Does Lifting Weights Stunt Growth

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Weight Lifting Stunts Growth Myth

Does lifting weights stunt your growth?

Weightlifting is performed to build the body up, not harm it. Yet there is some concern that lifting weights may stunt growth. This is applicable to only youth as most people cease to growth taller by their late teens. Yet what about training in those teen years? Will that make the trainee end up shorter than they would have been in they had not lifted weights?

The key factor for growth lies in the growth plates. These unique features in the body play a big role in the growth of each bone set. Your bones grow around the growth plates somewhat like the rings on a tree (although you stop at the teen years while a tree keeps growing).

During the teen years the growth plates are active and at the same time somewhat vulnerable. Damage to the growth plates can occur before they mature and harden. Then the length of the bone can actually be altered. And this in turn can cause a bone to be shorter than a corresponding bone (say the arm on one side compared to the other).

Fortunately these occurrences are rare. Standard weight lifting does not hurt the growth plates. It typically takes a direct hit on the growth plate (a unlikely scenario) to impact the growth plate negatively.

Good lifting form is key to keeping the body healthy, including preventing damage to the weight plates.

On the flip side of the coin, there are some things that can cause impairment to an adolescent's growth plates. One of these is caffeine. Very large doses (several cans of soda, for instance, or the energy drinks) can hurt the growth plates. And lack of exercise and/or lack of sleep can also harm them.

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