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We all come in different shapes and sizes, and one aspect that can significantly impact a person’s appearance, clothing choices, and even sports performance is torso length.
In this article, we’ll explore the differences between long and short torsos, the implications on various aspects of life, and whether having one is inherently better than the other.
Defining a Long and Short Torso
Methods to Determine Torso Length
To find out if you have a long or short torso, you can measure it yourself (The video below might help you).
First, locate the bone at the base of your neck. This is your starting point. Then, measure down to your hip bone.
Compare your measurements with the average length of torsos for your height range. If your torso length is significantly longer or shorter than the average, you might have a long or short torso, respectively.
Another way to determine your torso length is by trying on clothes designed for specific body types. Medium-length tops, for example, should hit just over your hip bone; a perfect fit could indicate a short torso. Alternatively, look for tops with vertical lines or other stylist-approved items that help create a balance between your top and lower halves.
Will My Torso Get Longer?
It’s important to note that your torso will stop growing between the ages of 15 and 20. After this period, contrary to what some people on YouTube and TikTok claim, no amount of exercise can help you achieve a longer torso.
The human skeleton grows in stages, starting from the hands and feet, progressing to the arms and legs, and finally, the chest, spine, and torso. As such, once that growth ceases, no change in torso length can occur.
Torso Length and Sports Performance
Is a Long Torso Good for Bodybuilding?
In bodybuilding, torso length may play a role in aesthetics and certain exercises. A long torso can create the illusion of a smaller waist, which is desirable in this sport as it accentuates the V-taper look.
This appearance often results from wide shoulders tapering down to a narrow waist, creating an aesthetically pleasing physique.
A long torso in bodybuilding can influence exercise technique. For example, when squatting, individuals with long torsos typically find it easier to maintain a more vertical position, reducing the risk of injury and promoting better form.
Check out this video from Alexander Bromley where he talks about bodybuilding with a long and short torso.
It might be necessary for you to adjust your grip width and elbow positioning during certain exercises like the bench press to accommodate your proportions.
Is a Long Torso Good for Swimming?
Yes. A longer torso is considered better than a short one in sports like swimming. Michael Phelps has a good example of a swimmer body – a 6’4” tall man with a long torso, long arms, and shorter legs.
A long torso can be advantageous in swimming. In this sport, having a longer torso relative to leg length helps reduce drag and maintain a more streamlined position in the water.
Swimmers with long torsos, like Michael Phelps, can propel themselves through the water more efficiently. Additionally, a long torso provides greater core strength and stability, which is essential for maintaining proper form and technique in all swimming strokes.
But it is very important to keep in mind that other factors, such as overall body proportions, muscle mass, and technique, also contribute to a swimmer’s performance.
Even though a long torso can be beneficial, it is not the sole determinant of success in swimming.
It is essential to recognize that other factors also contribute to sports performance, and torso length is just one aspect to consider.
How to Get a Longer Torso – Is It Even Possible?
While you can’t alter your bone structure to achieve a longer torso, there are methods to improve the appearance of a longer torso.
By focusing on the muscles around your torso, it is possible to gain the impression of an elongated torso. There are a few ways to achieve this goal.
Firstly, exercise plays a significant role in creating the illusion of a longer torso. Stretching and toning the muscles around your midsection, particularly the spine and abdominal muscles, can promote proper posture and make your torso appear longer.
Swimming and skipping are two notable activities that may help boost your height and stretch your upper body. Upper body stretches and spine stretching exercises are ideal at lengthening the upper body, potentially making you look taller.
Losing fat around your midsection can also emphasise the appearance of a longer torso. A slim waistline enhances the illusion of a taller stature, making the torso appear more elongated.
Surgical Options for Torso Lengthening👨⚕️
Although it might seem appealing to pursue surgical options to achieve a longer torso, it’s generally considered a bit extreme to pursue surgical options to lengthen your torso.
One surgical method that could indirectly create the illusion of a longer torso is leg-lengthening surgery.
This procedure involves intentionally breaking the leg bones and gradually separating the sections with an external or internal device, allowing new bone to grow in the gap.
While leg lengthening surgery is primarily used to correct leg length discrepancies, it can create the appearance of a longer torso by making your legs longer.
But it is worth noting that this surgery is an invasive and costly procedure, with a lot of pain, significant risks and an extensive recovery period. And long term, you may not be able to play sports or take part in intense physical activity.
Leg lengthening surgery should not be seen as a first option, especially when effective non-surgical alternatives exist.
Additionally, some go through body contouring procedures, such as liposuction or abdominoplasty, which reshape and define your midsection.
These surgeries can create the illusion of an elongated torso, particularly if the incisions are strategically placed low in the abdominal area.
A more conservative, cheaper and effective approach to attaining a longer torso would be to focus on exercise and stretching.
There are specific leg lengthening exercises, such as stretches and yoga poses, designed to elongate and tone the muscles in your legs and torso.
These moves not only help improve your body proportions but also contribute to overall health and wellness.
Advantages👍 and Disadvantages👎 of Long and Short Torsos
When it comes to torso length, there are advantages and disadvantages to both long and short torsos.
Let’s explore how these differences may impact your life, including everyday factors such as backpack fitting and leg length.
Your torso length can impact your experiences in various activities positively or negatively. Understanding these advantages and disadvantages can help you tailor your training and lifestyle choices accordingly
Quick Tip: How To Create a Longer Torso With Clothing
Does Stretching Make Your Torso Longer?
You can’t lengthen your torso once it stops growing. But you can do daily exercises and stretches to achieve long, lean torso muscles.
Static stretching, where you stay in a particular position for a specific time, is one of the most common and accessible training you can do to expand your spine and improve your posture.
Below are various stretches and steps to help you out it:
Cobra stretch or Bhujangasana is a yoga pose that targets the neck, shoulder, and back muscles.
- Place the yoga mat on the floor and lie on your stomach.
- Position your hand directly under your shoulders with your fingers facing forward.
- Keep your legs straight, and your toes pointed.
- Slowly begin the upward phase and gently exhale.
- Ensure that your abdominal muscles are supporting the spine.
- Push your chest away from the mat to lengthen your upper body, and keep your hips on the mat.
- Continue rolling your shoulders down and back.
- Stay in this position for 10 to 20 seconds.
- Gently lower your upper body to the mat.
- Repeat at least three times.
Note: It’s normal to feel an ache in your lower back during the downward phase. Stop if the pain becomes unbearable and consult your doctor.
Hanging helps with gravitational force, decompresses the intervertebral discs, encourages proper posture, and stretches your back muscles. A stand-alone pull-up bar is required to perform this exercise. You can also easily install a pull-up bar on a door frame at home.
- Hang in the bar for about 15 to 20 seconds.
- Repeat this exercise three times.
Note: As the days go by, gradually extend your hanging time until you reach 30 seconds.
Like what its name suggests, dry swimming is “swimming” outside the water. Aside from teaching water safety concepts, it’s also effective in directly stretching the upper body, lower back, and hip muscles.
- Lie down facing the floor. Your legs and arms must be straight and pointing forward.
- Lift your right hand and left leg off the floor, diagonally away from the body. Hold it for 5 to 10 seconds.
- Relax for 10 seconds and switch to the left hand and right leg.
- Repeat three times.
- Stand up and cool down with cat stretches.
Marjariasana or cat stretch is usually done after performing cobra and dry swimming exercises. It’s excellent for flexing and relaxing the spine and releasing tension in the upper back and neck.
- Get on your hands and knees on the floor.
- The position of your hands should be wider than your shoulder width. Your knees should not be touching.
- Take a deep breath as you arch your spine and lift your head.
- Slowly exhale as you lift your spine into an arched position while lowering your head.
- Do at least one to three repetitions.
Toe touching is the most common stretch of the batch. It’s an easy but potent exercise that targets the lower back, torso, and popliteal fossa.
- Stand up straight and slowly bend over to touch your toes.
- Hold this position for 10 to 20 seconds and repeat it three times
Note: It’s okay if you’re unable to touch your toes. Only stretch to a comfortable bend and slowly ease your body. Soon, you’ll be flexible enough to reach the edge of your toes.
Although there is no way you can elongate your torso after it stops growing, there are means you can use to make it appear longer. Change up your wardrobe, do daily stretches for leaner torso muscles, and continuously care for your body to live a healthy and fulfilling life.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the advantages of having a long torso?
Having a long torso can provide several advantages. It generally gives you more torso space, which can make certain activities easier like swimming.
Also, many believe that clothes tend to drape better on people with longer torsos, creating a more flattering silhouette.
How does having a short torso affect body proportions?
A short torso can create an illusion of longer legs, which is often considered attractive by some.
But it may also make you appear top-heavy, especially in high-waisted bottoms.
Knowing your torso length (video above) can help you choose clothing that complements your body type and makes you feel confident.
Are there clothing challenges for those with a long torso?
While a long torso can be advantageous in certain aspects, it can also present some clothing challenges.
You may have difficulties finding tops that are long enough to cover your midsection comfortably, and one-piece clothing like swimsuits for example may feel too tight.
It’s essential to look for styles that cater to your body proportions for an optimal fit.
What health issues are associated with a short torso?
A short torso doesn’t necessarily cause health issues, but it may put you at risk for some discomfort.
For example, you may experience frequent back pain due to the increased pressure on your spine.
Being mindful of your posture, exercising, and stretching regularly can really make a difference, whether you have a long or a short torso.
How does torso length affect athletic performance?
Torso length can influence athletic performance depending on the specific activity.
For example, athletes with long torsos might have an advantage in sports like swimming or rowing, where a bigger reach is beneficial.
Conversely, those with a short torso may excel in activities like gymnastics or sprinting, where compact proportions can aid in agility and speed.
How can I style my clothing to complement my torso length?
To style your clothing according to your torso length, focus on creating visual balance. If you have a long torso, you could look for higher-waisted pants or skirts to elongate your legs, and opt for slightly cropped or tucked-in tops.
For a short torso, you could choose lower-rise bottoms and longer tops that create the illusion of a longer midsection.
Experiment with different cuts, patterns, and styles to discover what makes you feel comfortable and confident.