Does CrossFit increase height?

by   |   May 27, 2024

In the very first place, we will try to exhibit which activities CrossFit consists of and why this type of exercise is widely adopted by many people in their daily routines. More research and findings will be carried out to find out whether CrossFit has any impact on height attainment. Scroll down to immerse yourself into this subject and explore if CrossFit is a friend or foe to your height goals.

Understanding CrossFit

Before further investigation, we must get a better understanding of what CrossFit is. To begin with, CrossFit appears to be a high-intensity interval fitness regimen incorporating various elements from different disciplines, such as weightlifting, gymnastics, metabolic conditioning (cardio), and functional movements.

CrossFit is well-known for its methodology ‘workout of the day’ (WODs) in which all members will complete the regulated exercises across 10 recognized skills on the same day. Those skill-focused aspects are emphasized; for example, cardiovascular endurance, stamina, strength, power, speed, flexibility, coordination, balance, agility, and accuracy. The constantly varied workouts aim to improve the overall physical performance of participants.

CrossFit training is normally conducted in a group setting, which is designed following a 4-day training schedule (3 days for training and 1 day for resting) or a conventional workweek (5 days for training and 2 days for resting)[1].

All the movements in the training sessions are scaled to build enormous physical capacity and specifically technical competencies utilized in different sports modalities [2]. Participants’ performances with rapid, successive repetition are under the close supervision of experienced trainers or instructors. Most of the time, participants have limited time for break or recovery [3].

While CrossFit training highlights its effectiveness in exclusively building strengths, endurance, and agility, its purported impacts on height are still in question.

The Benefits of CrossFit

Overall Strength

A finding indicates that there is a statistical increase in the strength of the leg as well as left and right-hand grips [4]. CrossFit workouts improve the strength of multiple muscles because they utilize compound exercises that require the engagement of various joints and muscle groups. As a result, participants are inevitably enabled to gain greater core and muscle strength by practicing CrossFit, rather than isolation exercises that target only one group of muscles at a time.

Flexibility

Another advantage of CrossFit is flexibility, engendered by incorporating stretching and mobility movements into training exercises. Improved flexibility can impose a great deal of benefits on adults; for example, elasticity itself can help prevent injuries, and reduce joint pains as well as stiffness. People with flexible bones are less prone to fractures and consecutive injuries because the more rigid and brittle the bones are, the more likely to become susceptible to injuries under stress or sudden impact.

Bone Density

Bone density, referring to the mineral content in bones, imperatively serves older adults who may be exposed to higher risks of osteoporosis and many other bone-related issues. So, practicing CrossFit (such as squats, deadlifts, or weight-bearing workouts) might cause stress on the bones, leading to the body’s responses to increased density among the regional bone affected.

Height Perception

Some might observe the profound improvement in their body posture shaping as a result of adopting regular workouts. Indeed, CrossFit is responsible for stronger core muscles thanks to a wide variety of exercises that heavily target the use of cores, ranging from the abs and obliques to the lower back. A strong core, by its means, provides better support not only for the proper spine alignment but also for skeletal structures.

What’s more, CrossFit can contribute considerably to posture correction by reducing the tightness in the chest and shoulders of individuals. People with more open chests and pulled-back shoulders are believed to maintain a more upright direction and reduce slouching. With that in mind, a good posture could help enhance the perceived height by making you look taller. In the practical term, improved posture might work best to remove the strain on muscles and ligaments, and minimize the risk of back pain in the long-term period.

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Does CrossFit Increase Height?

Numerous studies have examined the effects of exercises, including resistance training provided in CrossFit on bone health, bone density, skeletal flexibility, and overall strength. However, there is limited evidence to suggest that it directly influences longitudinal skeletal growth beyond what is genetically predetermined. In other words, CrossFit does not directly affect height increase after the growth plates fuse at the end of puberty in children and adolescents.

Why Can’t CrossFit Increase Height?

In fact, your height will no longer develop as soon as the growth plates become inactive. These plates are located near the end of your long bones and is made of cartilage, a resilient and flexible tissue that allows bone growth, supporting the lengthening of your bones during childhood and adolescence.

As puberty progresses, there is a gradual increase of hormone production named estrogen and testosterone accelerating the closure or fusion of growth plates. When the growth plate closes, all the cartilages formed are mineralized and become rigid bones. This progress is called ossification which seals the longitudinal bone growth.

In addition, genetics itself is the primary agent determining the occurrence of growth plate closure. The timing and rate of growth plate closure are dependent on each individual’s genetic makeup. Therefore, CrossFit, no matter how intense and varied the exercises are, cannot reopen the ceasing growth plates again. In order words, practicing this workout can not increase height when people reach the age of maturation or when puberty ends.

Conclusion

While CrossFit inevitably offers a wealth of benefits not only for the physical but also mental well-being of people engaged, the notion that CrossFit can make you grow taller remains largely unsubstantiated by scientific backup. Therefore, instead of fixating on height enhancement, one should pay more attention to CrossFit’s proven advantages, such as improved strength, flexibility, better posture correction, and ameliorated bone thickness. By embracing CrossFit workouts into your balanced fitness routine and accepting the DNA-based stature, individuals are capable of staying committed to their goals without unrealistic expectations.

Research Articles

[1] Drake N., Smeed J., Carper M. J. and Crawford D.A. (April 2017). Effects of Short-Term CrossFit Training: A Magnitude-Based Approach. Journal of Exercise Physiology, 20(2). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3708295/

[2] Menargues-Ramírez, R., Sospedra, I., Holway, F. E., Sánchez, J. a. H., & Sanz, J. M. M. (2022). Evaluation of Body Composition in CrossFit® Athletes and the Relation with Their Results in Official Training. International Journal of Environmental  Research and Public Health (Online), 19(17), 11003. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191711003

[3] Tibana, R. A., De Almeida, L. M., De Sousa, N. M. F., Da Cunha Nascimento, D., De Sousa Neto, I. V., De Almeida, J. A., Souza, V. C., De Fátima T P L Lopes, M., De Tolêdo Nóbrega, O., Vieira, D. C. L., Navalta, J. W., & Prestes, J. (2016). Two Consecutive Days of Extreme Conditioning Program Training Affects Pro and Anti-inflammatory Cytokines and Osteoprotegerin without Impairments in Muscle Power. Frontiers in Physiology, 7. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2016.00260

[4] Yuksel, O., Gunduz B., and Kayhan M. (2018) Effect of Crossfit Training on Jump and Strength. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.11114/jets.v7i1.3896

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