Do Squats Make You Shorter?

Squats, those mighty and versatile exercises that serve as the foundation of countless weight training regimens, have cultivated a well-deserved reputation as catalysts for muscle growth, fat loss, and bone fortification. These exercises, which engage a multitude of muscle groups including the glutes, core, and legs, have long been hailed as essential for anyone pursuing fitness. However, within the realm of exercise myths, there exists a peculiar belief: the notion that squats can diminish one’s stature.

It is high time to debunk this myth unequivocally. Contrary to widespread misconception, squats do not possess the ability to compress or diminish your spine—the primary factor determining your height. In actuality, they can be a boon for your posture, strengthening the muscles that provide support to your spine, resulting in improved alignment and potentially creating the illusion of increased height.

To uncover the truth behind this intriguing misconception in the realm of fitness, let us delve deeper into the scientific facts surrounding squats and their impact on our bodies.

Do squats impede height growth?

The notion that squats can reduce one’s height or lead to long-term shrinkage is unfounded. However, when performing squats with added weight, there is a temporary compression of the spinal discs, a phenomenon known as “spinal shrinkage,” which may result in a minor reduction in height (approximately 3-4mm) during the duration of the squatting session [1]. It is imperative to recognize that this height reduction is transitory, and your spine will revert to its normal length within an hour.

Concerns about squats affecting the growth of adolescents stem from the belief that heavy weights during puberty can exert pressure on the growth plates, which are active regions located near the ends of a child’s bones. Injury to these growth plates could potentially result in shorter or misaligned bones. However, experts indicate that growth plates typically fuse between the ages of 14 and 19 in boys and around age 16 in girls. Therefore, if you fall outside this age range, it is improbable that squats will hinder your growth.

It is worth noting that there is no documented evidence of children damaging their growth plates through properly executed weightlifting. Nevertheless, it remains crucial to maintain proper form, receive appropriate supervision, and avoid using weights that are excessively heavy to minimize the risk of growth plate injuries.

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What are the most effective squat variations for increasing height?

Performing squats with proper form can lead to improved posture by strengthening the back muscles that support the spine. Additionally, squats can boost testosterone and other growth hormones that contribute to vertical growth. Here, we present a selection of the best squat variations to aid in height increase:

  1. Basic Squat:

    • Start from a standard standing position.
    • Lower your hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
    • Extend your arms forward.
    • Ensure your knees are aligned over your toes and feel the engagement in your thighs and glutes.
    • Exhale as you return to the starting position.
  2. Jump Squat:

    • Begin in a standing position.
    • Descend into a squat with your feet hip-width apart.
    • Explosively push through your heels, propelling yourself upwards and extending your legs fully.
    • Land back in a squat and repeat the motion.
  3. Side Deep Squat:

    • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
    • Take a wide step to the right with your right foot and bend your knees.
    • As you straighten your legs, bring your right foot back in.
    • Repeat the sequence on the left side.
  4. Sumo Squat:

    • Position your feet wider than hip-width apart.
    • Lower yourself into a squat, ensuring your knees track over your toes.
    • Raise your arms above you while keeping your upper body upright.
    • Return to a standing position and repeat.
  5. Goblet Squat:

    • Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out.
    • Hold a dumbbell in front of your chest.
    • Shift your weight to your heels, bend your knees, and lower your hips as if you are sitting in a chair.
    • Engage your core while maintaining proper posture.
    • Pause briefly when your thighs are parallel to the floor.
    • Push through your heels to return to the starting position.
  6. Front Squat:

    • Safely load a barbell or two dumbbells onto your front shoulders.
    • Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and toes slightly turned out.
    • Keep the weight in your heels as you lower your hips towards the floor.
    • Engage your core and maintain an upright upper body without compromising your spine.
    • Pause briefly when your thighs are parallel to the floor.
    • Push back to the starting position and repeat.

Incorporating these squat variations into your fitness routine can help you not only strengthen various muscle groups but also contribute to better posture and potential height enhancement.

What to consider when squatting for height increase?

  1. Master the Fundamentals

Before embarking on your journey to increase your height through squats, ensure you have a firm grasp of the basics. It is strongly recommended to seek guidance from a certified professional or explore comprehensive squat guides available online.

  1. Gradual Progression Is Key

Don’t rush into intense squat routines from the get-go. Remember that achieving height requires patience and a gradual approach. Prioritize maintaining proper form to prevent potential injuries.

Start with a modest frequency of 3 or 4 sessions per week, each lasting at least 5 minutes. As you progress, gradually increase your workout frequency to around 5 or 6 times per week.

  1. Prioritize Adequate Rest

Intervals of rest between sets are essential to allow your spinal discs to relax. Avoid overtaxing them, as this could lead to a gradual loss of height over time.

  1. Embrace a Holistic Lifestyle

In addition to regular squatting, incorporate other exercises into your routine, such as yoga, cycling, walking, or swimming, to support your posture and create the illusion of height. Stay adequately hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day to ensure your spinal discs maintain optimal fluid levels. Lastly, maintain a balanced diet rich in protein and calcium to enhance the effectiveness of your height-increasing efforts.

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Other benefits of squats for health

Burn calories

While squatting, your body burns more calories than usual, allowing you to get a slimmer stature faster. Even when you are already at rest, your body needs higher amounts of oxygen to cool down and burn calories.

Support balance and mobility

As you age, strong legs are necessary for staying mobile, and that is where squats come in. Not only do they support leg strength but also your cores to stabilize muscles. These muscles play a vital role in maintaining balance while improving the communication between your muscle groups and your brain, thereby preventing falls.

Promote flexibility

Your muscles, ligaments, and tendons become less elastic with age, so you need to slow down this process by squatting. By bending and stretching your leg muscles while squatting, you will be more flexible and limber.

Prevent injuries

Squats help strengthen not only the muscles in your lower body but also your bones, tendons, and ligaments, which might lower the risk of injury.

Be versatile and convenient

There are many ways to alter squats to challenge your body and change up the muscular demand. You can choose a different squat for every day of the week, and this keeps your muscles challenged and prevents boredom.

You do not need any equipment while squatting. Everything you need is your body and enough space to lower your hips into a squatting position.

Wrapping up

The notion that squats can make you shorter is untrue, although they do result in temporary spinal compression of a few millimeters for about an hour. Fortunately, the intervertebral discs quickly return to their normal shape. Squatting offers numerous benefits for individuals of all ages. However, it is important to approach this exercise with caution and prioritize proper form and technique.

For parents whose children show an interest in squats or for adults considering incorporating them into their fitness routine, it is always advisable to consult a healthcare provider. Seeking guidance and support from a professional can help ensure safe and effective execution of squats, taking into account individual capabilities and potential considerations.

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