Can Basketball Increase Height After 21?

A lot of people fixate on their physical size. Young adults especially tend to get caught up comparing themselves to celebrities, athletes, and models, making them feel the need to change. Although weight is usually the obvious focus, feeling too short or too tall is also an issue. Some even wonder if playing basketball will increase their height into adulthood.

Basketball cannot affect height after 21. By the time a person reaches their 20’s, male or female, their body has already reached its maximum height. Shortly after puberty, growth plates fuse, stopping any further growth. So, beyond that point, no exercise or sport can make a person grow taller.

Basketball has a lot of positive health effects, even if increasing your height is not one of them. So, could there be other ways to increase height even if you after the age of 21? This depends on your heritage, your environment, and your overall health.

What Factors Determine How Tall You Will Be?

Although physical activities like basketball can aid in your growth, it is not the only thing that plays a role in how tall you turn out to be. 

According to studies, between 60% – 80% of your height has already been determined for you through genetics. 

There is nothing you can do to change your inherited traits. But when it comes to a strong and healthy body, there are ways to help it along. 

How You Can Help Maximize Your Natural Height

Growth plates play a major role in the “window” for how much more growth we can expect for our bones. While your growth plates are still open, there are a few factors that can play a role in influencing your height:

  • Proper nutrition and a healthy diet
  • Daily exercise 
  • Proper sleep
  • The environmental conditions you live in

It seems the best way to increase your chances of growing taller is going to have to be left up to nature and proper self-care. While that is great news, you also have to remember that for the majority of people, this window closes by age 16. While some may experience some growth in height beyond that, it most certainly will be before age 21. 

Can Basketball Increase Your Height?

There have been scientific studies that indicate basketball could increase the secretion of the human growth hormones we all have. Unfortunately, this seems to only hold true for teens. For teens who still have active growth plates, using basketball and other similar activities could help aid in making you a few inches taller than you would have naturally.

Once you have passed the puberty phase, basketball is not going to play a role in making you any taller than you already are. You cannot do anything to stretch your bones or give yourself more inches in height.

Can I Train Harder to Grow Taller After 21?

When you think of ways to get taller, the first idea that pops into everyone’s head is to physically stretch your body out. This will help increase your body’s length, right? Well, yes and no. It will give you extra inches, but that won’t last very long.

Hanging from a Bar

If you were to measure yourself right before hanging from a bar at the gym and then again right when you get down, you might notice a slight increase in your height. Measure yourself again the next morning, and you will probably notice your right back to where you started.

  • Why? This one has nothing to do with growth hormones but the extension in your spine. Due to gravity, we all shrink a bit once we stand up out of bed because our spine compresses. If you hang from a bar for long enough, your spine will start to decompress, giving you a little more length. Thanks to physics that won’t last long. 

Swimming in a Pool

There has also been a rumor throughout the years that swimming in the pool can help stretch your body out and increase your height. Although it sounds like it could be plausible, again, it’s extra inches that just won’t last.

  • Why? Just like hanging from a bar (or even traveling into space), gravity plays a big role in the length of your spine. When you are swimming in a pool, gravity has no effect on your body, allowing your spine to decompress. Once your back on dry land, your spin will be forced down along with your height.

Ways Someone 21+ Can Grow Taller

If you are one of the many people in this world who want nothing more than to grow a few more inches, the odds of that happening are sadly stacked against you. There are, however, a few medical conditions that do play a factor in increased height after puberty.

Late Closure of Growth Plates

There are some cases, although highly uncommon, that growth plates fuse much later than the average person. This will allow those people to continue growing even after they have gone through puberty and has given time for people to continue growing until the age of 22.

Blood Iron

A rare condition known as hemochromatosis is when the iron in your body leaks into your intestines; this has been shown to cause an increase in height. It is not the only thing that is affected by this condition. An excess of iron in your body can poison your organs and lead to serious illnesses like diabetes, liver disease, and even cancer.


This is a condition where a tumor forms in the pituitary gland, creating an abnormal amount of human growth hormone to secrete, making the body grow to an unnatural height.

All of these are medical conditions and not healthy or natural for the body. These conditions not only increase your height but cause other problems for you as well. 

Leg-lengthening Surgery

People who are extremely affected by feeling they are too short do have the option of a leg-lengthening surgery. Depending on where you live, this surgery is an option for those who feel they want to gain an extra few inches in height.

This surgery is painful, and recovery takes a very long time. If this is something you are considering, know that the cons are likely to outweigh the pros. 


There are so many people in the world who have no idea the problems bad posture can cause. Besides back pain and spin damage, poor posture can give the appearance of you looking shorter than you normally are. If you sit or stand up straight at all times, this will improve your natural posture and give you natural height.

Why are Basketball Players so Tall?

If you cannot increase your height after 21, then how is it that the majority of basketball players are so tall? 

Many basketball players have been practicing the sport from a very young age; this means they are doing the actions that could increase growth while their growth plates are still open. These players can, in turn, extend their height by a few inches. 

Setting that aside, the biggest reason basketball players are so tall is that tall people make great basketball players. In short, naturally, taller people are the ones who will try out for and play basketball.


Unless you are suffering from a health condition or you are willing to undergo painful, unnecessary surgery, there is no way of increasing your height after the age of 21. Instead of focusing on wanting to be taller, focus on your health and body. Having good self-esteem and true self-love will make you happy with who you are and how tall (or short) you may be.

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