Does Weight Lifting Stunt Your Growth?

Well this post is for our younger readers, the teenagers who are just starting to get into fitness. If you’re just starting to workout chances are some people have told you that you shouldn't lift weights because it’ll stunt your growth. Perhaps your mom read an article or post on Facebook saying that their bundle of joy (IE you…) should stay away from lifting weights or else they will stay short. Well the short answer is no, working out will out not stunt your growth. But we know you will need the facts to back it up to make your mom or who ever to stop with all the nagging. 

First up working out and lifting weights with proper form will not stunt your growth. Just like other physical features, your hight is determined by genetics. If your mom is 5’2” and your dad is 5’6”, well your parents didn’t give you much to work with. But lets say you hail from a taller family, if you stay away from injury then you will achieve your max hight. 

See, during adolescence, long bones, such as the bones in your legs, have small hyaline cartilages known as epiphyseal plates connected to each end. These epiphyseal plates increases the length of the bones through multiplying and regenerating ossifying cells known as chondrocytes. This process is what makes your bones longer and you taller. The fear is that at such a young age, weightlifting will negatively impact the epiphyseal plates, otherwise known as your "growth" plates, through the heavy pressures applied, causing you to lose growth potential. So is there any research that backs up this claim… nope. Ironically there are some studies that suggest weightlifting might even help you grow by increasing certain growth-promoting hormones such as testosterone, GH, and IGF-1. The only times weightlifting was ever linked to damaging epiphyseal plates were through injuries caused by improper lifting technique and not weightlifting itself. And even then, when these injuries were treated, growth rates remained the same.

Epiphyseal Plates
Epiphyseal plate

Whether you’re working out or lifting weights for the fun of it or because you want to get stronger for a certain sport you play you need to focus on proper form. For younger or adolescent athletes we recommend you stay away from lifting weights only until you can do proper body weight exercises like the push up, squat, plank, pull up and dip. If you skip this crucial step and jump right into lifting weights you will without a doubt do them with improper form and injure yourself. Heck, we even advise full grown adults to start off with body weight exercises so that they can practices their motor skills before getting into the bench press or dead lift. So like we said, lifting weights will not stunt your growth just as long as you do it with proper form and stay away from injury.

Young Weight Lifters