Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Physiology of Growing Taller after Puberty

Source: Wikipedia & countless biology textbooks
The body doesn't naturally want to increase height via bone size.  What the body wants to do is grow outward via the periosteum(articular cartilage is at the ends of bones) or decrease the porosity of the bone thus increasing bone density.  You can also see that their are a lot of blood vessels and that blasted Haversian canal getting in our way of height growth.

But most of the impact, spiral, compression, and strain forces on bone are absorbed by the compact bone rather than the spongy bone.    Building stronger bones by exercise without microfractures will only increase bone growth outward via the periosteum and increased bone mineral content, microfractures must be caused to induce height growth.  We must make sure the forces on the compact bone are strong enough to cause them.

Causing microfractures in the compact bone is sufficient as "if for any reason there is an alteration in the strain to which the cancellous subjected there is a rearrangement of the trabeculae"(again wikipedia).  Thus, if you make your compact bone taller the internal spongy bone will adapt as well.  Via microfractures we are causing microscopic seperations in the bone and allowing room for new bone tissue to be laid down.

In an earlier entry, I mentioned impact pushups(pushing your body off the ground in push up position and then landing using your hands causing impact) and sprints as ways to cause microfractures without weights.

Here are some microfracture inducing exercises that include weights:

Heavy squat walkouts with stomping to increase the impact(sort of like the strongman event the refrigerator carry except you are stomping as hard as you can in one place)
Hanging while twisting with a heavy dip belt(the twisting provides spiral forces on the bone)
Decline bench hold, holding dumbells rather than plates(dumbells are easier to hold than plates.  This exercise causes microstrain on the bone)
Impacting all your bones with weights or a hammer(the heavier the weight you use the less force you can exert with it.  We want a weight that maximizes the equation F=ma)

The most important exercise is the heavy squat walkouts with stomps which will cause heavy microfractures in the femur/tibia/spine.  Where the bar is in the squat is the optimal location for holding the heaviest amount of weight and inducing the most amount of impact throughout the entire body.

Don't believe that stuff about deadlifts and squats increasing GH and therefore increasing height.  Again, that will only make the bones wider via the periosteum.  Microfractures are the way to go :)

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