If had a dollar for the amount of times I’ve heard “strength training stunts your kids growth”, I’d be on a beach holidaying permanently, and not writing this blog!
There seems to be common misconception that weights training during childhood/adolescence, can damage a child’s growth cartilage/plates, and therefore stunt growth. Because of this fear mongering gossip statement, the same people suggest to run and hide from any form of loaded exercises, and stick to bodyweight movements.
Evidence from countless amounts of research has shown these statements have no merit. Studies have shown that a structured weights training program during childhood/adolescence can not only improve various performance components in athlete development (outlined below), but it does not negatively affect the growth rates of height and weight. Please see the detailed progression chart below for an example of how we structure and progress our youth athletes at ACE.
Training with resistance when it is structured and progressed appropriately, can lead to a number of positive outcomes for children and adolescents. These include:
· Increased strength and speed
· Reduced injury risk / Injury prevention
· Improved body composition
· Stronger bones and bodies
This is further evidence of how important it is for our youth athletes to be following a well-structured, periodised strength training plan, based on the individual and the individuals own stage of development.
Everyone is built differently. Everyone grows at different rates. Your child’s strength program needs to reflect this.
In the instance of when you hear about an injury to a child in the gym, this more likely than not, comes from a lack of understanding and/or an under appreciation of the dangers present when training in a gym. These types of injuries are usually due to accidents (dropping a weight), misuse of equipment, or unsafe/incorrect technique.
This further emphasizes the need for any kind of strength training done by youth to be done in a professionally supervised environment by a trained and accredited. We want and need to be able to educate our kids well enough, that they feel comfortable and safe strength training under load.
To summarise the above, the myth that strength training is bad for children, is well and truly busted! Kids can and should train with weights, although they need to be able to understand clear instructions and have an awareness of the dangers in the gym. Make sure your child has a good program written by a strength and conditioning or performance coach, knows correct technique, and then the results will say the rest!
If you want to get your child into the experts on youth development reach out to the ACE Performance coaches.