Does Jumping Make You Taller? 

Basketball players are among the tallest athletes in the world. Centers are particularly tall athletes with some players exceeding 7 feet. More height is certainly helpful in a game where the rim is 10 feet above the court surface.

The taller you are, the easier it is to score and defend. Longer arms also improve your chances of stealing the ball from your opponents. 

Naturally tall people who love basketball may consider themselves lucky. Others closer to average height who adore the sport may wonder what they can do to increase their stature.

Can specific diets or stretches help? Furthermore, in what way does jumping make you taller? 

Jumping exercises can help to gradually straighten your back and reverse spinal compression. Jumping is a whole-body exercise that works many different muscle groups to aid your posture. However, once your growth plates have hardened, jumping will not significantly increase your bone mass. 

That is the short answer. Several other factors determine your height both during and after puberty. We cover these, as well as effective jumping exercises, in the next sections. 

What Factors Determine Your Height? 

1. Diet 

You are what you eat. The food and liquids that you consume help fuel your body’s growth and repair. Good-quality nutrition rich in vitamins, protein, and calcium is what your bones need to grow. 

2. Sleep 

The advice that “you grow in your sleep” seems as old as time itself. The release of human growth hormone throughout your body happens while you sleep. Apart from sleep’s countless other benefits, getting enough rest is crucial for boosting your growth potential. 

3. Posture 

By not standing up straight, you unintentionally make yourself shorter. Only good posture allows your spine to fully extend and reveal your true height. Slouching can slow down a person’s growth by compressing their spinal cord and not providing the vertebrae necessary space to expand. 

Bad posture also negatively impacts your mobility and balance as a basketball player. If this bad habit persists, it can actually make you shorter later in life. So even if correct posture does not increase height, it may prevent it from decreasing.

4. Exercise 

Performing high-intensity exercise can increase bone density and promote growth in children. If you can strengthen your back and core muscles, your posture will improve and allow you to enjoy the full extent of your height. 

Additionally, exercise increases the oxygen flow around your body and regulates your sleeping pattern, both of which are needed for bone and tissue growth. 

5. Age 

You do not reach your maximum height before a certain age. When you are young, the ends of your bones (known as epiphyseal plates) expand to lengthen your limbs. Once you have finished puberty, these plates harden, so your potential to grow taller is greatly diminished. 

There are tales of people who have experienced growth spurts in their twenties and beyond, but this is not typical. 

Hence, depending on your age, you should avoid disappointment and be realistic about your chances to grow. The previous 4 factors on this list have more of an effect during puberty. The younger you are, the more potential you have to increase your height. 

6. Genetics 

Even if you are young and do everything possible to maximize your height, including eating well, stretching, exercising, and sleeping enough, your height is mostly decided before you are born. The heights of your parents and recent ancestors will largely determine how tall you can grow 

Once again, there are exceptions. Some tall basketball players come from short families, but your height will generally be similar to that of your parents. 

Does Jumping Really Affect Your Height? 

If you have reached the end of puberty and your growth plates have sealed, you can do very little to lengthen your bones. In fact, that is the case with all other factors. A good diet, plus adequate exercise and sleep will reap many health benefits but will not grow your bones after a certain age. 

As an adult, all you can do is help your body to maximize its current stature. Jumping is an activity that will help fix your posture and ease compression within your spine. Jumping engages your whole body, so is a way to train the muscles in your legs, back, and abdomen. 

Your core and back muscles surround your spinal cord, so keeping them strong is essential for straight posture. 

Even if jumping has no impact on your height, learning to jump high will help you to overcome a height deficit. Tall basketball players do not become tall from jumping, but short players with a good jumping ability can challenge the giants of the game.

What Are Some Good Jumping Exercises? 

1) Rope Jumping 

This exercise needs no description. Simply pick up a rope and start skipping. Experiment with different types of jumps. For instance, try bouncing on one leg. You can also try “double unders” in which you pass the rope under your feet twice in a single jump. This requires you to jump quite high. 

Aside from making your legs strong, rope jumping is an excellent cardio workout. 

2) Single-Leg Jumps 

Sometimes in basketball, players jump from one leg e.g. to execute slam dunks. This helps them to gain extra height and happens naturally while they are in motion. Therefore, it is crucial to train your legs to jump individually. 

There are many variations of this exercise. One method is to stand with one leg straight and the other raised with the foot flat on a gym bench/box. Then, you explode off the ground using your raised leg. For an even tougher challenge, hold some dumbbells while jumping. 

Another version of this exercise involves standing in a lunge position and then springing upwards off your front foot. 

3) Box Jumps 

This exercise requires you to crouch very low on both legs and then explode upward (while swinging your arms) to land atop a box or step.

Many gyms have boxes or steps for this type of exercise and you can change the height to suit your level. You need to be careful when performing box jumps since there is a risk of falling backward. 

Height in Basketball: Helpful or Not? 

This seems like a simple no-brainer. The taller you are, the more you will tower over your adversaries and the more easily you can reach the hoop. Also, taller players have a greater reach, so will more easily block and steal. Yet the argument is more complicated than that. 

At times in basketball games, height and reach are less useful than speed and agility. Being taller affects your ability to run fast and have elegant footwork. Bigger players are also heavier. Carrying around excess weight can make a big difference late on in physical matches. 

The two tallest players ever to feature in the NBA were 7 ft 7 in (2.31 m). There is a good reason why men taller than this generally do not make it to the top level. While they can reach the hoop without needing to jump, shorter players will likely dribble past them without trouble. 

Also, aside from being extremely rare, such height exerts huge pressure on a player’s joints and puts them at risk of injury throughout a season.

The Good News for Shorter Players 

Even in the NBA, point guards are not extremely tall players, yet they play a crucial role in scoring points for their team. Some of the sport’s most iconic point guards are not especially tall.

For instance, Russell Westbrook (6 ft 3 in/1.91 m), Stephen Curry (6 ft 2 in/1.88 m), and Chris Paul (6 ft/1.83 m) are some of the best players in the modern men’s game. 

Similarly, you have renowned players on the women’s side like Sheryl Swoopes (6 ft/1.83 m), Cynthia Cooper (5 ft 10 in/1.78 m), and Sue Bird (5 ft 9 in/1.75 m). 

Granted, these players are not “short” compared to the average population. However, you will be glad to know that some players below 5 ft 9 in have had successful careers in the NBA and WNBA. As we stated earlier, height is not an obstacle for players who can jump well. 

Closing Thoughts 

Even if you are nowhere near 7 feet tall, remember that shorter players still have a very important role in basketball, especially point guards.

Basketball is always presented as a sport exclusively for tall people, but nothing is further from the truth. There have been numerous successful NBA and WNBA players of 6 feet or under. 

Jumping will not generate any dramatic height increases, though is beneficial for developing the explosive leg strength needed for offense and defense. The higher you can jump, the less your height (or lack of height) will matter. 

Although jumping has little impact on your stature, it is nonetheless absolutely vital for many moves in basketball. This is a motion you must perfect to have success in the game, no matter your playing position.

Chris Davis

I'm Chris, the guy behind BasketballJoy. I've played basketball for 20+ years and have been a full-time coach since 2017. On this website, I share everything I know about the most beautiful sport in the world - Basketball.

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