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Can pull up exercise increase height?

  1. Feb 16, 2015 #1
    Can pull up exercise (at a younger age, say, before 15 years old) increase height? My guess is yes, since weight lifting could decrease height (Or that is another myth?) If yes, by how much?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2015 #2
    Why do you think this? By what means? Doing a quick google search all that comes up are crackpot looking websites.
  4. Feb 16, 2015 #3
    Space explorers get longer by couple of inches , at least temporarily. I remember some discussion (in physicsforums?) that in the movie Avatar, they show taller species since the gravity in that planet is less. So I guess gravity does play a role in one's height. Now, I don't know why I'm comparing gravity with bone stretch.
  5. Feb 16, 2015 #4


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  6. Feb 17, 2015 #5
    Here is some anecdotal evidence. I've done 20+ pull ups 3-4 times a week for several years and I'm still the same height :)
  7. Feb 17, 2015 #6

    "On Earth, the disks between the vertebrae of the spinal column are slightly compressed due to gravity. In space, that compression is no longer present causing the disks to expand."

    The pull up should not have an impact, since it is done for a very short time. For a completely bedridden patient, this height increase should be observable, I would imagine.
  8. Feb 18, 2015 #7
    Hanging from either your arms or your feet does reverse the pressure on the inter-vertebral disks (the compression pressure has now become an expansion pressure), and so it makes sense that it will increase your height. However, this increase is likely to be very marginal at best, my guess is on the order of a millimeter or so in the time frame that pull-ups are usually done for (a few minutes at most).

    The end result is that you will have an expansion pressure on your inter-vertebral disks for a few minutes, no pressure on the disks for the 8 hours a day you are lying down, and regular compression pressure for the other 16 hours.

    So no, doing pull-ups won't make you taller, and frankly doing weights won't make you shorter either using similar logic. Any height change from any exercise is likely to be from spinal injury or curving, and not from anything else. Certainly there is no way that the length of anyone's bones will change, in the absence of a bad break.
  9. Feb 19, 2015 #8
    Absolutely not. If anything at 15 you should be focusing on body weight workouts that are SAFE. Send me a PM I have a wealth of experience lifting and currently workout at a strongman gym with some state and national competitors.
  10. Feb 19, 2015 #9
    Centeries ago there was a device called "the rack", an instument of torture. I don't know if you could find one for sale today, but I imagine it's not that hard to build. I suppose spending about 6 hours a day stretched out on one could add a centimeter or two to your height, but only if you spend the rest of your time lying down. Otherwise you might lose some or all of your painfully acquired gains.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2015
  11. Feb 19, 2015 #10


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    On a board where people have been shot and killed for giving medical advice to posters asking health-related questions, you go and suggest the OP could go find a "rack" to increase his height? :)):biggrin:
  12. Feb 19, 2015 #11
  13. Feb 19, 2015 #12
    I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that this question is only an academic curiosity and that you're not breaking one of PF's most strongly-enforced rules (no asking for medical advice).

    Anyway. Traction therapy, the application of a *gentle* force to a body part for a long period of time is well known. It's used to help burn victims regrow skin, it's how native people in some parts of the world perform body modifications (extended ear lobes, for instance). It's also being explored as a means to reverse circumcision and as a treatment for men with micropenis (as in "one or two studies with small samples of men with very specific conditions showing some promise", not "go strap weights to your junk to make your package bigger").

    But I'd be very surprised to hear of pull-up routines making anyone taller. Pull-ups are not gentle forces over a long time, and the spine isn't a single homogeneous piece of material that can just be stretched out.

    On the other hand, if you're out of shape then an upper-body workout will certainly improve posture, causing you to stand more straight up which will create the appearance of being taller, and will certainly do far more for your appearance than any contrived spine-stretching device.
  14. Feb 20, 2015 #13
    My 11 year daughter comes in the shorter side, and by looking at her growth chart, her pediatrician told us that she will be about 5ft tall as an adult. I was wondering if it is worth investing my money and her time in a chin up bar. Even if I buy, I don't expect her to do any pull ups, she might be curious everyday to see how long she can hold hanging onto the bar. So don't worry, I won't do anything discussed here as a medical advice :) But these are interesting reads.
  15. Feb 27, 2015 #14
    That's cool! So why don't we lie down on the floor and stretch all our 4 limbs into 4 or 2 directions ?
  16. Feb 27, 2015 #15


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    Well, for the same reason we don't yank on our socks to lift ourselves off the ground. It doesn't do anything.
  17. Feb 27, 2015 #16
    I think height increase machines do the same thing, don't they ?
  18. Feb 28, 2015 #17


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    Same thing as lying on the floor and stretching?

    An external force pulling on your limbs is very different than you merely extending your limbs.
  19. Feb 28, 2015 #18


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    I don't understand how Pull-ups could increase your height. :oldbiggrin:
  20. Feb 28, 2015 #19
    May be the frequent change of pull-ups made Greg to carry less weight in his early years.
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