Word on the sideline is that lifting weights is not safe for and stunts growth in children and adolescents. Should you keep your kids away from weights? Would you have grown a foot taller if you delayed lifting weights? Keep reading to find out.
Resistance training is a program of exercises designed to enhance muscular strength, power and/or endurance. Resistance can be in many forms, such as free weights, weight machines, medicine balls, kettlebells, resistance bands, or a person's own bodyweight.
Is it safe?
Yes. If children and adolescents are taught well and there is qualified supervision, resistance training is safe. In fact, it can be safer (i.e., have less injuries) than sports and play during breaks at school.
Will it stunt growth?
No. Well-designed resistance training programs have not been shown to have negative effects on bone health, linear growth, and cardiovascular health.
Resistance training actually has several benefits for children and adolescents, which include:
- improved performance (e.g., strength, power, endurance, speed) that can be useful for sports but also day-to-day activities
- improved physical health (e.g., cardiovascular fitness, body composition, bone mineral density)
- improved mental health (e.g., sleep, stress, anxiety, depression, self-esteem)
- improved injury rehabilitation
- reduced injury risk
- increased likelihood that they will continue to be active later in life.
So, you do not need to play sport to benefit from resistance training—everyone should be doing some form of it!
If you or someone you know would like some help with resistance training, let us know!
- Stricker et al. (2020) (PMID: 32457216)
- Image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/bgreenlee/3882781375