This is an interesting thing I picked up over winter break. I enjoy reading what people may call “far-fetched” articles about little known things that you can do with your body. One such article was about the use of spine stretching to increase height. To keep you interested on this topic, I tried their proposed stretches and did it just as they prescribed: 30 minutes a day of a variety of stretches for four weeks, and various other minor practices. After just over four weeks of following the plan precisely, I was taller by over half an inch.
There are a multitude of factors that affect growth. Genetics of course play the largest role. Proper (Paleo diet) nutrition, exercises, and sleep are crucial for good growth. Many of you may already know that you are taller in the morning than at night. This is because the discs of cartilage in between your spinal vertebrae compress throughout the day due to gravity. The purpose of the prescribed stretches is to decompress the discs, fill them with more fluid, and strengthen them. In addition to doing the stretches, you will need to get quality sleep. Avoid caffeine, soft drinks, alcohol, and smoking. Basically do not do what you know is bad for you…
Here are the stretches that I did:
1. The Bow: With your hands on your hips, bow down as if you were trying to use your hands to touch your feet. In middle school this was often a popular test of flexibility. As you lower your head towards the ground, hold the end point for 10 seconds. Keep your chin off your chest and do not bend your knees. If you have not done this in a while you will feel your hamstrings stretching more than your back. After a few sets of 10 seconds you should loosen up and will then feel it in your back.
2. Sky Stretch: Stand up straight, raise your hands above your head as if you were going to dive, and push your arms towards the ceiling. When you can’t push anymore, hold this point for 10 seconds. This is a really easy and good feeling stretch, so even after you finish your 30 minute routine, do this stretch randomly throughout the day.
3. Toe Touch: This is basically the Bow but this time you are taking your hands and aiming to touch your toes with them. This is a simple stretch that all of you know how to do from grade school. Once again, you may and probably will feel it first in your hamstrings. Once you get to the farthest point, hold the position for 10 seconds.
4. Reverse Toe Touch: Stand up straight and hold your hands together behind your back. Then perform the Bow while pulling your hands towards your head. Hold the farthest position for 10 seconds.
Do each of these stretches one set in a row. This will be your superset. Perform 36 of these supersets. Yes, it seems like a lot but it is only 24 minutes in total. Each superset is 40 seconds long, and doing 36 of them (40seconds x 36rounds = 1440 seconds = 24 minutes) results in 24 minutes of total exercise time. For the other 6 minutes do hanging. A pull-up bar is perfect for this. Hang for however long you can, just make sure in the end it ends up being at least more than 5 minutes. Try different width grips everyday. I only say 6 minutes because it adds up to 30 minutes and that is what I personally did during winter break. What appears to be the case here is that more is better, but you need to balance more time hanging with the rest of your daily obligations.
The article said to do the routine 5 days a week, but I think they said that because they believed it would be easier for people to follow. I did 6 days a week, and I suggest you do that, too. If you miss one day it is not a big deal, but seriously try to not make it a reoccurring thing.
You do not have to do all 30 minutes at once. Splitting it up may result in a greater possibility that you will actually do all 30 minutes. Give this routine a shot. If you do not gain any height, you at least have a better posture and a healthier spine.