WILL WEIGHTLIFTING STUNT MY CHILD'S GROWTH?
No, this myth has persisted for years. Actually, strength training makes the bones of most children stronger. There is no evidence to suggest it negatively affects their growth. Just as basketball does not make kids taller, lifting weights will not make them shorter. Basketball didn’t make Shaq tall, genetics did that.
SHOULD MY CHILD BE A CERTAIN AGE BEFORE THEY START LIFTING?
It’s a myth that there is a minimum age to start lifting weights. When a child is interested, emotionally mature enough to follow directions safely, and under quality supervision, the child is ready to begin some form of resistance training. For some kids, that might be age 6 and others age 12. On average, girls 9-11 and boys 10-12, but there is a lot of variability.
IS LIFTING WEIGHTS JUST COSMETIC WITH NO HEALTH BENEFITS?
Strength training increases performance and reduces the risk of injury in young athletes. Additionally, weightlifting has tremendous health benefits: increasing muscle and bone mass, reducing body fat, and improving heart health and metabolism, to name just a few.
SHOULD MY CHILD ONLY BE LIFTING LIGHT WEIGHTS?
It’s important that children start with light loads to develop form and technique. But as technique improves, we can increase that load gradually. Training should always be technique-driven, starting with light loads under appropriate supervision. But when athletes are ready for them, heavier loads will optimize performance and reduce the risk of sports-related injury.
WILL LIFTING WEIGHTS INJURE MY CHILD?
Just like with all forms of physical activity, proper guidance and supervision are needed. Resistance training is not inherently dangerous for children. The key is qualified supervision and technique-driven instruction. It is more likely that not doing any resistance training while a child is developing and playing sports will make them more prone to injury.
WILL GIRLS DEVELOP BULKY MUSCLES IF THEY LIFT WEIGHTS?
Most girls do not have the hormones for heavy muscular development. But girls can absolutely get stronger, more powerful, and more injury-resistant, and they can also improve their athletic performance. It is often more important for girls to lift weights to get stronger, then it is for boys. As girls mature, they will add bodyweight, without adding strength to support that new bodyweight. This imbalance, if not addressed through resistance training, leaves girls more prone to sports related injury.
IS WEIGHTLIFTING JUST FOR COMPETITIVE ATHLETES?
Strength training is beneficial for ALL children. It is foundational for long-term participation in physical activity. A certain level of strength is needed to move, jump, run, hop, and skip, which makes strength training an ideal platform for all physical education programs. Resistance training also increases bone density in children, and there is data to suggest that those benefits can carry on into adulthood. Strong healthy children are more likely to become strong healthy adults.