you didn't go with Om Yun Chol though, only 5'0 and the fourth man to clean and jerk triple body weight.

    1. My knowledge of oly lifters is admittedly scanty, and I was trying to keep it to four examples per sport. This article took an insanely long time to write.

  4. Personally,i think that the very popular strong man contests are one of the biggest contributing factors in convincing less knowledgeable folks into thinking that tall guys MUST be stronger than shorter ones in all area's of strength.
    These events usually are MADE to suit taller lifters,thereby the winners are usually well over six feet tall,so consequently when a clueless twat see's this he will assume that these same taller guys will win in EVERY area of strength.
    Although many of the modern giant strongmen are incredibly statically strong not that many have out-totalled Eddie Coan or many on your list in an organized Powerlifting meet,despite out weighing him by over 150lbs.
    It must not be overlooked that the layman will always look to the popular mainstream media for his facts,as to research as you have done for the above article is too strenuous a task for such an individual.

    1. Tall guys are great at strongman- tiny t-rex arms don't lend themselves to stones, and our height is a huge detriment to loading. That said, I love strongman comps- they're far more fun to watch than powerlifting.

    2. I couldn't agree more. I've competed in a few pl'ing meets and it's boring as hell. I'm not sure I will do any more.

  5. Let's not forget the people used to be shorter than they are now. Consider any great physical feat of the past and it was likely done by what would be considered a manlet today.

    1. Not necessarily true- a lot of those guys were taller than average.

  6. Never heard manlet before in my life. Talk about victim complex.

    I always felt you creepy little fuckers were over represented in competitive barbell sports because you naturally weigh less, have a fraction of the ROM of a proper person and are so desperate to prove your self worth. Any other shortcomings can be compensated with chemicals.

    So, are there any 7ft weightlifters?

  7. I just realised that Bert Assirati ( a former article subject on this site) was only 5ft 6 ins in height and would most definitely kick absolute fuck out of any shit talking,lanky-streak-of-piss you'd care to mention,in fact,in a blood & snot street fight I'd even bet on him hammering most of your 6ft plus modern strongmen.

  8. I'm a bit confused. Earlier in the post you mentioned that shorter limbs are critical in barbell sports due to the fact that the bar doesnt have to travel as far. Then later you said a greater range of motion leads to better strength gains, so taller lifters actually have the advantage and shorter lifters must work harder. I'm pretty sure there's probably a difference between the two, but I'm just asking for a bit more clarification on the subject.

    Great read btw, tons of good info on bullshit myths. I guess i don't read too many message boards because I've never heard the term "manlet" until now.

    1. As I understand it:

      For competition purposes, shorter limbs > longer limbs since the bar needs to travel less.
      For training purposes, longer limbs > shorter limbs since a larger ROM allows for more work to be done and thusly more strength gains.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Excellent article, entertaining as ever. My favorite line: "or perhaps it's the result of rampant outrage by people who are both weak and fat at the audacity one might have to simply be weak rather than fat"

    Who cares if you're tall or short, just lift some fuckin weights

  11. Just some details, but Naim Suleymanoglu was 9 years old when he started lifting. He was 15 when he earned his first gold medal in Brasil and broke a world record when he was 16. That makes him, according to the Turkish Wikipedia page, the youngest weightlifter to break a record. I assume they are talking about the cleand and jerk here. He was born in Bulgaria but migrated to Turkey at a young age. Back then Bulgaria was forcing a lot of immigrants to change their name to Bulgarian. They were especially interested in him to turn Bulgarian.

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