The myth that weightlifting stunts growth has endured for a long time because it is plausible enough to stick in people’s thoughts for a very long period.
While lifting weights can be dangerous if it’s not done correctly, there is no evidence that the workout will make you shorter than you would otherwise be.
Many Doctors and Scientists have researched this myth to find some truth but have found no concrete proof that lifting weights leads to stunted growth.
However, various reasons can stunt a person’s growth, and it does not include weight lifting. These reasons are included in this article.
Does Lifting Weights Stimulate Bone Growth?
Most of us know the benefits of strength training, mainly when done with free weights, weight machines, or resistance bands. Many of us are unaware that strong muscles contribute to strong bones.
Furthermore, healthy bones can lessen the chance of an osteoporotic fracture. Activities that put stress on bones can nudge bone-forming cells into action.
According to several studies, strength training has been linked to bone building and bone loss prevention. This is incredibly helpful in preventing age-related bone mass loss.
Significantly, resistance workouts enhance strength and stability, particularly those that include moves emphasizing power and balance.
How Does Weight Training Affect Height?
Since genetics account for the bulk of your height, there is little evidence to suggest that lifting weights would increase your height.
Nutrition, sleep, and hormonal production are significant elements that can affect the natural development of muscle tissues and bones during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, in addition to heredity.
Depending on your genetic profile, working out can help you maintain or reach your height limits.
You can do this by increasing your bone density, enhancing your posture, and fending off many harmful effects of aging.
Factors That May Affect Your Height While Lifting Weight
1. Bone Density (Posture)
As we age, bone density and muscle decrease. The vertebrae in the spine become weakened and compressed due to less cushioning and lubrication and the spine itself curves.
Height loss from osteoporosis increases the risk of hip and other growth plate fractures. Poor health and nutrition exacerbate height loss.
People often wonder whether they are shrinking, and the answer is No. It is the spinal vertebrae that shrink and not the length of the leg bones.
2. Genetics Or Growth Plates
The main factor that influences a person’s height is their genetic makeup or DNA. More than 700 distinct gene variations that affect height have been discovered by scientists.
Some of these genes have an impact on the growth plates, while others have an impact on how growth hormones are made.
The adult height of some people can also be impacted by genetic disorders including Marfan syndrome and Down syndrome.
Growth is greatly impacted by nutrition. Children who have appropriate nutrition may grow taller than those who do not.
Children and young adults should eat a broad, balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, according to various nutritionists.
They will receive all the vitamins and minerals they require as a result, ensuring their success. Protein and calcium are particularly important for bone health and growth.
Another important factor that may affect a person’s growth is sleep. Children and teenagers benefit from sleep in terms of growth and development.
The hormones required for growth are released by the body when deep asleep. Thus, getting adequate sleep might facilitate proper form development.
Long-term sleep deprivation can affect a child’s ability to focus, learn, and engage in life. It can also affect healthy development and lead to other health issues.
5. Hormone Production
There are various hormones that aid growth in our body. One includes the Growth hormones made in the pituitary gland which are the most important hormones for growth.
Another is the Thyroid hormone, the thyroid gland makes hormones that influence growth.
Sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen are very important for growth during puberty.
Some health conditions can restrict the number of growth hormones the body makes, and this can impact height.
Standing taller might be a benefit of weightlifting. Performing corrective exercises and practicing flexibility can help to extend the range of motion in your muscles and joints.
For instance, having a rounded upper back and forward-rolled shoulders might be caused by tight chest muscles or bad posture brought on by a desk job.
Similarly, having tight hips can cause your pelvis to tilt anteriorly, which can cause lower back pain and prevent your hips from fully extending.
7. Resistance Training
When you lift weights, you put stress on your muscles. Your muscles adapt to this stress by growing more extensive and more robust.
However, if you don’t stress your muscles, they have no reason to change and will either maintain their strength and size or grow weaker.
The same is valid for bones. Lifting weights places stress on your bones, causing them to become stronger and more resistant to breaking.
School-aged children can perform resistance training safely using free weights, weight machines, elastic tubing, or their body weight.
Why are People Worried About Weight Lifting and Height Loss?
Many individuals are concerned that physical activity, particularly weight lifting, may be harmful to your height and that lifting weights stunts growth.
Since their development plates haven’t closed, children and adolescents are at risk in some ways. Weight lifting helps reduce body fat.
Growth plate cartilage is more vulnerable to damage than mature bone, which develops during adulthood since it is weaker.
Most evidence indicates that it is helpful and safe, provided it is adequately supervised. Research has demonstrated that weight training before adulthood does not inhibit growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does lifting shorten Height?
The answer to this question is No. Lifting weights consistently does not shorten the height of a person. Other factors may be responsible for this.
Does lifting weights make you shorter as a kid?
The myth that kids will stop growing if they lift weights too young is not supported by any scientific evidence or research.
Lifting heavy weights does not make a person shorter also.
Your height is almost entirely pre-determined at birth by your genetic profile. However, some factors can help you reach your full height potential.
Making sure to live an active lifestyle incorporating weight training (spinal loading) can help you increase bone density, improve hormonal output, and enhance muscle growth.
Additionally, focusing on eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep can aid in your efforts to achieve your full health benefits and improve your physical and mental health.
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Nathan Lloyd, MSc
LICENSED PERSONAL TRAINER
I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.
If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.