You may have heard that workouts that involve stretching the spine can aid height growth.
Since a lot of Calisthenics workouts like pull-ups and leg raises make the spine stretch out, people often wonder if they can be performed to increase their height. But how beneficial is this approach for seeing visible results? Join us as we unravel the science behind it!
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Does Performing Calisthenics Exercises Increase Your Height?
The short answer to this is no- Calisthenics exercises cannot increase your natural height per se, irrespective of their intensity or frequency. This is because how tall we become at the end of our growing years is largely determined by our genetics and nutrition, among other factors, which cannot be changed. Moreover, once we reach a certain age, our bodies stop growing horizontally, and there’s nothing we can actually do to increase height.
However, bodyweight exercises like Calisthenics can actually help your body stretch out and improve your posture over time, making you stand tall and appear physically taller. But how does this happen?
As you may already know, our spines compress during the day when we’re mostly upright, but decompress during the night (to our original height). And this phenomenon can decrease our height by one centimetre during the day.
The good news is that certain Calisthenics exercises and yoga poses may help you regain this lost height, but again, this isn’t a permanent change. You cannot gain height gradually to become taller.
So, now that the confusion is out of the way, here are a few exercises listed below for attaining a good posture and spine stretching.
1. Back Bridge
Performing a back bridge can be somewhat challenging if you’re new to Calisthenics, but it can be highly effective in stretching your spine. Besides, this workout can engage the muscle groups near the shoulders, arms, hips, and core muscles.
For this, start by laying flat on the floor with your feet flat, knees bent, and your toes resting in the forward direction. Place your arms behind your head- your fingers should be in the same direction as your toes.
Now, slowly lift your upper back from the ground, supporting your body weight on your toes, forming an arch. Hold this position for a few seconds and lower your body to the original position.
2. Bar Hang
Bar hang is exactly what it sounds like, hanging from a horizontal bar (or a pull-up bar mounted higher), which helps utilise your bodyweight and gravity to stretch the spine. Further, this exercise can strengthen your upper body muscles, specifically in the shoulders and arms.
All you have to do is grab a bar with your fist facing forward at shoulder width apart. Keep your legs straight significantly above the ground, and hold this position for at least a few seconds before releasing the bar.
3. Standing Toe Touch
Standing toes touch is another versatile workout that can not only help with forward spine stretch but also your hamstrings and calves. Simply lean forward with your arms straight and extended and bend over to touch your toes or as far as you can reach comfortably without experiencing any pain.
Hold this position for a minimum of 5 seconds before coming back to the original position. As you continue with this workout, you will be able to reach further, ultimately touching the toes completely!
4. Jump Squat
In addition to stretching out the spine, performing jump squats can work out your inner thighs and glutes and even help reduce belly fat. Get into the squat position and then jump up with your arms and palms facing upwards instead of returning to the usual standing position.
5. Cobra Stretch
Cobra stretch is one of the best exercises that’s also incredibly easy to perform. Simply lie down with your face and chest facing the ground. Place your arms close to your chest, shoulder width apart and the palms on the ground.
Now, press on the floor as you raise your neck and torso without moving your hips and legs. Hold this position for 30 to 40 seconds and slowly return to the original position.
6. Leg Raise
Leg raises are one of the more common exercises that can help you lose weight from your lower body and also stretch your spine for a good posture.
Lie on the ground on your back, keep your legs together, and try lifting them with your feet pressed against each other to as high as you can. Place your hands on the side of your upper thighs to provide your legs extra support so that you can lift them higher.
For best results, hold this position for a minimum of 20 seconds before coming back to the original position.
Pull-ups can be considered a more intensive form of the bar hang workout mentioned above, as in this case, you have to pull yourself up with the support of your arm muscles. And although keeping straight legs is recommended, you can bend them at the knees initially for convenience.
Yoga Poses For A Good Posture
Combining Calisthenics and yoga can be an even better way to maintain a healthy posture. For instance, the tiger pose can help strengthen your back and core, which can improve your posture over time. It involves stretching an opposite arm and leg from an all-four position.
Aside from that, you can try the cat-cow position with alternating outer and inner arches. Get into the same position as the back bridge workout and arch your back with the head up. Then, push your back towards the ground with your neck down.
A good posture is also about maintaining a healthy lifestyle as much as it’s about exercise. So, make sure you’re maintaining a straight back, especially when sitting for long hours and performing some sort of physical activity every day.
And we will see you next time!
Founder of www.calisthenics-101.co.uk. Training calisthenics since 2012.
Currently working on: 30 second one-arm handstand, muscle-up 360, straddle planche.