It Will NOT Stunt Growth: Strength Programming for the Adolescent Athlete

Lifting weights may not stunt your growth, but it will definitely slow down your growth rate. If you are a teenager or young adult, then you probably have no idea what’s going on with your body right now. You’re still growing up! And if you’ve been reading this site long enough, chances are that you already know how to lift weights. But, you might not realize just how much.

Let me tell you why lifting weights isn’t going to stunt your growth. I’m sure there are other reasons too, but these are the main ones that come to mind.

1) Your Body Has Been Training For Years To Do What You’re Doing Right Now (And More! )

Your body has been training for years to accomplish one thing: get stronger. That means that when you start lifting weights, your muscles aren’t exactly used to handle the added weight. So, they won’t grow as fast as they would if you were doing nothing at all.

2) You’re Not Lifting Heavy Enough To Make A Difference In Your Height

If you want to get tall, then you need to lift heavy things. And I’m not talking about picking up milk jugs. I’m talking about Olympic barbells and dumbbells — some of the heaviest objects in the gym.

Unfortunately, you probably aren’t lifting anywhere near heavy enough to make a difference in your height. If you’re lifting less than your own bodyweight, then chances are you’re not going to get much taller as a result of strength training.

Does Strength Training Make You Taller?

I’ve been lifting for about a decade now. And in that time, I’ve hit some pretty impressive lifts. I’ve squatted nearly 500 pounds, benched over 300 pounds, and deadlifted just a hair shy of 500 pounds.

So do these accomplishments translate to increased height?

Well…sort of. I have gotten taller. I’m not exactly sure how much, but I have definitely grown about an inch or so over the past ten years. So if you want to get taller, start lifting seriously.

Does Deadlift Increase Height?

But that doesn’t mean you should focus on deadlifting or only heavy lifts. You see, your body needs variety. It needs to be shocked in certain ways in order for it to adapt properly. So if you plan on getting serious about your training, then you’re going to need to do a lot more than just heavy deadlifts and heavy squats.

You’re going to do some speed and explosive work, you’re going to do some heavy lifting, you’re going to do some conditioning work, and you’re going to treat your entire body with the respect that it deserves. In other words, this isn’t your average gym workout. This is a full-on training program specifically designed to get you stronger while staying safe along the way.

Does Lifting Weights Make You Shorter?

Many people believe that lifting weights will make you shorter. They think that the heavier you are, the taller you will be. While there is some truth to that statement, it’s also important to realize that most short people are already short, no matter how much they lift. So if you happen to be one of the lucky few who has great genetics for growth, then you may very well grow taller with a lifting program. But if you have poor genetics or are just average, then lifting weights isn’t going to make much of a difference in your height.

Remember, your body is designed for one thing and one thing only: survival.

And what does survival mean?

It means passing on your genes. To do that, you need to be alive long enough to reproduce. So if you’re an average guy who is 5’9, chances are you’ve already hit your growth plateaus by age 15. By lifting weights, you may very well keep yourself healthier and live longer. But you probably aren’t going to make any major jumps in height.

The good news, however, is that you don’t need height in order to gain success in this sport. In fact, many of the greatest strength athletes in the world are on the short side. Louis Cyr, Marius Pudzianowski, Jon Pall Sigmarsson, Vyacheslav Voinov, and Mabel Ritchie (the first female Olympic weightlifting champion) are all examples of world-class strength athletes who weren’t very tall.

In fact, most professional strength athletes tend to be on the shorter side because the sport requires so much energy expenditure that it is simply too exhausting to be very tall.

It Will NOT Stunt Growth: Strength Programming for the Adolescent Athlete - at GYMFITWORKOUT

But this doesn’t mean you can’t be taller and become successful in this sport. If you’re under average height, then it’s just going to be a little bit harder for you. But if you really want it and are willing to work for it, then the sky is the limit.

How Can I Increase My Height?

If you’re reading this, then chances are you want to increase your height. And while training is important, you’re probably going to be spending most of your time in the kitchen.

Why?

Because your hormones are most likely what dictates your height. In other words, if you want to be taller, you need to start eating more food. Your body needs proper nutrition in order to produce IGF-1 and other growth factors and hormones that make you grow.

But eating for height isn’t as easy as many people think. You don’t want to just eat a bunch of junk or go crazy eating everything in sight because chances are you’ll pack on a lot of unnecessary fat trying to do so. And trust me, a lot of guys have made this mistake in the past and regretted it later.

Instead, start eating more of the foods you’re already consuming on a regular basis and then gradually increase your caloric intake from there.

So what kind of foods can you eat?

Well, dark green vegetables are probably the single most important food group for height increase. This means spinach, kale, collard greens, and other similar types of vegetables. However, you don’t want to just eat these vegetables raw because your body isn’t able to properly digest them this way. Instead, steam, boil, or microwave them so that you’re able to digest the food better.

Along with this, fruits are also good sources of various nutrients that your body needs in order to grow. Just avoid the citrus fruits as much as you can because these can actually have the opposite effect and shrink your genitals if you consume too much of them. This is a joke, but you get the point: limit the citrus fruits in your diet.

Another group of foods that are very beneficial for height increase are whole grains. This includes bread, pasta, oatmeal, and other similar types of grains. Again, these foods should be prepared in a way that your body is able to digest them.

Keeping yourself hydrated is also very important while eating these foods because if you don’t, you’re going to feel very sick to your stomach.

In terms of other food groups, you’ll want to include meats and dairy products in your diet. Yes, dairy products. Contrary to popular belief, eating dairy products do not cause you to grow “manboobs” or lactate.

It’s perfectly fine to eat dairy as long as you’re able to properly digest it and not have any allergic reactions to it.

Meats are important because they provide you with a lot of the necessary amino acids that your body needs in order to heal itself and grow. However, you don’t need to eat meat on a regular basis in order to do this. Anywhere from twice a day to four times a week should be enough.

However, there’s no need to stress yourself out trying to eat meat on these specific days. Anytime you feel like eating meat, then go right ahead and eat it. Your height increase is not going to decrease just because you ate a chicken wing on a Tuesday instead of a Thursday.

Now for those of you who are vegetarians or vegans, don’t worry. There are other sources of protein that you can eat in order to compensate for this. It’s just recommended that you eat eggs, milk, and other dairy products on a daily basis since these are the only true complete proteins that you’ll be able to get.

Tofu is also a good source of protein that you can eat in order to meet your daily quota.

It Will NOT Stunt Growth: Strength Programming for the Adolescent Athlete - at GYMFITWORKOUT

In addition to these food groups, you’re also going to want to consume a sufficient amount of calories on a daily basis. Now this doesn’t mean that you should go out and eat a Big Mac, large fries and a milkshake every day. While that would put you over the daily calorie intake, it wouldn’t be healthy for you in the long run and is probably more than what your body needs.

Instead, try eating a daily diet that’s mostly made up of fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean meats. If you can, try to buy organic foods since they’re going to have more nutrients in them. However, don’t worry too much about this.

Most of what you eat is going to get wasted and expelled by your body regardless of if it’s organic or not.

You’ll also want to make sure that you’re eating a wide variety of food on a daily basis. This is because, just like exercising, your body can get used to the same foods and not accept them as well anymore. So on a daily basis you want to try to eat something with a little bit of everything; meat, vegetables, fruit, grains, and dairy.

It should go without saying that you should stay away from junk food as much as possible. If you really need a snack, try to make it something light and healthy such as a piece of fruit or some vegetable sticks. Also avoid overeating.

Eat until you’re no longer hungry. Eating past the point where you’re full is never going to do your body any good in the long run.

As for drinks, you’ll want to drink as much water as possible each day. You can also have milk, juices, and other healthy drinks as well. Of course, you’ll have to drink caution with these as well since you can become susceptible to kidney and bladder infections by drinking too much.

Moving on, another thing that you need to stay away from is tobacco and alcohol. These will have a negative effect on your overall health and can lead to a decrease in height if abused long enough.

Finally, while exercise isn’t a requirement to stay the same height, it definitely will help. Not only will it keep your weight down giving you a healthier body, but it’ll also strengthen your skeleton allowing you to grow taller. It’s recommended that you perform some sort of physical activity on a daily basis.

Before you start any vigorous exercise program however, you’ll want to check with your doctor first to make sure that you won’t be causing any injury to yourself.

With the right knowledge and a little luck, you’ll be able to achieve your goal of staying the same height as you grow older.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

It Will NOT Stunt Growth: Strength Programming for the Adolescent Athlete - | Gym Fit Workout

-David

Sources & references used in this article:

Power output in the jump squat in adolescent male athletes by AM Dayne, JM McBride, JL Nuzzo… – … Journal of Strength …, 2011 – cdn.journals.lww.com

Physiological issues surrounding the performance of adolescent athletes by G Naughton, NJ Farpour-Lambert, J Carlson… – Sports Medicine, 2000 – Springer

Strength training for children and adolescents by JA Guy, LJ Micheli – JAAOS-Journal of the American Academy of …, 2001 – journals.lww.com

Strength training for children and adolescents by AD Faigenbaum – Clinics in sports medicine, 2000 – Elsevier

Effects of training at a young age: a review of the training of young athletes (TOYA) study by ADG Baxter-Jones, PJ Helms – Pediatric Exercise …, 1996 – journals.humankinetics.com