Do Squats Make You Shorter? (You’ve Been Fooled!)
If you’ve been recently going to the gym, you might have probably heard of the age-old myth. Is it just a typical rumor spread by gullible millennials? Or is there some truth to the myth?
For years, I have been lifting weights. Among the body parts, I treasure my leg my workouts the most. Specifically, my bum. I mean, who doesn’t want a firm, solid butt?
However, I’ve been disturbed by what everyone is saying – do squats make you shorter? I’m going to DEBUNK the mystery! Part of achieving fitness is proper education, after all.
Learning The History
Let’s start from where we all once was: Kids. It has become a popular notion that weightlifting has caused to stunt growth. Specifically, the age before our bone growth stops – 18-25 years old. While I can’t pinpoint the exact source where this has come from, considering hearsays have been passed on from one lifter to another. There IS one study that’s linked to this issue.
Going back to 1970s, there was one particular research on Japanese Child Laborers. They have been able to find out that the respondent's heights were shorter than average.
In addition, The New York Times even made a statement. It points out that children are prone to health concerns as they aren’t capable of building muscle mass like the fully-grown adults are able to do.
Nevertheless, these are all floating. We can throw light on the first study by concluding it was not because of their physical activities which made them short, but their LACK of proper nutrition. Pediatrics has decided to take action last November 2010. The study published investigated 60 years’ of information revolving around the connection between children and weightlifting.
After a thorough examination, researchers have been able to conclude there was no risk involved in weightlifting for kids. Even as we speak, there are no studies of squats making anyone shorter.
What Are The Chances?
Our bones have Epiphyseal Plates. These are found at the ends of our bones. When we go through puberty, they immediately attach to our bones.
Growing pains are usually triggered by our growth spurts. Once we have reached our limits, our bones Ossify. That’s when we stop growing altogether.
What you’re afraid of is putting too much pressure on your epiphyseal plates which may cause them to stop growing. What are the chances of this to be the reality? Answer: Not much. Fortunately, the tension that squats produce doesn’t create sufficient stress to stop you from growing. Nor does it makes you short.
To be precise, the time put under pressure isn’t enough. When talking about evident proof, there are more studies being conducted which have proven that weightlifting fortifies our joints and bones rather than damaging it. Even more so if it's done correctly.
Our Height Can Change
Contrary to what most people believe, we CAN get shorter. I did mention before that there are no studies that confirm squats make us shorter. Permanently, at least. If there’s one thing that’s the cause of our height to fluctuate, it’s by spinal compression. Don't worry, though, this is a normal occurrence.
Also, I do want to point out that this is not only coming from doing squats alone. Surprisingly, your height gradually changes throughout the day. Allow me to explain further. You’ll find fluid sacs being compressed together by your spinal discs. The moment you stand up, both of your head and shoulders produces pressure. The accumulated axial stress forces your sacs to squeeze.
The moment that this happens, this causes your height to decrease by at least 1%. Like I said, this isn’t permanent. And most likely, the change isn’t really noticeable. In order to get your height back to its original measurement, lying down is the key. After you do so, your sacs will expand once again.
My conclusion? Squats do not make you shorter lastingly. While it can cause temporary height reduction, any other workouts are able to do the same as well. In fact, any exercise that requires your spine to endure downward tension is as capable of fluctuating your height as squats and weight lifting.
Important: Find Balance
In some cases, the situation is beyond repair. This is especially the case if you're not doing your squats or overhead press correctly. In fitness, position and balance are everything to prevent serious injuries.
It doesn’t make you “short” but it does screw your back. More accurately, you’re causing your spine to wear and tear. When this happens, it creates Disc Herniation.
The condition is quite grave, but proper prevention measures can be done. If you have placed your spine accordingly when performing squats, it’ll greatly reduce then tension to your discs and spine.
You're able to tell what position you need to maintain by standing up straight. Your back should be evenly against the wall. From there, you'll be able to create a natural curve.
The small curve should be at your lower back. Once you have found this, you may call it as your neutral spine. During your squats and other workouts, ideally, it should be retained.
You may do so by concentrating on hinging your hips. It supports in helping your core to attain a sturdy, neutral spine. You may learn more in this brief video on how you can achieve perfect balance.
#Wrapping It Up
There you go, the myth has been busted! Looking at everything, squats don’t make your short. Aside from genetics, there’s only one link to height concerns – nutrition. And most of the time, the lack of proper nutrition.
While it’s true that improper position is critical to your back, there’s a difference between making you shorter and making you seem shorter. Surely, in this scenario, it’s the latter. I do want to point out: All of these are only possibilities, they can be avoided with balance and position.