Do Push-Ups Stunt Height Growth?

Working out benefits our health in every aspect, but certain exercises might hinder their growth. For instance, engaging in regular push-ups is believed to make them shorter. However, is this claim true? The answer is below. Keep scrolling through!

Do push-ups stunt height growth? Debunk the myth

The belief that lifting weights might stunt growth originated in Japan in the 1970s. Researchers noticed that child laborers who carried heavy loads all day were abnormally short. That thought took hold in popular culture, and people gradually got the idea that lifting weights or practicing body weight and resistance exercises when you are young could lead to short stature.

However, a study in 2010 busted this myth that performing resistance training, like push-ups, benefited boys and girls aged 6 to 18 almost universally [1].

So, if practicing this exercise does not stunt height growth, does it make us taller?

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Is it possible to grow taller when doing push-ups?

Our height is mainly determined by genetics and nutritional factors. From birth through adolescence, our bodies grow due to the lively activity in the growth plates located at the ends of long bones. These plates start hardening and stopping to contribute to height increase until reaching the end of puberty. Besides, growth hormone levels play a vital role in dictating how tall a person will ultimately become.

Aside from familiar factors, keeping our bodies active via exercises might benefit our optimal height, though its direct impact is not much. Physical activities, like push-ups, help increase muscle growth and improve overall physical fitness. They also promote posture and muscle tone, making you look taller. But remember that they do not stretch your bone length once your growth plates have closed.

Benefits of push-ups for teens

Work for different muscle groups

It is easy to notice that training push-ups are good for your chest and arms. But do you know this compound exercise might target different muscle groups at once? When a push-up is done correctly, it will work on your chest, shoulders, arms, back, stomach, and hips.

Build up upper-body strength

This exercise is an ideal way to reinforce and tone your upper-body muscles, including your shoulders, triceps, and chest. Because you rely on these muscles for activities, from picking things up to pushing a shopping cart. Having more upper-body strength can enhance your functional fitness, making it simple for daily activities. Moreover, it might increase your athletic performance.

Support your core

During a push-up, your core will stay engaged to keep your trunk stable and maintain your proper form. For example, when combining a push-up with a plank, you are performing a core-strengthening exercise. In fact, practicing advanced push-ups on unstable surfaces, like an exercise ball, helps stabilize your core [2].

Improve posture

When your core is stabilized, it will support your posture. Also, strengthening your abs, shoulders, and back can help improve your posture effectively. That’s good news because poor posture might contribute to back pain, low energy, muscle fatigue, impaired breaking, and other health issues that might hurt your exercise performance.

Support bone health

If our bone density is low, we tend to take risks of fractures, and badly, osteoporosis. That’s why we need to have a strong bone mineral density as it is necessary for our bone strength and health. So, performing weight-bearing and resistance exercises, like push-ups, can help build strong bones.

Enhance heart health

A study pointed out a subsidiary connection between push-up power and heart health. Particularly, men who performed 40 push-ups had a lower risk of heart issues over the next 10 years than those who only did 10 push-ups or fewer [3].

How many push-ups should a teen do?

In fact, the average number of push-ups varies by gender and stage of development. For instance, a 14-year-old boy should pump out 24 times, while a girl can perform 10 reps. Each should be done at a three-second pace, with no stopping.

But is it good to do push-ups daily?

According to the researcher, a 48- to 72-hour rest period is necessary for resistance training to recover. That means it will be better to perform push-ups every 2 to 3 days instead of daily [4]. It will be ideal if you practice active recovery on rest days, like walking or swimming. But remember to listen to your body and give yourself a break.

A man is smiling while doing push ups on the floor

How to perform a proper push-up?

First, start in a plank position, balanced on your hands and toes. Then your feet need to be around 2 to 4 inches apart, with your legs straight. Your fingers should be pointed forward, with your hands flat. Avoid hiking or sagging your hips to invalidate the push-up.

As a newbie, you need another person sitting in front of them to check whether their hands are parallel to the floor at a place equal to a 90-degree bend. Next, engage through your core and glutes. Slowly bend your elbows to lower yourself toward the floor as far down as possible. Make sure to maintain your alignment as you breathe out and press yourself back up to the beginning position.

Perform 2 to 4 sets of 5 to 6 reps, and do not forget to rest for 1 to 2 minutes between each set.

What are push-up alternatives?

If you find it hard to perform a traditional push-up, you can try these alternatives and still get the benefits.

Wall push-ups

Instead of using the floor, try with a wall for support. This adjustment puts the similar muscle groups to work as a traditional push-up.

  • First, stand facing the wall with both arms stretched out and 3 to 4 inches wider than the shoulders. Place the hands flat on the wall at shoulder height.
  • Bend elbows and lower toward the wall at a 45-degree angle.
  • Push back against the wall until the elbows are straight.
  • Repeat about 10 to 15 times.

Diagonal push-ups

This move uses a surface at about your hip height; for example, a kitchen counter. Make sure it is stable, and avoid using chairs or tables.

  • Stand at a kitchen counter and put both hands on it, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Steep the feet back at a 45-degree angle or until feeling some body weight in the arms.
  • Slowly lower the body toward the counter, keep the core engaged, and the head aligned with the spine when pushing back up.
  • Repeat about 10 to 15 times.

Half push-ups

This alternation is also a great way to build the strength that a traditional push-up offers. And when your muscles are strong enough, you can advance to a full push-up.

  • Begin on all fours on the floor, using a mat for comfort.
  • Walk the hands out until they are in front of the shoulders. The hands should be about 3 to 4 inches wider than the shoulders. Meanwhile, the knees should be on the floor.
  • Drop the hips and engage the core to form a straight line from the head to the knees.
  • Slowly lower the body toward the floor until the elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Breathe out and push back up.
  • Repeat about 10 to 15 times.
A man is doing push ups on a wooden floor

In sum up,

If the idea of training push-ups to stop or stunt height growth has been on your mind, you can rest assured that it cannot make you shorter. However, make sure to do a proper form to maximize health benefits, as well as reduce the risk of injury. Last but not least, always embrace your uniqueness and be comfortable and confident in your own body.


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