If you have always been into lifting then you probably have heard to not start lifting until you are a teenager or fourteen years old. There is a lot myths that go around that is why we are here and have done the research and are ready to get the facts straight.
Once you reach a certain age around 30 you stop growing and actually can start shrinking according to numerous reports. Between the ages of 30 and 70 males lose about an inch and women lose about two inches. But how about when you lift weights your entire life what happens then?
So does weight training affect the height of an individual? No there is no scientific evidence supporting the face that lifting weights will have any affect on your height when performed properly. This means don't over do it with heavier weights then you are capable of lifting to also prevent injuries. Lifting weights correctly will not stunt your growth.
Does Weightlifting Actually Stunt Your Growth
The old myth has been around for years don't start lifting to early it will stunt your growth. This in our opinion and since there is nothing backed by science is completely false…..when you lift correctly.
If you lift weights with bad form an lift too heavy in that form then yeah you are going to have issues with your future potential. Nothing more then sitting with an arched back so always keep your back straight it adds up over the years. So if you are squatting heavy weights with no belt and leaning forward the entire time you may screw up your back that will in turn make it so you can't stand up straight which will affect your height.
Back injuries can affect your height because if you have to get surgery and discs removed, fused, etc. you will lose a little height. Also knee injuries can affect your height so make sure on those squats you aren't dipping your knees down over your toes keep the correct form. Work with a trainer or in high school we had a weight lifting class that was beyond amazing.
My dad wrestled many years, did lift weights at times and had major knee problems. But what really did the damage was driving on stand up forklifts and working on concrete all day he has had to have multiple knee surgeries and may have to have a 3rd put in and he has lost 2 1/2 inches from his height and will lose more.
My grandfather in law was a dairy farmer and worked on concrete his whole life and just had a knee surgery he has lost over 2 inches as well. The point is what you do for your day to day job will have more affect then what you do in the gym for 30-90 minutes 5 to 6 days a week. In the gym or your home gym you are in a control environment and the biggest thing you have control over is the amount of weights you lift and the correct form you need to keep lifting throughout your sets.
So no there is not evidence that lifting weights will stunt your growth. I know of people in their 80's still in shape lifting weights and they always have said they work on their form. Given they do need to do a lot more stretching and most do some form of yoga or additional stretch exercises as they get older.
Does this mean you can get your 4 year old into lifting weight tomorrow? Absolutely…..not. They can start lifting weights when they are ready if you want to get the foam ones you can get at Walmart HERE (I have a set of these for my 2 year old daughter lol). Then go for it and work on there form for years that will work out better for them.
Most everybody remembers that child weight lifter that was nicknamed “Hercules” that was back in the 90's.
What a lot of people don't know about is the history behind the famous little Hercules I will sum it up quickly you can read more with a simple google search of Richard Sandrak which is his name.
He grew up starting weight training at the early age of 2 along with his father helping or encouraging him to a very strict diet along with a strict workout regimen. I will just say that years later there was some family complications that I don't feel I have a right to get into but it led to him eventually getting out of lifting weights seriously by age 15 but up until that time he lifted weights heavily and all the time.
He spent hours in the gym everyday! Along with strict dieting since around age 2 up until he was 15. Very intense training so if anyone's growth was going to be stunted it would be this man correct? Well at age 27 he stands at 5′ 9″ which according to reports is actually taller then his father and mother so it definitely did not shrink his height.
Learning from this I say it is okay to get kids into lifting early then the old myth says but don't push it. The reason why Richard Sandrak quit he says is because he got bored with it and that is probably because he didn't experience other things. So let them do it as a hobby learning the correct form and lifting lightly and make it fun not a chore. Trust me they will stick with it much longer.
When Can A Teenager Start Lifting Weights?
There is no hurry to start lifting as a teenager as an individual can completely change their body in months when they are younger with the correct training. I personally didn't start lifting until I was almost 15 but it was definitely for the better I wish I would have stuck with it, but I have had many injuries over the years and most all of them were from other sports not from lifting.
So start a child as early as you or they want to and consult their physician first to get more insight. Start light and make sure to focus mainly on form. If there is classes for kids get them involved we always had classes in school for weight training and they also had after school training.
Get them going to powerlifting meets to see it live in action and see there response.
So Is It Bad For A 13 Year Old To Lift Weights?
No it is not bad for a 13 year old to lift weights. It is bad for a 13 year old to lift weights with bad form or lifting too heavy of weights for their body. Consult a physician get them involved with professionals like a weight training class or even talk to a personal trainer.
If they are interested in lifting weights get them involved in different aspects too make sure it isn't just a fad.
Does Weightlifting Make You Taller?
There has been no evidence that weightlifting affects your height in anyway when done correctly. What does correctly mean? That means correct form and correct weights. Don't go too heavy which will lead to bad form. Consult a physician and go to classes to learn the correct way to lift.
Can Weight Lifting Stunt A Child's Growth?
There has been no scientific evidence to state that weight lifting will stun a child's growth when done correctly. With that being said they need to be careful if they get involved at a younger age as injuries can happen to anybody and the odds add up if you are lifting incorrectly.
Get some light foam weights for them so they can lift with you (out of harms way) to get the gist of what goes into weight training. Don't push them into it just let them get interested on their own they will enjoy it much more. I wish I had gotten more involved when I was younger. So maybe take them to a local powerlifting competition to let them see where they could be in the future first.
There is no evidence to suggest weight training will affect your height or stunt a persons growth. Your day to day activities will affect your height and growth more likely then weight training.
The biggest emphasis has to be on using the correct form with weight training and this includes using the proper weights. When you lift too heavy of weight this leads to bad form which leads to injury. It is a domino affect so start with correct form and light weights.
Weight training can be fun and can get addicting in a good way. Just be careful out there.