Gymanstics - Does it stunt your growth?

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jra64

New Member
Jun 24, 2008
44
Fortunately or unfortunately I am finding gymnastics at the older age of 21. From articles I've read, males usually stop growing anywhere at 21 or possibly 22 years of age. If I am still growing in height, I don't want to compromise that by doing too much gymnastics. Does anyone know if gymnastics really stunts your growth badly, or can possibly even make you shorter than you already are?

Thanks =).
 
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all-aroundgirl

Active Member
Aug 26, 2008
646
Texas
It is proven gymnastics stunts your growth but only if your a high-level elite person training 30-40 hours a day. The average recreational or even the average competitive gymnast is not to worry about stunt growth. But even when it does stunt your growth it's not that terrible.
 

I-Heart-Beam

Active Member
Sep 9, 2007
964
Scotland
It is proven gymnastics stunts your growth but only if your a high-level elite person training 30-40 hours a day. The average recreational or even the average competitive gymnast is not to worry about stunt growth. But even when it does stunt your growth it's not that terrible.
30/40 hours a day? That's some trick lol.

Gymnastics does affect your growth plates. But honestly, its not going to affect you unless you do massive amounts of training.
 
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bribri514

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i think it stunts your growth a little. i started gym when i was 3. by the time i was 8 or 9 until i was 13 or 14, i was doing 5 to 6 days, 20 to eventually 30 hours a week of heavy competitive gymnastics. i was 4' 9" when i quit and had started to develop small hairline fractures in some of my growth plates. after i quit, my fractures healed very quickly and i grew more and finally started puberty (i was 15). i also grew a lot, i'm just over 5' now. my doctor said i probably would have grown to my current height much younger if i weren't doing gymnastics, and maybe a bit taller than if i hadn't injured my growth plates. this is compared to my little sister who was 5' 3" when she was 14 (the age when i was 4' 9") and now at almost 16 is almost 5' 5". my mom is a little shorter than my sister just to put it in perspective. not like i'm from a family of giants, but it seems gymnastics did slightly affect my growth. so yeah, that's my experience. doing competitive gymnastics my whole life, especially while i was growing, seemed to effect that. but that's b/c i was at the age when my growth plates hadn't set. at 21, you probably just have a little bit i more to grow, and if you're just starting, you won't be doing the very physically demanding and time intensive stuff that would also affect growth.
 

eeyoretumbles

Member
Jul 13, 2008
234
rainy washington
I think it does stunt your growth, but not when you're that old. I started gymnastics when I was 3, and I have always been short. When I had an injury and had to quit for a year, I had a huge growth spurt. When I went back into gymnastics, I completely stopped growing. When I quit, I grew a lot again. I've started gymnastics again, but I haven't seen a massive difference, and I'm 15. I think it really only affects you a lot when you are training a lot, and when you are growing a lot, or when you are a kid.
 

jra64

New Member
Jun 24, 2008
44
lol, I don't know if you're serious or being sarcastic. The way I took it is that effective gymnasts just happen to be shorter not that gymnastics makes them shorter, just as basketball doesn't make anyone taller.

But like I said, I don't know if you were being sarcastic or not, lol =).
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Jan 21, 2007
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lol, I don't know if you're serious or being sarcastic. The way I took it is that effective gymnasts just happen to be shorter not that gymnastics makes them shorter, just as basketball doesn't make anyone taller.

But like I said, I don't know if you were being sarcastic or not, lol =).
My intent was to be comical, but with a point: being short is an advantage in gymnastics. People who are naturally short tend to do better, and therefore tend to stick with it longer. Which means that those who make it to the elite level will mostly be very short, just because it is so much harder for a tall person to make it that far.

Which is why I draw the basketball comparison; if you look at NBA players, they're all really tall. But this isn't because playing basketball makes you tall, it's because being tall makes you better at basketball, and therefore more likely to continue in the sport and more likely to make it to the NBA (or even to a college team).
 

sasquatch

Member
Oct 2, 2008
93
Hawaii
I think you stop growing way younger than 22. When I was 14 I was 6-3 and when I was 16 I was 6-4 and a half. I'm 18 now and the same height as I was when I was 16.
 

thecscore

New Member
Oct 9, 2008
9
I think there is unequivocal evidence that training very hard as a young child in any sport, the way gymnasts do, will at least slow "normal" development. We know this because people tend to shoot up in height and weight, and get their periods, when they stop doing gymnastics.

Yes, kids who are short have an advantage at gymnastics, but training makes them even shorter than they might have been. Often they catch up much of this height differential after they stop training.

I don't think there's anything too terrible about it, at least from a medical perspective (as long as there's no overtraining) but it is *clear* that it has an impact.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

Former Admin
Gold Membership
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Former Gymnast
Jan 21, 2007
4,075
Baltimore, MD
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I think there is unequivocal evidence that training very hard as a young child in any sport, the way gymnasts do, will at least slow "normal" development. We know this because people tend to shoot up in height and weight, and get their periods, when they stop doing gymnastics
Even still, this could well be a reversal of cause and effect. People are more likely to quit during a growth spurt, because it makes the sport a lot harder. If somebody has a growth spurt (which will likely last several months to a year) and quits gymnastics near the beginning of that spurt (which is quite common and quite reasonable to expect), it will provide the illusion that quitting caused the kid to grow, when in fact the reverse is closer to the truth.

Add to this that a lot of kids quit between 11 and 13, right around the beginning of puberty. This is for a veriety of reasons; hormones are going haywire, lives are getting busier, homework is increasing, and more things are competing for their time and attention. So they quit, and over the next few years, get a lot taller. Again, there's no cause/effect relationship, they just happen around the same time and so they seem to be connected.
 

thecscore

New Member
Oct 9, 2008
9
Statistical models and experimental tests are specifically designed to test causal hypotheses.

The results have proven over and over again that training at the level at which *elite* gymnasts train does stunt growth. That's simply a fact.
 
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gym4life915

Guest
I am 13 and 4'9''. I am quite a bit shorter than most people in my grade :) But I train for around 30 hours a week.
 

jra64

New Member
Jun 24, 2008
44
Thanks for all the useful responses! After reading (plenty) of articles, my opinion is that it does stunt your growth but not a very significant amount at all. I have probably stopped growing anyways. So, worrying about whether or not I should continue gymnastics isn't an issue anymore =).
 

thecscore

New Member
Oct 9, 2008
9
Thanks for all the useful responses! After reading (plenty) of articles, my opinion is that it does stunt your growth but not a very significant amount at all. I have probably stopped growing anyways. So, worrying about whether or not I should continue gymnastics isn't an issue anymore =).
Yes, while I think there is convincing evidence that it does stunt your growth, the effect is only at very high hours of training, and then especially when you start young and train a lot for that entire time.

Have fun!
 
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