Can weight lifting stunt your growth?

All throughout my pre-teen and teenage years, I was under the impression that lifting weights before a person is finished growing would stunt a persons growth. I have always heard this rumor and stayed away from weight lifting until high school, but have always wondered about the kids that did lift. It seemed as if a lot of my friends who lifted at younger ages did not get to be very tall, but their parents were not very tall either. I have also had friends who lifted starting in middle school and are now over six and half feet tall.

According to Dr. Avery Faigenbaum of the University of Massachusetts, weight lifting does not stunt growth in adolescents. In fact, a healthy diet while working out during adolescents actually helps a person reach maximum height. Betsy Keller of Ithica College has also found that this myth came about from a flawed study which only came from sports in which smaller athletes are more successful, such as gymnastics and competitive dancing. However, damaging growth plates can stunt a persons growth. Weight lifting runs a huge risk of damaging these growth plates which is how this theory came about.

In conclusion, weight lifting has proved not to stunt a adolescents growth but enhance it. This is something I wish that I knew before today so that I could have continued to progress towards the NBA. Unfortunately, this dream was crushed when I stopped growing before ever reaching six feet. A person should still be careful with weight lifting because it could damage their growth plates.


1 thought on “Can weight lifting stunt your growth?

  1. Blake Matthew Birns

    I think this is another myth just like the “coffee stunts your growth” one. I started drinking coffee at a very early age and I’m currently 6’1 so I don’t think that it made much of a difference. I also started working out when I was only 13 and that didn’t seem to have any effect either. Do I think young kids should do any serious, hardcore lifting? No. But I think it’s fine to start working out lightly at an early age.

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