The Answer

Here is the 100% undisputed truth: lifting weights will NOT stunt your growth. There have been literally no studies ever that have shown lifting weights will stunt or even inhibit growth.

That myth needs to be kicked to the curb and stop being spread.

If you haven’t been lifting due to this fear of stunting your growth, you may be shocked to learn that it’s actually been shown that weight lifting supports height growth.

That being said, your growth plates can’t be closed in order for that support to apply. In your mid 20s, your growth plates will likely close. After this time, you will stay the same height.

However, when your growth plates are still open, weight lifting can support height growth. I’m not saying it magically makes you taller, but what it does do is increase your probability of growing to your full height potential.

Unless you take a drastic measure like surgery, genetics and lifestyle factors are what truly determine your height. But lifestyle factors such as not sleeping enough, alcohol and drug use, etc. can hold you back from reaching your full height potential.

How Lifting Weights Affects Your Growth

Weight lifting supports height growth by increasing HGH production—and no I’m not talking about steroids. Human growth hormone is a peptide hormone produced by the pituitary gland which stimulates growth, cell reproduction, and cell regeneration.

Growth hormone is essential to increasing muscle mass and bone density. In children and teens, HGH spurs growth because their growth plates aren't closed.

Resistance training naturally stimulates growth hormone in our bodies. It’s actually one of the most influential ways to generate a significant release of growth hormone.

Therefore, when you’re lifting younger and producing more growth hormone, theoretically you are spurring more growth.

Keep in mind though, you’re not going to defy your natural genetics. The weight lifting will simply provide more HGH in your body to support you reaching your full height potential. To put it into the simplest terms, lifting weights will make it more likely that you grow taller.  

How To Lift Weights When You Are Young

With this new knowledge, it’s incredibly important to lift weights in the safest way possible when you are still growing.

Form, sleep for recovery, training proportionally, and stretching for posture are all essential. Recovery time may be quicker and you may be able to get away with riskier health behaviors when you’re younger, but you’re not invincible.

If you go into the gym and use weights you can’t handle with poor form, you will hurt yourself. Injuries can most definitely stunt your growth. In fact, injuries could have initially promoted the myth that weight lifting stunts your growth.

When it comes to lifting weights at any age, progression is essential. I don’t care if it’s your first day ever being in a gym or you practice bodyweight training at home.

You 100% can be doing endurance training, hypertrophy training, AND strength training. Just work your way up.

If you’re new to lifting weights or calisthenics, start light, lower intensity, focus on form, and gradually build up. In your first year you shouldn’t be trying to hit maxes. Build the foundation of your body and then when you’re more advanced, you can do more advanced training. 

To recap: weight lifting will 100% not stunt your growth. Weight lifting will support height growth if you do it safely and progress carefully.

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.mike rosaExercises & fitness tips