You’ve been in the gym training for a while and noticing your physique change. Maybe you’re wondering how this will affect your height.
Can gaining muscle actually increase your height? Or does it do the opposite?
Does Muscle Make You Appear Taller?
By training your anterior chain or your back muscles, you are improving your posture which helps you stand up straight and appear taller. Losing weight will also make you appear taller, which is important since gaining muscle and losing weight go hand in hand. If you are already shorter, getting a wider frame filled with muscle mass will make you appear shorter. Let’s also take a look at some exercises that can potentially increase height.
1. Muscle Improves Posture
Many people lack proper posture from sitting in chair or desk all day hunching forward. This hunched over look isn’t good for our spines and gives us a shorter appearance.
Good posture leads to less muscle pain and gives you more flexibility, balance, and energy. It will also keep bones and joints in correct alignment, allowing you to do moves in the gym properly.
When your posture is correct, your muscles are being used efficiently, so your body won’t be fatigued as much and the body will use less energy.
The muscles in our body that help us maintain posture are called slow twitch muscle fibers. They can work for long periods of time without becoming tired.
Our fast twitch muscles fibers on the other hand, work powerfully but get tired quickly. Poor posture causes muscle fatigue and leads to imbalances because it acts on fast twitch fibers, rather than the slow twitch.
Poor posture can also lead to joint problems, fatigue, headaches and more.
This is because being constantly hunched forward forces your head to come forward to compensate. This puts pain and pressure on the head and neck.
Exercises that train the rear delts and back muscles pull your scapula back and straighten your spine. Doing these exercises regularly can help improve posture.
It’s important to note that the more overweight you are, the more that your spine is compressed. This will make you shorter. Gravity already causes the discs in your spine to shrink somewhat, so being overweight just adds extra pressure on it.
2. Losing Weight Makes You Appear Taller
If you have a thin physique, you are naturally going to appear taller. Many muscle building diets and programs also are interested in losing fat, so they often go together.
If you are eating healthy and doing cardio to lose weight, you will appear taller as you begin to lose weight.
The more muscle on your frame, the more fat your body will burn as well.
There are also cases where obese people have lost a large amount of weight, and grew a couple inches after doing so.
With weight reduction, the spine becomes decompressed. It is also a lot easier to have proper posture when you have less weight on your frame. Keeping your back straight and shoulders back is difficult if you have a large belly pulling you forward.
The neck is one of the spots that you first notice in accordance to someone’s height. A long neck is associated with being tall. If someone has a short, flabby neck they will not appear to be tall.
You can also add mass to your traps to further help you look taller.
Think to some of the tallest athletes for a second, NBA players. They have very long and usually thinner legs and arms. If you have lean, muscular arms and legs you look a lot taller.
3. More Muscles Makes You Actually Appear Shorter
While training will improve your posture, making you stand upright. And help with burning fat to make your appearance more lean and tall. It is important to note that having more muscle on your frame makes you look wider.
If you are already short, having a wide frame will make you look even shorter. This is especially true for growing your side delts and lats that give you that triangle look.
If you train your anterior chain a lot more than your posterior, you will find yourself looking hunched over and shorter. Your anterior or front chain includes the chest, front delts, and any muscles on the front of your body. Whereas the posterior chain refers to what’s in the back, including your back muscles and rear delts.
By training all muscles groups of your body equally, you can ensure that you won’t be hunched over and appear shorter than you are. Do not neglect your back and rear delts just because you can’t see them.
If you’ve ever heard the myth that training can stunt growth, you may be wondering how much truth it has. See this article for a detailed breakdown.
4. Which Exercises Will Make You Look Taller
Any exercise that works on your upper or mid back, as well as your rear delts will help retract your scapula. This will fix a hunched over posture, allowing you to stand up straight with your shoulders back and chest up.
This makes you appear a lot taller than if you are hunched forwards.
Some exercises include seated rows, rear delt flys, and rack pulls.
Rack pulls are great for strengthening almost your entire body. They also strengthen your core and upper back muscles, allowing you to keep your spine straight.
Set the rack anywhere below your knees, the lower you go the more legs you will be incorporating. If you only wish to focus on your back then set it a little higher.
Grasp the bar at shoulder width with your palms facing you. Get into the same position you would if you were performing a deadlift. Roll your shoulders back and squeeze your lats.
Think of holding tennis balls in your armpits to help incorporate your lats. Make sure your chest is up and your back is straight. Your arms should be pulled back against your body.
Begin the movement by pushing the ground away with your feet. As the bar comes up, squeeze you glutes and thrust forward. Then squeeze your back as your pull the bar backwards into your body as you stand at the top of the movement.
By squeezing your back as much as possible you are strengthening all the muscles that are going to pull your shoulders back, improving your posture.
A lifting belt is always a good idea when using heavy weight to overload the back muscles. See here for cheap options.
This movement is great because at the top you will feel how you should be standing during everyday life. Shoulders back and chest up. Not hunched forward.
Rear delt flys or face pulls are great for strengthening the rear delt muscles. Since they are located on the back of the shoulder, they help maintain proper posture and are a major stabilizer of the shoulder.
Let me know if you learned anything, and feel free to leave questions or comments below and I will get back to you!