Friday, May 28, 2010

Grow Taller with Jumping

There are three ways to increase your torso height: increase the width of the periosteum(since the vertebrae are irregular bones), cause your osteoblasts to deposit more bone underneath the periosteum, and to increase your intervertebral disc height.

We want trabecular bone microfractures in the vertabrae to release the stem cells which differentiate into osteoblasts which then deposit new bone beneath the periosteum.  What's the best way to do that given that your spine is hard to access(you can only get the spinous process given the fact that the ribs block everything)?  Jumping(or rather landing with straight legs).  Jumping is the exercise where you can generate the most force.  Other exercises with potential include squats, deadlifts, power cleans, etc but jumping is the simplest exercise and those exercises mostly causing shearing forces(periosteal width) it may take a lot of weight to cause trabecular microfractures.  Whereas jumping is an easy exercise to perform.

Upregulation of osteogenic factors induced by high-impact jumping suppresses adipogenesis in marrow but not adipogenic transcription factors in rat tibiae.

"Jump training is a high-impact training regimen that increases bone volume in young bones[Volume includes height]. The aim of our study was to determine whether downregulation of adipogenesis that is associated with upregulation of osteogenesis is detected after jump training in growing rat tibiae. Four-week-old rats were jump trained for 1, 2, or 4 weeks for 5 days/week, and the height of jumping progressively increased to 35 cm. We performed morphometry to directly quantitate changes in bone volume and marrow adipocyte distribution in tibiae after the jump training. We also examined changes in the expression of osteogenic and adipogenic transcription factor proteins and mRNAs after the jump training. Four weeks of jump training induced an increase in trabecular bone volume, which was associated with the recruitment of runt-related transcription factor 2 expressing cells, as well as a decrease in marrow fat volume. However, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma2 protein and mRNA expression levels did not change after high-impact jump training. The mRNA expression levels of the adipocyte differentiation genes CCAAT/enhancer-binding proteins (C/EBPs)alpha, C/EBPbeta, and C/EBPdelta also showed no change during the training period in jump-trained rats. We suggest that the levels of osteogenic factors that were upregulated by mechanical loading from high-impact jumping suppress adipogenesis in marrow rather than adipogenic transcription factors."

Remember stem cells can differentiate into adipocytes, chondrocytes, or osteoblasts.  If stem cells aren't differentiating into adipocytes they are more likely to be differentiating into chondrocyte(which is what increases height).  Further, more trabecular bone colume means more red bone marrow means more stem cells.  This is the tibia but still an increase in trabecular bone in the epiphysis in that bone would be good for height and the rats may have gained the same benefit in the trabecular bone in their vertebrae.

4 week old Fischer strain female rats were used.

"Bone volume and marrow fat volume are inversely proportional"

"Mechanical loading of the mesenchymal stem cell line C3H10T1/2 increases Runx2 expression and decreases PPARĪ³2 expression"

"we were able to study only the influence of jumping and not of landing."

"There were no differences in the tibia length (Cont 30.8 ± 0.4 mm; Jump 30.6 ± 0.4 mm) or the periosteal perimeter of the tibia–fibula junction (Cont 7.3 ± 0.3 mm; Jump 7.4 ± 0.2 mm) between the Jump and Cont groups."

" BMP-2 mRNA expression levels did not significantly change during the training period. BMP-4 mRNA expression levels were significantly higher after 1 and 2 weeks of jump training than in each age-matched control group. Runx2 mRNA expression levels were significantly higher following 4 weeks of jump training than in the age-matched control group, whereas osterix mRNA expression levels were significantly higher following 2 weeks of jump training. No significant changes in PPARĪ³2 or C/EBPs mRNA expression levels were observed between the Cont and Jump groups throughout the training period."

Cross-sectional geometry of weight-bearing tibia in female athletes subjected to different exercise loadings

"The association of long-term sport-specific exercise loading with cross-sectional geometry of the weight-bearing tibia was evaluated among 204 female athletes representing five different exercise loadings and 50 referents. All exercises involving ground impacts (e.g., endurance running, ball games, jumping) were associated with thicker cortex at the distal and diaphyseal sites of the tibia and also with large diaphyseal cross-section, whereas the high-magnitude (powerlifting) and non-impact (swimming) exercises were not.
Bones adapt to the specific loading to which they are habitually subjected. In this cross-sectional study, the association of long-term sport-specific exercise loading with the geometry of the weight-bearing tibia was evaluated among premenopausal female athletes representing 11 different sports. METHODS: A total of 204 athletes were divided into five exercise loading groups, and the respective peripheral quantitative computed tomographic data were compared to data obtained from 50 physically active, non-athletic referents. Analysis of covariance was used to estimate the between-group differences.
At the distal tibia, the high-impact, odd-impact, and repetitive low-impact exercise loading groups had ~30% to 50% greater cortical area (CoA) than the referents. At the tibial shaft, these three impact groups had ~15% to 20%  greater total area (ToA) and ~15% to 30% greater CoA. By contrast, both the high-magnitude and repetitive non-impact groups had similar ToA and CoA values to the reference group at both tibial sites.
High-impact, odd-impact, and repetitive low-impact exercise loadings were associated with thicker cortex at the distal tibia. At the tibial shaft, impact loading was not only associated with thicker cortex, but also a larger cross-sectional area. High-magnitude exercise loading did not show such associations at either site but was comparable to repetitive non-impact loading and reference data. Collectively, the relevance of high strain rate together with moderate-to-high strain magnitude as major determinants of osteogenic loading of the weight-bearing tibia is implicated."

Now, we've already established that the irregular bones(like the spine) grow in the same way as appositional growth.  The tibia grew appositionally by 15 to 20%!  That would be an insane increase in height in the spine(15to20%).  You could also increase height this way in the pelvis, top bone of the skull, and the calcaneus heel bone(although those you can tap wholly or at least partially).

The high impact group had the largest height whereas the high magnitude group had the lowest height.

Jumping improves hip and lumbar spine bone mass in prepubescent children: a randomized controlled trial.

"Physical activity during childhood is advocated as one strategy for enhancing peak bone mass (bone mineral content [BMC]) as a means to reduce osteoporosis-related fractures. Thus, we investigated the effects of high-intensity jumping on hip and lumbar spine bone mass in children. Eighty-nine prepubescent children between the ages of 5.9 and 9.8 years were randomized into a jumping (n = 25 boys and n = 20 girls) or control group (n = 26 boys and n = 18 girls). Both groups participated in the 7-month exercise intervention during the school day three times per week. The jumping group performed 100, two-footed jumps off 61-cm boxes each session, while the control group performed nonimpact stretching exercises. BMC (g), bone area (BA; cm2), and bone mineral density (BMD; g/cm2) of the left proximal femoral neck and lumbar spine (L1-L4) were assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA; Hologic QDR/4500-A). Peak ground reaction forces were calculated across 100, two-footed jumps from a 61-cm box. In addition, anthropometric characteristics (height, weight, and body fat), physical activity, and dietary calcium intake were assessed. At baseline there were no differences between groups for anthropometric characteristics, dietary calcium intake, or bone variables. After 7 months, jumpers and controls had similar increases in height, weight, and body fat. Using repeated measures analysis of covariance (ANCOVA; covariates, initial age and bone values, and changes in height and weight) for BMC, the primary outcome variable, jumpers had significantly greater 7-month changes at the femoral neck and lumbar spine than controls (4.5% and 3.1%, respectively). In repeated measures ANCOVA of secondary outcomes (BMD and BA), BMD at the lumbar spine was significantly greater in jumpers than in controls (2.0%) and approached statistical significance at the femoral neck (1.4%; p = 0.085). For BA, jumpers had significantly greater increases at the femoral neck area than controls (2.9%) but were not different at the spine. Our data indicate that jumping at ground reaction forces of eight times body weight is a safe, effective, and simple method of improving bone mass at the hip and spine in children. This program could be easily incorporated into physical education classes."

So, the reason that the children didn't gain height faster was that their method of jumping did not cause microfractures in the spine(the height difference due to the hip would be a lot smaller and possibly insignificant). I don't know if jumping off a box is a better, I've found the most impact just by jumping a little bit off the ground and then landing as hard as possible.  If the scientists had experimented in such a way as to cause lumbar microfractures there would've been height increase.

There seemed to be no apparent correlation between jumping and height.

Effects of different exercises on the growth plate in young growing mice. 

" A total of 27 male young mice were divided into control group and 8 treadmill exercise groups; high-intensity (running), high-frequency (every day), and long-duration (60 min); high-intensity, high-frequency, and short-duration (15 min); high-intensity, low-frequency (Once in 3 d), and longduration; high-intensity, low-frequency, and short-duration; low-intensity (walking), high-frequency, and long-duration; low-intensity, high-frequency, and short-duration; low-intensity, low-frequency, and long-duration; low-intensity, low-frequency, and short-duration. We quantified histologic characteristics in the growth plate after exercise. "

High intensity long duration, low frequency(not everyday) seemed to have the best impact on growth plate height although remember growth plate height does not correlate 100% with longitudinal bone growth.

"the thickness of the growth plate, cell proliferation, and the number of hypertrophic chondrocytes in the growth plate more increased in the high-intensity exercise than that in the low-intensity. Furthermore, osteoclasts in the primary spongiosa increased by high-intensity and low-frequency and long-duration exercise"

" the thickness of the growth plate has increased in all high-intensity exercise groups except for the HHS[High intensity short duration] group. This result was detected in the group seen both cell proliferation and hypertrophy. Give these results, a thinning of the growth plate must result from the activity of cell proliferation and hypertrophy. On the other hand, cell proliferation and hypertrophy of the HHS group had no change in the thickness of the growth plate was not significantly altered unlike the other high-intensity groups; Therefore, an increase in the thickness of the growth plate may be crucial for increases in both cell proliferation and hypertrophy"


  1. The study was on children, so would age have any 'impact" (I had to) on growth results? Or, is the only determining factor whether or not you create microfractures?

  2. so how do we jump to cause lumbar microfractures? how come only the tibia increased by 20% and not spine as well? and should we jump every day or should we give more time to recover?