There are people who say certain stretches can help people actually grow an inch or two taller, by straightening out the spine or something. I’ve also heard that working out lower abs and lower back can do the same. I’d like to be a little taller (who wouldn’t). I’m 24 but heard males can grow until they’re around 25. Thanks for any help!
Posture, posture, posture! I can’t say that I’ll help you grow two inches, but I can provide my perspective on how to create an environment of stability, flowing energy, and a proper function. As a result, this will free up any blocked pathways or limitations that you may believe are hindering your growth (physically and, possibly, mentally).
If you’re familiar with my ideas then you may have heard me state that the body is very good at adapting to situations to keep itself alive and running. Not only does it adapt to diet situations (i.e. running off of nutrient-void foods and compensating by slowing down/altering metabolic processes), but it can also adapt to poor posture caused by sitting, sleeping, exercising, and even walking incorrectly.
I agree that lower abdominal and lower back exercises aid in good posture and I can easily recommend for you to perform hanging leg raises as they tend to hit the lower abdominals, but what if you have poor form? What if you focus primarily on your lower abdominals and shy on your lower back thus creating a muscle imbalance? What if you are stressed by money, job, and relationship issues that are blocking energy pathways and preventing the lower back from fully extending? What if I keep going on and going and you already got my point before I even started this sentence?
I would recommend adding postural mindfulness and corrective exercises into your daily routine…
1) Draw your belly button in to activate your spinal erectors whenever you’re standing or seated. This will maintain what’s called a “flat back.” This draw should not be a strain or a tight flex. Avoid sitting in slouching situations: Sunken in on the couch, a curved car seat, or a similar desk/office chair.
2) Work on activating your Transverse Abdominus (TVA). This is the inner-most abdominal wall and is responsible for a majority of your abdominal and back stability/strength. To activate this, perform a 4-point “Tummy Vacuum” where you’ll be on all fours, breathe in deep with the diaphragm (the stomach will push out), and exhale using the TVA, drawing the belly button inward and hold for 3-5 seconds. Perform this 3x a week with slow-breathing reps of 10.
3) Focus on diaphragm breathing with the lungs filling-up secondary.
4) Daily stretching and yoga routines can increase flexibility and stability, freeing up any blocked pathways, possible improper form, and increasing self mindfulness.
5) Do not perform exercises too quickly as it can result in a compensation by the muscular system. The more you perform a movement incorrectly, you’ll have to double that amount using corrective exercise to get back to square one. This is why I tend to have a problem with work outs such as P90x, Insanity, and CrossFit. Many people can get hurt using these exercise platforms because they focus on movement – any kind of movement – rather than the quality of movement. Stability before mobility, folks!
6) Find yourself a stability/swiss ball to stretch your abdominals. Power Systems sells good stability balls and provide sizing charts. The stretch is performed by lying on your back over the ball with your extremities extended and hold for 30-seconds each.
7) Be patient.
8) Eat nutritious/calorie-dense foods, drink 1/2 of your body weight in ounces of clean water every day, get a solid 8 hours of sleep every night, and be happy.
There isn’t is one size fits all answer, but I do hope that these perspectives help in building your path/pursuit of happiness.