This article claims:

Stretching is a great way to increase height. Get your child to start with simple stretches like the wall stretch. Make him stand against a wall with the back towards it. Raise hands in the air and stretch as far as possible. Then sit in the same position on the toes and stretch the leg muscles. Repeat the process 10 times. Another good stretch for the legs and back is to sit on the floor, legs wide apart. Then bend forward at the waist and stretch to touch the right toe. Your child can keep bending three to four times to stretch the leg muscle to the maximum. Then go back in the sitting position, and stretch to left toe. Toe-touching exercises are also great to elongate the spine and improving posture.

I have read and heard similar claims from other sources.

Are there any scientific studies showing that stretching help children grow taller?

1 Answer 1


This issue was discussed in the 12/23/2009 New York Times article "South Korea Stretches Standards for Success"

The Times cites "Yoon Myoung, a top researcher Consumers Korea" stating:

There is no clinical proof or other evidence that these treatments really work

I wanted a more scientific source, however, and found the following article:

Short stature and delayed puberty in gymnasts: Influence of selection bias on leg length and the duration of training on trunk length Journal of Pediatrics vol. 136, pages 149-155.

This research studied gymnasts who had been training from a few months to 10 years.

Sitting height decreased (relative to the normal population) with increased years of training.

Though gymnasts with 0-2 years of training showed no significant difference from the normal population, every single gymnast with more than 2 years of training had decreased sitting height, ranging from 0.2 to 2.8 standard deviations below normal.

Leg length was not influenced by duration of training, so this is trunk length that is being influenced.

So gymnasts, who obviously stretch more than average, become shorter relative to the general population.

  • 1
    "Reduced sitting height is likely to be acquired but is reversible with cessation of gymnastics."
    – ChrisW
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 12:43
  • @ChrisW so at best they will eventually catch up with their peers, but certainly they will not be taller. The article also says "Final adult height of 6 of 22 gymnasts was 3.5 to 7.5 cm below that predicted from the mid-parental height equations".
    – DavePhD
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 12:51
  • 3
    Hey @DavePhD (if you’re still here, Lo these many years later :-), without knowing more about their study one cannot ignore the fact that remaining in gymnastics over time constitutes making it through a continuous process of winnowing. The longer one continues practicing the sport, the fewer of one’s remaining colleagues are “like the rest of the population at large.” Do the authors report that any of their subjects actually lost stature with time? After all, the further one goes up the competitive ranks, the harder it is for those with frames that are less ideal for that sport. Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 12:31
  • @PaulTanenbaum They followed individual female gymnasts and non-gymnasts (age 6-16) and "retired" gymnasts (age 20-35) and corresponding control group, over a two year period. The kept studying the same people, even if they quit gymnastics.
    – DavePhD
    Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 14:10

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