How To Get A Longer Torso (What You Need To Know)
There is no doubt that many people wish they could change different parts of the body. The web is awash with articles on various ways of doing so, some of which can be misleading and should be read with caution, such as claims you can easily just increase your torso height.
In this article, we look at the title question ‘how to get a longer torso’ and try to establish if this is possible and if so, the methodology for the process and whether any height increase is permanent or temporary.
After bone growth has finished it is not possible for the torso to grow taller. Although attaining the appearance of a longer torso is possible through exercise which will stretch and tone the muscles, and losing fat around the midsection can emphasize the appearance of an elongated torso.
We know that around 80% of our height is mainly determined by genetics. By the time we reach 16-18 years, our bones will have grown to their maximum length and growth finishes, though in some cases it can be a year or two later than this. So we need to establish what, if anything, we can do before and after we have stopped growing to increase our height.
The Torso And The Spine
The torso is the trunk of the human body, the part minus the head and limbs. It houses all the major organs, the ribs, and the spine, which is also known as the backbone. It is important to understand the structure of the spine as it plays a key role in our posture and is therefore vital in relation to height.
The spine is made up of 33 irregular-shaped bones, which are called the vertebrae (plural). Each vertebra has a hole in the middle, like a donut, which allows the spinal cord to run through. This vertical column of ring-like bones is strong and flexible and runs from the skull to the pelvis.
Between each vertebra is a gel-like filled disk, which acts as a cushion, protecting the bones from rubbing against each other and causing damage. There are 23 disks in the spine, less than the number of vertebrae; this is because some of the vertebrae at the bottom of the spine are fused together so there is no need for disks.
Every time you are upright, gravity causes these disks to be compressed, which is perfectly normal and creates a slight, natural decrease in your torso height.
Aging can also cause the gel-filled disks to become compressed as they lose some of their content over the years.
Will Losing Weight Help Your Torso Look Longer?
If you are overweight then yes, losing fat will provide a slimmer look for your torso and a taller overall appearance.
However, this can be detrimental to your health if you are already within the correct weight range for your height. In this case, you can perform exercises to tone the mid-section without having to lose weight (read further down).
This will help your torso to look elongated, giving the impression of length rather than width.
How Stretching Can Help Increase The Torso Height
From when we get up in the morning, to when we go to bed, our height decreases a little during the course of the day. This is because when we are sleeping and there is no pressure on the disks, we gain a little height. Measure your height first thing, then again before you go to bed and you will see a slight difference. This is all perfectly normal and is due to compression on the disks when we are active.
So, what can we do to increase our torso height? It is a fact that good posture is important to ensure we stand at and maintain our maximum height.
Stooping or slouching really can make you appear 2 or 3 inches shorter; take a look in a full-length mirror and see for yourself the difference it makes when you stand upright. This is because there is less compression on your disks and your muscles are supporting them correctly.
A healthy lifestyle, both during and after the growing period, is essential to achieving our maximum height. By establishing a regular routine, which includes appropriate exercise and good nutrition, our given height can be maintained. It is important to continue this healthy regime throughout our adult life in order to retain our height, by keeping the muscles and bones strong and also helping to prevent osteoporosis (fragile bones).
Stretching Exercises For The Torso
Stretching exercises are excellent for establishing a good posture and elongating the spine, by decompressing the disks and enabling the torso to reach its optimum height.
Remember, there is nothing better for a longer torso than stretching and strengthening the muscles. Exercises can be done anywhere and at a time that suits your lifestyle, or you may feel inspired to join a class. Take a look at the following simple but very effective exercises:
Touching the toes. You can do this either sitting on the floor or standing. Just touch your toes with the tips of your fingers and feel the stretch in your spine. Hold this position for 15-20 seconds then repeat a few times. If you are just starting out, to begin with take it slowly and reach as far as you can.
Wall Stretch. Stand on your toes facing a wall and extend your arms as if you are trying to reach the ceiling. Hold for 15-20 seconds then relax and repeat 5 times, to begin with.
Useful Yoga Stretches For Elongating The Torso
Yoga is well known for its physical and mental benefits. It offers many exercises and stretches, which help increase flexibility and strength, some of the more comfortable, starter ones are (1).
A combination of two poses that bring flexibility to the spine to release tension, a stretch focusing on the back, torso and neck area.
- From a starting Table Pose, inhale, lower your belly down and lift your chin towards the ceiling while you arch your back.
- Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths, then exhale and flatten back to the Table Pose.
- Starting on your hands and knees, adopt the Table position.
- Exhale and tuck the tailbone under, bring the spine up into an arch, putting your head face down.
- Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths, release & inhale & flatten the back into Table position.
Downward Facing Dog
Deeply stretches the back, builds upper body strength, and decompresses the spine.
- Starting in a table position, move the toes to point forwards and lift up the hips. Press the hips up and back, reaching the stomach near the thighs.
- Try to keep your legs straight But it is okay to have a slight bend in the knees in order to straighten the back.
- It is okay to let the head hang and to hold for 3-6 breaths before lowering back down to the Table position.
Stretches the lower back and also great for relaxation and stress relief during poses.
- From Table pose, exhale; lower the glutes to the heels and forehead to the ground. Stretch arms overhead with palms on the floor.
- Breathe deeply and slowly, pressing the belly against the
- thighs on the inhale.
- Breathe and hold for 4-12 breaths.
- Inhale as you slowly move back up to a seated position.
Cobra Pose: Cobra opens the chest, strengthens the core body, and aligns the spine. Because the backbend in Cobra is against the downward push of gravity, it is very helpful in awakening the back muscles that tend to weaken when we sit a lot of work in sedentary jobs.
1: Lie on your belly, arms straight beside you, and legs together. Keep arms still, inhale and raise your head and chest off the floor, while keeping the neck centered to the spine.
2: With elbows close to your sides, press down into the palms and use your arms to lift you higher, while pressing the chest forwards while pressing the pubic bone down to the floor.
3: Maintain this pose for 3-5 breaths. Exhale and slowly lower your head and chest to the floor. Turn the head to one side and rest and gently sway the hips to release any unwanted tension.
This is a simple exercise using gravity to stretch all the back muscles from the shoulders down. Many people find a hanging bar useful for pull-ups and to strengthen and tone the abdominal muscles.
If this appeals to you, an added bonus is that a strong abdomen contributes to excellent posture. Hanging bars are relatively cheap and can often be installed over a door at home.
1: Hang onto a pull-up bar for 15-20 secs and increase to 30 seconds with practice.
2: Repeat 2-3 times.
Whatever exercise you choose, for best results it is important that you try and maintain your routine and do 3 sets of stretching 3 or 4 times a day.
Remember, you should feel tension in your muscles, but not pain.
What Can I Wear To Make My Torso Look Longer?
The good news is that there are many ways in which you can elongate your look. As already explained, exercise is important in keeping the body as straight and erect as possible, this definitely helps you stand at your optimum height.
Wearing the right clothes and in the correct way can also play a very big part in giving the illusion of extra height, by defining your body shape and giving the appearance of a longer torso and legs. You don’t have to look short.
The first step is to identify what body image you want to achieve. Body image is how we perceive the way our body looks, positive or negative. If you are concerned about your torso and height in general, here are a few helpful tips, which if you follow you will see for yourself the difference it makes!
Wearing clothes that are the same color or have a similar tone/hue throughout gives a streamlined look. You can mix shades but always wear the darker one at the bottom and the lighter at the top; this draws the eye upwards creating a lengthening effect. Avoid black though as it could make you look shorter.
It is better to wear fitted jackets for several reasons. They help build up the shoulders, which adds height. The chest looks bigger and the waist smaller; also keeping the jacket buttoned up creates a slim silhouette giving a heightening effect.
Avoid long jackets, they should be a shorter cut and the hem should not fall below your hipbone. This will generate the illusion of a longer torso without making you look shorter.
Should be worn at mid-waist height and of a slimmer cut, this will maximize your leg line and make them look longer. Avoid belts and big buckles, they break the illusion and the aim is to draw the eye upwards, not attract attention elsewhere.
Tuck your shirts in; this will give a slimmer line making your legs look longer. If you want to wear them loose, or maybe a T-shirt, follow the same rule as with a jacket, the hem should not fall below the hipbone, as this will make the legs look shorter.
Shirts with a subtle vertical line can help lengthen the look on the torso. Wearing a brighter or lighter color shirt and dark trousers is good as the emphasis will be on your upper body.
Wear shoes that compliment your outfit. If you are going for an elevator shoe, there are many varieties to choose from and the added advantage is that many are discreet, smart and will create a lovely streamlined effect.
The correct outfit should flatter your body shape, skin tone and personality. Those who are aware of what clothing suits them reap the rewards, by knowing they look as good as they can.
Once you have worked out which styles suit you and which to avoid, you can create your own personal style. Clothes shopping will become a pleasure and choices will be made sooner and easier.
The confidence this brings with it is well worth the initial time and effort that you put in and will prepare you for a lifetime of feeling and looking good!
During the growth period, a permanent increase in torso height is achievable with exercise, good posture, and nutrition, all of which are of paramount importance.
Once we have finished growing, your bones will not be able to grow and make your torso longer.
Yet, attaining the appearance of a longer torso is possible and just takes a little determination and planning. You can lengthen and strengthen the surrounding muscles through yoga stretches and other exercises. However, it is essential to continue this regime in order to maintain our maximum torso length.
It is never too late to start and your patience will be rewarded when you see the improvement in your torso length and the self-confidence it brings you!