Do Squats Affect Your Growth?
Squatting increases your leg strength and power while burning fat. Like all forms of intense resistance training, the strain of squatting actually increases your bone strength, with no negative effects on growth. Good squatting power combined with solid technique can improve your speed, your vertical jump and your athletic ability in general. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any athletic training program.
Squatting places stress on your joints, but this stress is primarily compressive in nature. Your skeleton tolerates this sort of stress well. The ends of your long bones have growth plates, and when they become injured, there is the slight risk of this injury interfering with the growth of that particular bone. The rarely occurs even under extreme loads.
Squatting improves your musculature, strength and even bone mineral density. Unless trained to the point of injury, your skeleton will strengthen, not weaken following resistance training. Adolescent females who participate in weight training increase their specific bone mineral density with no ill effects. The increase in bone density does not inhibit growth, and the bone-density increase reduces both the risk of injury and osteoporosis in later years.
The placement of the bar when squatting causes a certain degree of compression on the spine. Fortunately, your spine is far more able to tolerate compressive force than shearing force, so as long as you maintain proper posture, your risk of injury is minimal. Long-term squatting causes no documented ill effects to the spine. A study published in the "International Journal of Sports Medicine" examined the spine of a world-record holder in the squat. Not only was there no damage reported, but he displayed the highest bone mineral density recorded to date.
Benefits of Squatting
In addition to strengthening your skeleton, squatting improves your athletic ability. According to U. Wisloff et al. in an article published in the "British Journal of Sports Medicine," there is a direct correlation between squatting ability, vertical jumping ability and sprint times. Strong, powerful legs built through squatting keep you healthy and agile. For safety, never lose focus on technique. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, strong torso musculature is essential in protecting your spine during the squatting movement. Do not lift excessively heavy weights, and make certain you lift with your legs and hips, rather than your back.
- Journal of Athletic Training; Injury Rates and Profiles of Elite Competitive Weightlifters
- Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology; Effects of Resistance Training on Bone Mineral Content and Density in Adolescent Females
- International Journal of Sports Medicine; The Upper Range of Lumbar Spine Bone Mineral Density? an Examination of the Current World Record Holder in the Squat Lift
- British Journal of Sports Medicine; Strong Correlation of Maximal Squat Strength with Sprint Performance and Vertical Jump Height in Elite Soccer Players
- American College of Sports Medicine: Safety of the Squat Exercise
- Neuromechanics of Human Movement; Roger Enoka
Grey Evans began writing professionally in 1985. Her work has been published in "Metabolics" and the "Journal of Nutrition." Gibbs holds a Ph.D. in nutrition from Ohio State University and an M.S. in physical therapy from New York University. She has worked at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and currently develops comprehensive nutritional and rehabilitative programs for a neurological team.