Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hmmm.. (2)

Weightlifting will stunt your growth... yada yada yada. Myth or fact?

Myth, because examples of people that do weights at a very young age are O'Neal, 7'1, Arnold Schwarzenegger, 6'1, Lou Ferrigno, 6'4. Books such as the Russian School Of Height suggests that weight training may stimulate growth. Latest study show that weight training only showed positive effects.

Fact, but it actually depends on the type of weights you do. The heavier they are, the more likely they will affect your growth. If you do exercises which puts stress on your bones so that it is acting along the bone, then that will act to compress the bones resulting in less growth in the bone than normal. If you do it for a long time at a young age that compression can be permanent. Doing exercises which put strain on your spine like military press, squats, dumbell curls while standing, overhead press etc, will also affect your height if you start at a too early age.

Well, there are 2 opinions there, from reliable sources like the Russian book, School Of Height, and an Australian doctor that supports the claim that weights do stunt growth. However, it is hard to draw a conclusion as every single human being on earth has different growth spurts. How does this relate to the topic?

Well, take for example, a test subject, a 5'8, 14 year old boy whose mum is 5'7 and his dad, 6'2. Now of course, he is subjected to variable weight training.

(1) At the end of the experiment, he ends up growing to 5'9 only at the age of 18. A total win for supporters of the so-called myth but it can also be argued that genetically, his height is obtained from his mother and he had his last and final growth spurt at the age of 14.

(2) At the end of the experiment, he ends up growing to 6'3 at the age of 18. Now, a clear victory for those that debunk the myth. BUT, once again it is argueable that he could carry homozygous recessive genes that is shown phenotypically by a much taller relative. Supporters of the myth could argue that he could have been much taller then 6'3, only to be stunted by weight training.

Well, to me, until we have the ablity to "create" a human with a steady and constant growth pattern, then and only then, can we test this theory. For now, the mystery of genetics still plays a pivotal role in the deciding outcomes of tests, trials and experiments. Stick to spinach and Popeye the sailor man.