Does Lifting Weights Stunt Your Growth
For the majority of the fitness fanatics, you probably started out your fitness journey at a young age. Whether it was part of a school club or just as a hobby. A lot of us started lifting weights whilst young in an attempt to not be so “scrawny” or look like our favourite actors from the superhero movies.
But does lifting actually stunt your growth?
The common belief has arisen from overprotective parents who recently read in one of their magazines that stunted growth is a side effect of lifting at such a young age. You might have also heard it from friends who don’t work out because “it will stunt your growth”.
Hearing people telling you this constantly can lead you to have doubts about weightlifting and you might even start to believe it yourself!
So what does the science have to say about it?
During your teenage years, your bones have small areas known as growth plates at either end. These growth plates contain small hyaline cartilages called epiphyseal plates. These epiphyseal plates are responsible for promoting bone growth by the generation of chondrocyte i.e bone tissue. This is the process which actually results in your bones becoming longer and you growing!
The fear that lifting will stunt growth is due to the fact that weightlifting might negatively affect these growth plates. The heavy pressure applied by the weights can result in damage and ultimately lead to reduced growth.
So will lifting weights stunt your growth?
Now although I would love to tell you that I can definitively say that weighting doesn’t stunt your growth… I can’t. However at the same time, for all you overprotective mothers trying to find an article to support your argument, I also can’t say that it does!
I’m afraid to say that there is very little research on this topic. The fact that there is no research on the topic doesn’t prove or disprove anything.
On the other hand, however, there are studies which suggest that weightlifting can actually help to promote growth! Lifting weights have been proven to increased production of specific growth-related hormones such as testosterone, IGF-1 and Growth Hormone. We already know that these three hormones aid in growth and repair but there is no actual study confirming this…
So I can lift weights!
The simple answer is yes. The likelihood of you stunting your growth is minimal to none, and the only recorded damage to growth plates was due to improper technique.
So my advice is if you are an aspiring bodybuilder or just want to look better at the beach this summer but you’re still young is: “Take it slow”. Make sure that you know what you are doing, you understand the proper technique and if you need help ask!
A great beginners program for lifting is strong lifts, go check it out! Otherwise, go lift some heavy ass weights and go get big and strong!
When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor – Elon Musk