Welcome to the fourth article in the Amazing Tall People series.
In this series I interview a wide range of tall people that are embracing their height and not letting it stop them from achieving incredible things.
For this article I had the privilege of interviewing Dave, a 6 foot 9 power lifter.
Power lifting is a very technical endeavor and historically has been better suited for shorter lifters.
This has not stopped Dave (aka Too Tall Power Lifting).
Standing at 6 foot 9, Too Tall Power Lifting does not let his height stand in the way of achieving success and pursing his goals.
Never have I seen someone this tall lift so much weight in the bench press, squat and deadlift.
Not only is this incredibly inspiring but it’s equally as impressive.
Take a look (and follow) Too Tall Power Lifting’s Instagram page @tootallpowerlifting to see what I mean – you’ll be blown away.
And now, without further ado, here is my interview with Too Tall Power Lifting.
Too Tall Power Lifting, congratulations on making and maintaining such an inspirational Instagram page showing tall people that they too can get out there, lift weights and reach their goals. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself including your height?
I’m a 6’9″ USPA powerlifter that lifts in both the 242lbs and 275lbs division. 34 years old and when I’m not at the gym I’m busy working in a children’s hospital!
What’s the most common question you get asked because of your height? and what has been your best response so far?
I’ve always joked that I have a quota for being asked about my height which is at least once a day.
The most common questions are “how tall are you?” and “did you play basketball (and lately football)?” My favorites are the people who walk by me and 1) assume that sound somehow doesn’t travel up in the stratosphere where my ears are and make a whispering comment which I can still totally hear or 2) don’t ask a question at all and instead hit me with a “YOU ARE SO TALL! WOW YOU’RE TALL!” as if this was some sort of eye opener to me that I didn’t even know I was a tall person and somehow this was them letting me know.
My favorite response is to catch people off guard by telling them I’m a professional miniature golfer or horse jockey.
Growing up, were you always into lifting weights? If not, at what point did you decide to start training and then move into power lifting and what was (and still is) your motivation?
Growing up I really didn’t do much in terms of weight training.
I played all kinds of sports including soccer, baseball and basketball. During my freshman year of high school I ended up breaking my ankle coming down from a rebound and decided that I was done with basketball. I moved onto rowing/crew for my last 3 years of high school and really enjoyed it. It wasn’t until I got to college when I started to really incorporate strength training into my daily life and even then I had no idea what I was doing.
Shortly after I turned 21 I was approached by a manager of a local bar and asked if I wanted to work security since my height gave me a distinct vantage point. I decided I probably needed to pack on some pounds and a fellow bouncer and I started a beginning power lifter program together. Ever since then the motivation has always been to see how far I can push my limits. There is always another number I’m chasing regardless of what lift it is and I will continue to strive for it until I meet or surpass it.
How often do you train? and do you follow any typical power lifting program, if so, what does training entail?
Training varies depending on whether I’m working towards a meet or just simply in a “maintenance mode.”
I will typically train 3-4 times a week or as often as 5 times a week if I’m peaking. I’m currently peaking for my next meet which is on 23rd June 2018 and I’ve been following a variation of Sheiko programming which is very volume intensive which tapers off and gets more specific the closer I get to the meet.
Otherwise I follow a free program called “Programming To Win” which cycles itself everything 3 weeks and is based on auto-regulation: allowing you to base weights on the RPE scale and adjust up or down accordingly from week to week depending on your amount of fatigue. It’s definitely a solid program!
Are there any lifts you find harder to perform because of your height? If so, how do you manage?
For awhile the squat was always a thorn in my side. It wasn’t until I was introduced to the low bar variation from a friend of mine that the squat movement really began to click.
The bench press, however, has always been the lift that seems to stall first and the one I’m constantly looking to improve the most. With a nearly 84″ reach it isn’t easy trying to let 300lbs come from over your head, rest on your chest, pause there for a split second and then try to explode it back up to the starting position. A constant barrage of different benching variants to close the gap between my weaknesses is what is pushing it further than before.
Everyone struggles with the lockout… mine is about twice as long!
What is your favourite lift and why?
Easy. The deadlift. By far my most favorite lift.
There is something about standing behind 500+ lbs and ripping it off the ground, grinding it up against your shins and holding it at the top position for a second thinking “I can’t believe I managed to get this from there to here!”
Is stretching and mobility work a part of your training routine? If so, what do you usually do before and after training?
Prior to squat/deadlift I always do dynamic stretching and I’ve been following the same routine for a few years now. After dynamic stretching I do some barbell complexes that work the body through some of the motions I’ll put it through before training: rows, hang cleans, overhead press, squat, etc. – nothing static here, just enough motion to get the muscles and joints warmed up and ready for the heavy stuff.
Here is a video of how I warm-up before squatting and dead-lifting:
What is your current goal?
Next meet is 23rd June 2018.
My goal is to exceed or meet my numbers from my previous meet when I competed in the 275lbs class. This time I’m competing at 242lbs and I hope to see a 1300+ total.
Here is a video from my last meet, back when I thought I had some sick video editing skills:
What’s your typical diet to fuel your training? and in addition do you take any supplements?
I am currently a huge proponent for the IIFYM crowd and base all of my daily intake off of Avatar Nutrition’s algorithm for whatever goal I have selected.
I weigh in once a week and get my macros determined for me for the next week and I just stay within the limits and see the results. Regardless of whether its chicken and rice or a triple bacon cheeseburger as long as I meet the requirements each day its fair game!
The only supplements I’ve been using have been protein, creatine, fish oil and a preworkout on occasion.
Do you have any advice for tall people that want to start lifting weights or even get into power lifting but aren’t sure where to start?
First and foremost piece of advice would be make sure you start off humble.
Don’t think you can just walk into the gym and suddenly have a huge squat/bench/deadlift. And that goes for anyone regardless of height who is looking to get into it. Powerlifting is very technical and requires constant stimulation of your central nervous system in order to adapt to consistently lifting heavier and heavier weights in the safest way possible and that’s not something that happens overnight.
I’ve been doing this for over a decade and I still have to humble myself from time to time, let go of my ego and drop the weight down to keep myself injury free. Starting Strength is an excellent program that I used myself when I first started getting into this. It’ll help establish a good base for moving on to more intermediate or advanced programs and lifting techniques such as 5/3/1, Sheiko, Cube Method, etc.
Don’t be afraid to ask someone that has been doing it for advice. What initially started my journey into powerlifting was when I was squatting in a rack and had a guy who was watching me say “nope, nope, nope… not one of those reps would have counted.” When I asked him what he was talking about he told me about powerlifting, squatting to depth, etc. and I couldn’t believe there was such a thing that judged people based on lifts, form, weight – and from there he took me under his wing and taught me the techniques and over the years I’ve honed in to get where I am today. Be smart and stay safe.
Form over ego, always.
What’s the most annoying thing you struggle with because of your height?
I can never just walk into a store and buy something off the rack – everything typically comes from online stores.
What’s the best part about tall?
Being able to hide things from short people in high places.
Always having the best view at a concert or sporting events. Knowing that I’ll always have a job in changing light bulbs or dusting ceiling fans should my current occupation not pan out! The best part though? Enjoying life from a perspective that 99.996% of people will never share.
I hope you enjoyed this interview and were able to take something away from it.
Remember, if you haven’t already, check out and follow Too Tall Power Lifting.
If you have any questions or comments be sure to leave them below.
Stand tall, be proud of your height and strive for greatness.
Other Posts In: Amazing Tall People Series
04. My Interview With A 6 Foot 9 Power Lifter