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Can Pull-Ups Stunt Your Growth? (Explained For Beginners)

There’s been a rumor circulating for a long time that if kids start exercising too young…

(Particularly by performing resistance exercises…)

…Their growth can be stunted and they’ll end up not growing as well as other kids their age.

This seems to date back quite a way and even exercises like pull-ups have been included in the alleged growth stunting group of exercises.

In this article, we look at whether pull-ups can actually stunt your growth or if this is just another example of a runaway myth that’s convinced more people than it should’ve done that this is the case.

Can Pull-Ups Stunt Your Growth?

There’s no scientific evidence out there that says pull-ups can stunt your growth.

Even in childhood, no evidence can be found to prove this myth.

The myth relating to stunted growth as a result of resistance training (including pull-ups) actually dates back to the 1970s in Japan when children were used as laborers.

Researchers found that these child laborers were pretty much all abnormally short.

This found its way into the fitness world and thus, the myth that resistance training can stunt your growth was born.

More recent studies have actually found that children between the ages of 6 and 18 actually benefit from resistance exercises like pull-ups.

In adults, stunted growth as a result of certain exercises should cause you no concern as pull-ups are highly unlikely to have any detrimental effects on your growth or overall health.

Can Any Other Exercises Stunt Your Growth?

Yes and no!

When performed correctly, most weight lifting exercises will be completely safe for most people to do with no issues relating to stunted growth being present.

However, if you’re young and still growing, injuries to your growth plates could be an issue.

These can happen in any physical activity including exercise.

If you use the correct technique and follow safe lifting practices though, no exercise can directly lead to stunted growth.

What Causes Stunted Growth?

Inadequate Nutrition

If you don’t consume enough calories or you don’t eat enough of certain types of food, your growth could be stunted.

In fact, inadequate nutrition seems to be one of the leading causes of stunted growth.

Illness And Disease

Some illnesses, diseases, and infections can lead to stunted growth.

This is particularly true if any of them cause long-term sickness where your body struggles to get the nutrients it needs.

Maternal Illness During Pregnancy

A lot of the time stunted growth will be caused by something completely out of your control.

Things like your mom being sick during pregnancy is a perfect example.

Getting off to a healthy start in life can make a big difference to your long-term health, so any illness during pregnancy can have long-lasting consequences like stunted growth.

At What Age Can You Start Doing Pull-Ups?

There’s no set age when pull-ups can be done from.

If you have the strength and the ability to do them safely, then any age could be a suitable age to start including pull-ups in your exercise program.

Many children, some of them quite young, could probably benefit from doing pull-ups.

As long as they’re warming up properly, using the correct and safe technique, and working within the limits of their ability, pull-ups can safely be performed by children of any age.

It’s also worth mentioning that older people can start doing pull-ups, even if they’ve never done them before.

Age shouldn’t be the deciding factor as to whether an exercise is suitable for you or not.

Like with young children, as long as you’re able to perform pull-ups safely, they could be a great addition to your training program.

Can Pull-Ups Make You Taller?

No pull-ups won’t actually make you taller but they can certainly help give the appearance of greater height.

As pull-ups strengthen your back and other upper body muscles, your posture is likely to improve as a result of doing pull-ups on a regular basis.

Improved posture causes you to stand more upright with your shoulders pulled back and your chest lifted.

Your core muscles will be stronger which also helps give you a strong, tall, body position.


Effects of Exercise on Children and Teens