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I'm 5'6, weigh 137, male and close to be 24 soon. I am not happy with my height. I love sports, basketball, soccer, and others.

Being this short have some influence on sport activities I participated especially, on basketball. Because of that reason and some other personal reasons (like my girl friend is taller than me for e.g ..lol) I wanted to increase my height as much and as soon as possible.

I tried one exercise (Grow taller 4 idiots) and I had some back pain after trying it for 3 weeks and then I stopped it. Now, its been a year after I stopped the exercise. But, I am still hopeful that there is a away for me to grow up at least 1-3 inchs. And if I get the right exercise I will take my time and do it even for half year. This much is my eager to be taller because, I saw the effects many times.

Are those advertisements that we see on the web and tv are gimmicks? Is there any other not natural way to increase height without a side effect? Since I also wanted to be physically fit (as you can see i am 136 pound), I want to make sure working dumb bells won't have any effect on increasing height. Should both exercises go together?

FYI: if it has an effect, genetically both my dad and mom are short as well . but I have other relatives like my cousins and uncles who are 6'2.

Thank you.

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Given its directed at idiots, my hopes of it working are close to zero –  Ivo Flipse Apr 24 '12 at 5:47
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Basically, you can't, you're stuck with what you have. If you are worried with how people percept you, you can work on improving your posture and such, but nothing will actually make you taller. –  VPeric Apr 24 '12 at 15:57
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A bit OT but my fitness instructor is an ex-navy PTI about your height. However his personality fills the room. He also excels at Rugby and Gymnastics. Most gymnasts are smaller as they have a mechanical advantage. Perhaps look at sports where height isn't so important. –  Jaydee May 17 '12 at 8:29
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I don't know if this is what you wanted to hear, but Jaydee's advice is pretty good. FWIW, I know a lot of really good rock climbers that have a build like yours. Larger guys like me (I'm 6'4") can't every really match the strength:weight ration or graceful movements of smaller, lighter athletes when it comes to climbing. –  DavidR Aug 8 '13 at 18:31

3 Answers 3

You can't increase your height. But, you can increase your vertical, especially if your goal is only a 3-4 inch increase. If you're just playing amateur level sports, and make it your goal to have a massive vertical jump, you'll more than make up for your lack of height. Very few people will put in the time needed to get a huge vertical at the amateur level.

Suggestions

  • Barbell squats
  • Power cleans
  • Plyometrics (once your barbell squat is up to about 1.5x your bodyweight... because until then, you'll get better vertical gains by simply increasing your strength)
  • Read the Vertical Jump Bible
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At an age of 24 your physical growth is more or less settled by now, so "no" there are no easy ways of getting taller, I'm afraid. I have heard of stories where people get operated on their bones to get them to break and heal, break and heal... gaining maybe half a centimeter each time. I don't know the truth of it, but I can only imagine that it's not common, it'll not be covered by any health insurance and that it's probably painful to an extreme.

Coming back to "normal" growth, growth in height occurs around the cartilage ends of the longer bones that make up the skeleton (e.g. femur). Cartilage tissue slowly builds up calcium and eventually turns to bone a process called "osteogenesis" (note that this description of the process is oversimplified). This happens usually from childhood to teen years, and is occasionally associated with joint pains in children. By the time you're 18-20 any major changes that were to occur has already happened in the height department, and the body starts to "fill in" the bones and build in the thickness instead of the length (again oversimplified).

There are several things that are rumored to invoke or facilitate growth in height, one such example is fish oils. I have not used them myself, as they were pretty expensive but I knew some people who did back when we were smaller (~14-15 years). Admittedly some have gotten significantly taller, but yet again you never know if it is due to the fish oils, or whatever else pills they were taking, or that their natural growth kicked in a higher gear. A twin study would be interesting to read, where genetic factors can be assumed be equal among the subjects. I have unfortunately never come across such an article.

Lastly, diet is important as well of course. Consumption of milk products are linked to growth in children and teens, however it's likely that the relationship is more of a substrate than an active component. In other words, milk might not cause you to get taller than what you ought to be (based on your genes) but consumed in good quantities it will likely help you reach your growth potential.

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There are some things you could do to look taller.

Most important is your posture. Especially with sitting work and/or worries, it's too easy to become slightly slumped instead of standing up your full length.

  • When standing, try imagining as if you're hanging from a hook on the top of your head.
  • Put your shoulders up by starting a circle with your shoulders from front to back and stopping when they have reached the peak.
  • After sitting down, first bow slightly forward, then use your arms to push down and stretch you back while leaning back (you can watch this video to see how this and the shoulder adjustment is done).
  • I have used Wii Fit to get an idea and adjust how my body is balanced. When I started, it very much biased backwards without me ever noticing; walking around with body curved from center also wastes height.

Also, clothing can help. Vertical stripes will show you thinner and taller. There are special shoes with higher soles designed to look like regular shoes (see examples here, no affiliation). I have a friend who regularly wears such shoes adding him 2 inches.

Some tricks that could be used for looking taller in photos have been discussed in a related Photo SE question.

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