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27 May 2021

Does hanging on a bar help you grow taller?

By Alan Rybczynski

Growing a few centimeters is a dream of many people. Since time immemorial, a tall height has been considered an indicator of a child’s health and strength in adulthood. But what if the child does not grow as fast as his/her peers? Can you grow as an adult by exercising on a bar? The answer is in this article.

Idea of using a hanging bar

The idea that you can increase your height by hanging on a bar is very simple and is based on the structure of our spine. The human spine consists of 33-34 vertebrae (bones), and between each vertebrae are discs. Discs, unlike bones, are soft. If they were not there – the bones would rub against each other. The functions of the disks are:

  • amortization of the spine,
  • proper movement of the spine in every plane: flexion/extension, side-to-side movements, oblique movements, rotations,
  • uniform distribution of vertical pressure,
  • keeping the vertebrae on top of each other,

Evolution created the discs to act as shock absorbers to protect the vertebrae. When we stand, the weight of our upper body is supported by our spine, which puts a lot of pressure on the discs and greatly reduces their height. Long periods of upright physical activity, such as running, walking, and standing cause pressure on the discs. As a result, our entire spine is under compression (shrinking) precisely because of the compressed discs. To reduce the pressure on the spine, it is a good idea to use swimming or a bar.

How dangling helps you grow

The theory sounds great, but it’s worth being a little skeptical about actually growing by hanging from a pole. Hanging by itself doesn’t cause bone growth because technically all that’s happening is reversing the effect of gravity on the spine. When we run, walk, stand or sit, gravity puts pressure on the bones of the spine, causing them to compress (compress).

Can bar exercises increase your height?

YES – hanging from a bar can be a very effective exercise, causing spinal decompression and increasing body height. Instead of squeezing, we get the opposite effect of expanding and increasing the space between the vertebrae, we become taller. Hanging, like swimming or being in space fights the effect of gravity on our body and thus promotes growth.

Hanging on a bar certainly counteracts the effects of gravity and the compression of the vertebrae, but is this effect permanent?

The answer is: It depends. Typically, the spinal decompression effect lasts for a few days, after which our height returns to its original height. In some cases, especially with high spinal curvature, it is possible to retain the gained height permanently. The spine during various exercises (not only with the use of a bar) simply stretches. It is worthwhile for children and young people, in addition to swimming, to use this simple method to promote the proper development of their bodies.

Can space stretch the spine permanently?

Unfortunately – NOT. Astronauts, while in space, are taller by up to 3% due to microgravity. No gravity acts on the spine, discs are fully relaxed. Upon returning to Earth, the discs gradually compress and individuals return to their original height (1). A similar situation occurs in the morning, we are then about 2 centimeters taller.


So if you want to maintain the effect of stretching your spine, hanging on the bar should be done regularly. Otherwise, you are likely to return to your original height because gravity is inexorable and always compresses the spine in the vertical plane. Stay calm though, the loss of temporary height usually takes a few days. You can prevent this by simply hanging back regularry.

A pull-up bar can also be extremely useful if you have a habit of humping. Hanging from the bar helps to improve your overall posture, so you can start to look like a taller person. If you use a bar to pull yourself up, you are engaging your upper body muscles and helping you maintain a healthy posture. Correct posture, in turn, helps to relieve tension on any part of the spine and can prevent the onset of serious conditions later in life.

To alleviate the effects of spinal compression, additionally swim regularly..



  1. NASA. Station Spinal Ultrasounds Seeking Why Astronauts Grow Taller in Space.