When it comes to strength training, the bench press is one of the exercises that most people focus on.
But does this popular exercise actually stunt growth – in teens especially?
Tune into any live Bodybuilding show, and you certainly won’t be meeting any tall men.
The average height for Mr. Olympia is only 5’ 7’’. It would not be a farfetched idea to assume that there is a connection between weight training and shortness.
There is currently no scientific evidence that bench press or any weight training will stunt growth. The myth started with the fact that injured growth plates in immature bones can stunt growth.
While injuries to growth plates can stunt growth if you lift with good form and avoid injuries, the chances of weight training causing injury are zero.
Let’s take a closer look at the science behind the bench press and see if there’s any truth to this claim.
Table of Contents
Bench Press – Does it matter?
The bench press is one of the most popular and widely practiced weight training exercises. It is designed to work the major muscles in the chest, including the pectorals, triceps, and shoulders.
In order to perform a proper bench press, you will first need a sturdy and well-balanced bench to rest your back on.
Next, you will need to set up the weight bar with plates or dumbbells so that it is slightly higher than shoulder height. Finally, you should position your body so that your head, torso, hips, and feet are all aligned in a straight line; this will help keep your spine in proper alignment during the lift.
Once you have your body in position, you can push off from the floor using both arms and engage the muscles in your chest as you lower and then press back up to lift the weight.
With practice, you can build strength and power in this key upper body muscle group using this simple but effective exercise.
Does Weight Training Hinder Growth?
Growth in height begins to accelerate between 8 to 13 years of age in girls and 10 to 15 years in boys. This period is when we get introduced to different sports and activities, and most boys get introduced to the gym.
Weight training does not hinder the growth of younger children.
There is currently no evidence that weight training at a young age will hinder growth. That means you can do all the bench pressing, squatting, and deadlifting as soon as your tiny little hands can hold that bar. One thing to mention is that you should always practice great form.
There is evidence that injuries to the growth plates could hinder growth.
Can you Lift Weights at 15?
Weight training has been around for way longer than Arnold has been getting to the choppa, and will continue to be part of the lifestyle of most people for centuries to come.
Yes, you can lift weights at 15 years old. It is highly advisable that you do lift weights as lifting weights can have tremendous benefits such as:
- Increased muscle strength
- Improved cardiovascular capabilities
- Increased confidence
- Increased joint strength
- Bone density
- Muscle tone
As you can see, it is highly advantageous to be training with weights. With of course parental permission.
You just have to make sure that you are lifting the correct amount of weight and that you are not lifting too heavy. When you are lifting weights, always make sure to use proper form and to keep your back straight. You should also be sure to breathe correctly when lifting weights.
If you are a beginner, it is best to start out with light weights and then gradually increase the weight as you get stronger.
How Often Should a 15-year-old Workout?
There are hundreds of training splits available for you to try. You can even make your own based on your current work and life schedule.
You should work out as often as your life allows if you’re looking for decent results.
If you’re looking for serious results, you’ll want to train as often as your muscle can handle the load. By introducing weight or resistance training to the muscle as often as it is capable of recovering, you’re going to see the best results.
Beginners can benefit from a higher frequency training schedule the most.
What Should a 15-year-old Do at the Gym?
Walking into the gym, you might be completely overwhelmed with the options available for you to do. Do you start with bench press as most often do, or do you jump in the deep end with leg day?
As a beginner in the gym, you should focus on getting stronger on the compound lifts like bench presses, squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, and overhead presses. Other exercises you can do include:
- Romanian Deadlift
- Barbell Rows
- Dumbell Chest Press
- Dumbell Incline Press
How Can I Build Muscle at 15?
Let’s get one thing straight real quick. Building muscle will be one of the easiest things you have ever done in your entire life. However, it will require great consistency over a significant period.
To build muscle, you need to follow these three simple steps:
- Provide a novel stimulus to the muscle in the form of resistance training
- You need to provide the muscle with ample calories (caloric surplus) as well as a significant amount of protein
- You need to rest. This means taking 2 – 3 rest days per week to let the muscles recover and grow
By following these three simple steps for 5 – 7 months, I can guarantee that you will see an increase in lean body mass.
Which Age is Perfect for Gym?
Sometimes we ask questions that are incredibly hard to answer due to their nature. If the answer isn’t quantifiable, meaning it doesn’t have a measuring unit, it becomes an opinion, and then there is no wrong or right answer.
There is no perfect age for the gym. However, being introduced to the gym at a younger age could benefit.
There are countless stories of people who learned how to lift at a very young age and have proceeded to have some of the best forms of lifting.
Practice makes perfect, and so by starting early, you can carve the correct form and mechanisms in your mind perfectly. When you’re about to climb under a dangerously heavy bar ten years later, you have years of perfect form behind you.
Does Lifting Heavy Weights Stunt Growth?
If you’ve spent some time on Tik Tok, you’ve probably come across videos of the King Ronnie Coleman deadlifting 800lbs or kicking up 200lbs dumbells. Here’s the kicker, Ronnie was a tall guy.
There is a myth that heavyweights will stunt growth, but the reality is heavyweights will not stunt growth. The only way training of any sort will ever stunt your growth is if you injure your growth plates.
Do Push-ups Stunt Growth?
The very first real exercise any of us will ever do is push-ups. We see them done in movies, we see them done in the gym, and we even see them done in the army.
So they must be good, right?
Push-ups will not and cannot stunt your growth. Push-ups are a great way to train the pecs, shoulders, triceps, and core. There are currently no scientific studies to show that any type of training would be bad for growth. Just remember to practice good form.
Does Lifting Weights Increase Testosterone?
Testosterone is the male hormone, essential for developing various male features, and is exceptional for increasing muscle mass and strength.
Training with weights will increase your testosterone.
Studies have shown that when individuals are following a resistance training plan, we see increased levels of Testosterone and increased levels of Growth Hormone and IGF.
The bench press is a great exercise for developing strength and size in the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
However, if you’re trying to maximize your growth potential, you may want to consider other exercises that target these muscle groups. Exercises like the barbell or dumbbell press, Arnold Presses, push-ups, and dips are all great alternatives that can help you achieve your fitness goals.
Even though there are not yet any viable studies on this – always perform your exercises and weight training with expert guidance. Especially if you’re in your teens or a beginner in bodybuilding and fitness.