Does Deadlifting Stunt Growth? UPDATED 2022 – A Complete Guide
If you’ve done your research, then you probably know the benefits deadlifting can have for your health, for weight loss and for muscle growth. However, does deadlifting stunt growth?
No matter your level of experience, it’s important to stay up to date on the research for any exercises you do, in order to understand why they’re effective, who they’re effective for, and whether continuing to do it is beneficial for you.
Because scientific study is fair, impartial, and unbiased, this means that it sometimes can uncover uncomfortable truths about your favorite healthy diet or your favorite workout routine…and because the internet is sometimes the opposite of those things, it can lead to these facts being misunderstood and spread as a panic.
So, this article will investigate whether deadlifting can stunt your growth, where the rumor came from, and how you can be sure that deadlift won’t stunt your growth or muscle gain.
Does Deadlifting Stunt Growth? A Complete Guide
To understand the question of ‘does deadlift stunt growth’, we should first examine what deadlifting is, why it’s such a popular workout, and why many people would be upset if they had to stop doing it.
A deadlift is an exercise using a barbell where you lift the weight up to your hips, using a grip where one hand is an overhand grip, and the other is an underhand grip.
For a deadlift, you start from a standing position, bend over to pick up the bar, and then lift it to your hips along with straightening your back again.
Deadlifts are one of the simplest barbell exercises you can do and are a great starting point for anyone looking to get into lifting. They’re the essential exercise for a low weight and can help with practicing your form and your grip for more advanced dumbbell uses.
As well as their benefits though, there has been some evidence that deadlifting can have an impact on your spine. This is because lifting the weight pits a lot of pressure on your back, specifically the lower back. Poor technique and form can cause injury to this area, and a spinal injury is not something you want to mess around with.
This is partly where the question of if deadlifting stunts growth or not came from. By doing exercises that put pressure on the back, it’s thought that the spine can become injured, and the epiphysis (growth plates in your bones) stop…well, growing.
Truthfully, the answer to the question ‘does deadlifting stunt growth’, is no. There is no scientific evidence or documented and proven anecdotal evidence that shows that deadlifting can stunt your growth.
In fact, by the time you start deadlifting your growth is already stunted…by your own body! Once we finish puberty, for most people, our bones will have already grown to their max potential and the growth plates will have fused, meaning that we no longer have the potential to grow taller.
Do Weighted Squats Stunt Growth?
If we know that deadlifting doesn’t stunt your growth, what about weighted squats? Do weighted squats stunt growth?
In short – yes, weighted squats stunt your growth…but only temporarily. There is evidence that shows that after a day of weighted squats, spinal shrinkage of up to 3.59mm can occur. This is the same amount of shrinkage you would get from walking, and it is completely reset after a day’s rest.
In the long term, weighted squats are no danger to your height, unless you’re doing them excessively. In that case, you should be worrying more about other things than those 3.59 millimeters.
Does Lifting Weights at a Young Age Stunt Growth?
The reason that weights won’t stunt an adult’s growth is because there’s no growth left to be stunted…but there’s a more legitimate concern when it comes to someone younger.
Especially, for a teen who is still going through puberty, as growth spurts can either happen towards the beginning, the end, or as a consistent growth throughout the puberty process.
It has been proven by a study in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine that lifting weights at a young age will not stunt your growth. This misconception comes from something that is a proven fact, which is that spinal injuries can cause growth to become stunted in young children.
Yes, it’s possible for lifting weights to cause one such spinal injury, and therefore limit growth…but weights aren’t the direct cause of stunted growth, and it’s not a guarantee that an injury will happen.
Does Building Muscle Stop Height Growth?
Let’s move onto the next common question about growth and bodybuilding, which is ‘does building muscle stop height growth?’. For the reasons we’ve gone over above, there’s no evidence that building muscle when you’re young (or old) will have any effect on your height.
That means while building muscle will not stop height growth, it also won’t improve it. You won’t get any taller from gaining muscle, so this shouldn’t be a goal you have in mind when you start training.
What is a Good Age to Start Lifting Weights?
Now that we know that lifting weight has no effect on growth, or any other adverse effects on young people, what is a good age to start lifting weights?
Here’s some good news; if you’re old enough to read this article with no trouble, then you’re old enough to start lifting weights.
The minimum age for strength training as a kid is 7 years old, and this is recommended for children who are athletic, and have good control of balance and posture. For less fitness-minded kids, waiting until an older age (9-10) will mean that they have an easier time transitioning into weightlifting from other exercises.
Deadlifting & Stunted Growth – Closing Thoughts
It’s safe to count the myth of ‘does deadlifting stunt growth’ officially busted by us, as there is no evidence to show that deadlifting, or any weightlifting exercise can stunt the growth of an adult or a child.
As usual, this comes with the caveat of performing these exercises safely and properly. If you’re lifting weights wrong, you could cause yourself a serious spinal injury, which will definitely stunt your growth along with a lot of other problems.
For tips and advice on how to lift weights properly for a beginner and an expert, check out our guides to weightlifting standards, as well as weighted exercise routines, WODs and more!