Our health and wellness are often surrounded by a mix of half-truths and myths, even in the face of expert opinions and scientific evidence. One question frequently raised in fitness groups and by coaches is whether lifting weights can make you shorter.
If you’re considering starting a weightlifting routine or are a parent of a child under 18, you might be curious about this topic. While it may seem plausible, the good news is that you or your child do not need to refrain from lifting weights.
Continue reading to discover the actual answer.
Why do people believe that lifting weights makes them shorter?
This misconception started from anxieties over kids causing injuries to their growth plates when they participate in a strength training program. Since lifting heavy weights places immense stress on the muscles, joints, and body, it might make sense that this sort of workout could hinder bone growth and development.
Also, some studies have pointed out that excessive physical labor by children and young children hurts their growth and development. Scientists have studied that child laborers in India have met issues about growth as they age . This might make some think that intense exercise is one of the main culprits. But there are other factors concerning. These child laborers work in horrible conditions and long hours, breathe toxic air, and have poor nutrition and sleep. They also did not have the chance to socialize or play, which is vital for development.
What does science say?
How tall you will be was mainly determined before you are born, and cannot be impacted by your training. So, there is no correlation and no scientific research to connect lifting weights to your height.
In fact, children and young teens who lift weights not only benefit from body composition and improved strength but also tend to have more strong bones, reduced risk of injuries, increased self-esteem, and better overall interest in fitness. Also, weight lifting makes the body stimulate growth hormone production, which plays a vital role in boosting bone growth. But some things might make you shorter while performing this workout. For instance, improper weight lifting techniques might cause serious injuries to the bones, leading to seizing growth.
Hence, it is necessary to learn how to do it correctly before starting to avoid hurting yourself.
How to lift weights properly and safely?
Here are some safety tips and guides you should notice to ensure proper and effective weight lifting training.
Use a suitable amount of weight
You need to start with a weight that you can lift 12 to 15 times without feeling tired. For most people, a single set of 12 to 15 reps with an appropriate weight might build strength efficiency. As you get stronger, it is okay to increase the amount of weight.
Start slow and do not rush into it
It should be noted that conquering heavy weights cannot happen overnight. If you are a newbie, the most important thing is to start slow and build up gradually. That means you should start with lighter weights and higher reps as long as you feel comfortable. Then focus on the performance of the movement rather than on the number of weight.
To be safe and effective, a teen should begin with a proper warm-up and cool down, perform proper form, pace and technique, and maintain suitable progression. Doing 1-2 sets with about 10-15 reps. Resistance using exercise bands, free weights, and body weight are all safe and effective choices.
Pay attention to the age
Weight lifting before puberty might not be helpful for children to build their muscles to obtain the full benefits. So, if your child is between 9 to 12 years old, it is hard to see much improvement. Meanwhile, teens might meet issues on their growth plates because these plates are spots of new growth or cartilage that have not completely solidified into bone yet.
But some reckon that determining when a child or teenager is ready to lift weights should be performed on an individualized basis, not mainly by age. In fact, kids between 7 to 8 years old can start this workout if they are interested. Importantly, it is needed to follow the same rules as adults when they are starting.
Have a professional coach to train and supervise
Reported weight lifting injuries in children start from fractures, meniscal tears, spondylolysis to cardiac break and dislocations. The huge majority of these injuries happen in those working out by themselves without supervision. So, if your children or young teens are interested in lifting weights, make sure they are supervised by a certified personal trainer or coach. This helps lower the risk of injury and get better benefits.
Take a proper rest
It is best to work for all your muscle groups in a single session 2 or 3 times per week or plan daily sessions for particular muscle groups. For instance, if you work your arms and shoulders on Monday, Tuesday will be for your legs, and so on.
What are other health benefits of lifting weights?
Burn your body fat
Lifting weights makes muscle tissues burn more calories to reduce overall body fat. Even when the workout is done, muscles keep burning more calories for up to 48 hours. So, performing it consistently helps you get physiological changes, including increased bone density, decreased percent body fat, and increased lean body mass.
This workout helps strengthen the muscles of your core, which support your spine and other muscles. Also, they reduce the discomfort or back pain and unlock some of the damage caused by sitting all day long.
Reduce risks of chronic diseases
Muscles form the support for all the movement, coordination, and balance of your body. Lifting weights helps enhance the number and diameter of collagen fibrils in the tendons in order to connect muscles to bones, delivering better support and flexibility . So, if the body is strengthened through lifting weights, it might be less likely to suffer injury.
Advance quality of life
Believe it or not, weight lifting not only boosts your body composition and leaves a toned look but also advances your overall health and makes you a happier person. By giving you confidence in yourself, it will bring you in a better mood or help you prevent depression.
To sum up
It is always worth checking the facts rather than going by rumor or asking someone on a forum. Many things you might reckon sound seemingly reasonable, turn out to be myths. Of course, lifting weights has the potential to give amazing changes to your body. And the key is to know how and when to start to reduce the risk of injury.
Hope this helps!
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