Does Hanging Make You Taller?
The Notion Behind Hanging To Increase Height
From waking in the morning and taking those first steps, to lying down at night, we lose around an inch of height in the spine, (on average 2-3 cm's).
Due to the pressure of gravity pushing downwards, disks become compressed and thus lose volume. The greater the pressure being loaded on the spine, the more the discs will decrease in volume. If you are doing intense periods of weight lifting, for example, you will reach your "low" height much faster than if you are sitting at a desk typing most of the day.
The opposite can also occur, for example astronauts gain around 3% in height due to the changes in gravity that space provides, causing the discs to extend due to decompressing the spine (1).
There are 23 vertebral disks in the spinal column, so if each loses a fraction of height, the overall effect will be noticeable. However, there is a limit to how much the discs will compress, and when you reach this, you will be at your daily "low" height, which you will generally measure from dinner time onwards.
How Does Hanging Help
When we stand up our spine bears the weight of our upper body, and the pressure of gravity from being in an upright position decreases disk height. Hanging works as it is a complete anti-gravity exercise, preventing spinal compression, and acts to reverse the pressure on the discs. Along with the spine, your whole body will feel the effects as it is stretched out.
What Science Says
There are limited studies on the direct correlation to hanging and height gain, but there have been studies on spinal traction therapy. There are variations of this, but the basic concept here is simple - separating forces are used to pull the spine and create intervertebral space between the discs.
One study from the Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy investigated the changes in stature during and after spinal traction in young male subjects. Participants were measured on a stadiometer (height measuring apparatus) before traction and again every 7 minutes during the therapy, which lasted 42 minutes. After the process was over they were measured every 5 minutes for a further 45 minutes.
The result found an average of 1.88mm of height gain at the end of the 42 minutes, but this is noted as temporary, lasting for around 1 hour after spinal traction had finished (2).
This supports the argument that any height gain from decompression of the discs that hanging could provide is also temporary, similar to lying down, or any other activity which will help the discs decompress.
Are The Gains Permanent?
Hanging does not act as a way to permanently increase your height, as it does not increase the length of your bones. Therefore, if you are looking to permanently go from 5'7" to 5'8", it is not possible through hanging. Your height will always remain in-between your regular morning and evening height throughout the day.
However, for a temporary boost, it can add some height, and the more frequently you do it the greater chances of retaining spinal height throughout the day.
Another thing to consider when pondering how to get taller is to add a stretching routine to this, then you may comfortably stand half an inch taller than you would without any activity, as this will strengthen your core to hold up the cartilage and the result is less shrinkage throughout the day.
Also, consider taking cartilage building supplements such as glucosamine, which have been proven to add a few millimeters to height, and will work well combined with hanging, allowing the discs to stretch out. It is to be noted that if you stop your routine, then any additional height gain will be reversed.
Hanging During Puberty
There is no scientific evidence that hanging makes you grow taller during puberty.
Hanging will have the same effect on your height while still growing as it will at any age you try it, and it does not contribute to gaining height through the growth of bones or help to release HGH (human growth hormone).
However, it does provide additional benefits, such as pain control, helping to improve your posture, and stretching out the spine and limbs.
Try This Instead
If your growth plates are still open and you have the potential to grow, then physical activity can help to increase the release of HGH (human growth hormone). High-intensity activities such as running and playing sports will have more of an effect than hanging as they are effective in releasing this hormone and increasing your rate of growth.
How Long Should You Hang?
A 3-minute hanging routine in the morning, between 20-30 seconds at a time should help you to feel like you are standing straighter, and will help your discs to expand, and thus you will feel a little taller.
It is to be noted that adding a stretching routine such as Pilates, or yoga, can add to the effect of height gain.
Tips On How To Hang Correctly
- The correct equipment is essential before you start. something like this to install in the doorway, high enough to allow your body to extend
- As we are stretching out the spine, it is okay to bend your knees if you are taller
- You need a strong grip on the bars
- Keep your arms straight, letting them fully extend
- It is important to fully relax the body and focus your mind on your spine, letting it extend as much as possible
- If you are experiencing discomfort in the arms, etc, then take it slowly, hanging for a few seconds at a time
- Don't overdo it, as you can strain the muscles and ligaments if you do
Additional Benefits Of Hanging
- Improved blood circulation
- Relieve joint pain
- Prevent the risk of injury
- Improve grip strength
- Improve strength to aid exercise, (pullups) etc
Using an Inversion Table
So, can inversion hanging make you taller? Similar to hanging by your arms, the use of an inversion table to hang upside down is something that can help to increase your height temporarily. Again, your back will decompress and create more space between vertebrae.
It can be more effective than regular hanging to increase height because hanging requires strength in the hands and arms, and stamina, so you will not be able to hang as long on a bar as you will upside down on an inversion table.
Depending on different factors, there are varying degrees an inversion table can help you to increase height. The positions we sleep and sit in can cause your spine and posture to be slouched, thus hiding your maximum height. An inversion routine can straighten and improve posture as the slouch and uneven nature of your spine is corrected. This can help you to walk taller, straighter, and happier.
It is advisable to limit your sessions to 2x 5 minutes a day.
A Similar Height Gain to Hanging
If you are looking to retain height throughout the day, simply lying down for 10 minutes will help you to regain more height than hanging will.
Try measuring your height before and after a 10-minute nap, which for me I regained 0.5cm of height!
So, does hanging make you taller? If you can reverse the compression in the spine that gravity causes, then you can reverse some of the height loss that occurs daily for all of us. To what extent, however, depends on the length of your spine, your hanging routine, if you combine this with cartilage building supplements and a core-strengthening workout, and so on. You may yield results worth the effort.
If hanging is all you will be doing, it is a plausible way of increasing a little height, albeit temporarily. The other benefits, however, are something that could be worth it, such as improved strength and blood circulation. If you form a routine of hanging for a few minutes per day, you will notice a slight and temporary increase in height. It can help you to stand straighter, with a better posture, increased pain control, and other factors that can contribute to feeling taller.