Do Pull-ups Increase Height? (Solved!)
Height is roughly 80% determined by genetics, and the other 20% is determined by environmental factors, such as exercise, diet, and sleep. Some forms of high-intensity exercise have been shown to release human growth hormone (HGH) and can also help us stand straighter and taller, and as pull-ups are classed as high-intensity, so it's natural to question if they increase height.
The pull-up itself will not help to elongate the body or increase bone length. Instead, it can help you to look taller by strengthening the upper body and core muscles which will help you to stand with a straighter posture and with your head held high. Pull-ups are also effective in shaping the upper body into a V-shape and leave you feeling confident and healthy.
Once growing has finished then similar to different foods, pull-ups will not contribute to the growth of your long bones and a subsequent increase in height, but it is important to understand the effects that pull-ups have on the body and if they can help to maintain our height and even gain a fraction.
There are also some interesting, indirect benefits of performing pull-ups that can promote a positive self-image and ease the height concerns you may have.
Pull-ups And HGH Production For Height Gain
Human growth hormone (HGH) is released by the pituitary gland throughout the day and maintains overall health, such as regulating muscle and bone growth. If we haven't finished growing then HGH is essential to growing taller. After we have stopped growing it remains an essential component for overall health and such things as maintaining bone density and regulating metabolism.
Muscle degradation naturally occurs through aging, and we can lose anywhere from 3-5% per decade after the age of 30 (1). Both HGH (building muscle mass and maintaining muscle tissue) and testosterone (stimulates protein synthesis for muscle growth), play a vital role in maintaining muscle mass, and when it comes to the upper body, pull-ups are the Grand Daddy and can be classed as a high-intensity muscle building exercise which releases both HGH and testosterone (2).
This results in increased blood flow and aid in maintaining the support of the spine through sustained bone mass and stronger core muscles. So, at any age pull-ups can be beneficial to the height you stand throughout the day.
How to Perform a Pull-up For Height Gain
- You should feel comfortable grabbing the bar, with your hands facing towards or away from you. You should not force your hands if you are not ready for the pressure.
- Stick your chest out a little and stand straight.
- The bar should be a little higher than your feet. Once you are under the bar, jump or stretch and grasp the bar with a full grip.
- Pull your body up until your chin is slightly above the bar.
- You can cross your legs to help maintain balance and to stabilize your body in a vertical, centered position. Resist your body from swinging, maintaining a direct line.
- Lower yourself in a slow and controlled manner to work really your core muscles.
- Repeat the next pull-up just before your arms are fully extended.
How Many Pull-ups a Day to See Results?
A pull-up is a major accomplishment and it is normal to not be able to even do 1 at the start. There is no set amount of pull-ups that you should perform to increase height, as increasing your height through pull-ups is dependent on slowly growing your muscles to support the spine.
Information on guidelines for pull-ups is conflicting, but for beginners is you should listen to your body, and if you cannot even manage 1 pull-up then you can usually find at the gym a pull-up station with support weight to ease the pressure of doing pulling yourself up and down.
You want to be aiming for around 5-8 pullups in sets of 3 to start to see real gains.
Can Pull-ups Stunt Height Growth?
Performing pull-ups will not stunt height growth. However, anything in excess and without proper form can cause injury, and depending on the severity of that injury you can weaken your back muscles and therefore might start to walk with a slouched posture, which will make you appear shorter.
Make sure you are stretching and performing pull-ups with the correct form, and start slowly developing your routine by not overly stressing your body.
Pull-ups Shape the body to Look Taller
Pull-ups can help you to look taller. Here are ways in which they can help with the appearance of a taller figure:
A regular routine of pull-ups will help you to lose body fat and also weight. This is because by pulling yourself up you are actively working your core, abs, and back muscles which will ensure fat drops off your belly.
However, pull-ups are a high-intensity muscle-building exercise, and muscle weighs more than fat, so if your goal is to bulk up and you are eating as part of a bulking plan, you may very well begin to put some of that lost weight back on in the form of muscle mass.
- They will expand the chest and help to give you a V-shape which will detract from your lack of height and help you to look powerful and attractive, and this is a psychological trick to appear taller to people.
- They will help to reduce back pain and to align muscles correctly for postural benefits
- They will strengthen your upper body and core muscles
Pull-ups target the latissimus dorsi which is the largest muscle in the back, which will help you to define this shape. They also target your thoracic spine, which are three supporting muscles running alongside your thoracic spine, so if these are strengthened, your posture will improve.
They will also help to broaden your shoulders and work your triceps, biceps, and forearms, all of which will help you to shape your body.
Shaping your body will detract from your lack of height by emphasizing your physique. A V-shape and board shoulders have been shown to be attractive and will draw attention to your physique.
You can further shape your body through the clothing you choose to wear. This can have a major impact on the height you appear to others. A combination of pull-ups, a healthy diet, and well-fitted clothing can dramatically change your image
Other Benefits of Pull-ups For Height Gain
Depending on the length of your spine, throughout the day the average person loses anywhere between 1.7cm and 2.2cm of height. This is because the sponge-like discs in-between the vertebrae dehydrate and flatten over the course of the day.
The muscles which hold our spine up contribute to how much pressure is being put on the discs, and exercises such as pull-ups will strengthen your deep, core back muscles which will help to hold your spine straighter throughout the day, helping maintain height.
This means that not only will you be standing with a better posture but also you might be taller in the afternoons than you usually would without performing pull-ups.
Another important knock-on effect of high-intensity exercise is mood enhancement, which will have a positive effect on overall performance, by raising confidence and positivity levels.
Combine These With Pull-ups For Height Gain
- Hanging from the pull-up bar can decompress the spine and help you to maintain some height throughout the day, helping with spinal health.
- Sleeping well goes and in hand with HGH production and healing the body such as repairing muscle tissue.
- Stretching exercises will help reduce the tension of muscles for them to heal faster and to prevent injury.
- Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin will aid spinal health
The Bottom Line
The act of performing pull-ups will not directly increase your height. Alike other high-intensity exercises, if you are still growing they may help the release of HGH, and if you combine this with high-quality sleep and diet then may work hand in hand to help you grow taller.
One thing that is for sure is pull-ups will strengthen your upper body muscles and help you to stand straighter and to walk with an upright posture. They will also shape your body into a nice V shape which has been shown as an attractive and manly-looking trait.
If you choose clothing to complement this then you will further detract from your lack of height. Exercise also releases feel-good hormones which can spur you on to other exercises and a healthier mindset which will help you to overcome any height insecurities.
The sooner you start, the sooner you will start to see the results.
1: Harvard Men's Health Watch: Preserve your muscle mass