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Will Weight Training Stunt Growth? Here's What the Data Says

will weight training stunt growth

Growing to your full height will be impossible if you lift at an early age. If you lift at an early age, your spine will be ruined. You will lose your long-term growth if you train strength before puberty. If you lift weights early age, you will fracture your growth plates! There have been many comments like these. Some of us may have waited until puberty to start lifting so as not to stunt our growth. A conversation like this is common in the fitness industry, but is it genuine? Is lifting weights actually associated with stunted growth?

Although this concern about stunted growth seems legitimate, lifting weights doesn’t mean your child must stop. For those who still don’t understand, let me explain things in more detail regarding “does lifting weights stunt growth?” Read on!

Will Weight Training Stunt Growth?

Will Weight Training Stunt Growth?

You might wonder if your child’s strength training workouts at the gym stunt their growth if you are a parent of a child under 18. Most parents readily accept the key buzzwords related to this topic. Stunted growth myths may be attributed to case studies describing injuries to epiphyseal plates. Children and adolescents have epiphyseal plates at the ends of long bones, also called growth plates. 

As children and teens grow, the growth plate determines the size and shape of the mature bones near the ends of their long bones. The growth plates on long bones are longer than they are wide, with two growth plates on each long bone. The plate occurs only in children and adolescents; adults, who have stopped growing, have epiphyses instead. The process of replacing the epiphyseal plate is called epiphyseal closure or growth plate fusion. For girls, fusion occurs between the ages of 12 and 18 and for boys between the ages of 14 and 19. With that knowledge under our belts, let’s investigate whether early strength training can damage the growth plate or epiphyseal plate.

One study has been conducted to expose this myth. As per this study, literature review and research were conducted on the age and exposure of individuals to weight training. As youth athletes participate in more resistance-based training, researchers wonder if this is associated with increased injury rates. After reviewing a great deal of data, researchers determined that resistance training does not result in injury to youth.

Research Related to Weight Training Stunt Growth

Study #1

A study published by Collegium Antropologicum aims to determine the risks and benefits of strength training introduced at an early age, such as adolescence, and to verify whether concerns are based on scientific evidence. In this study, the researchers found that children and adolescents who exercise regularly are relatively safe and healthy. Physical activity has proven to be an effective means of improving general health and preventing various diseases. 

Study #2

Another study published in Translational Pediatrics stated that children’s growth and development are not impaired when they follow well-designed and supervised weight-training programs. Weight training programs that are properly designed require knowledgeable trainers, effective supervision and a tailored approach. 

Study #3

The importance of incorporating resistance training into school physical education classes and after-school fitness programs is growing. Similarly, another study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) concluded that properly designed resistance training has no adverse effects on children’s linear growth, growth plate health, or cardiovascular health.

The findings of all the above studies suggest that children can achieve several benefits from resistance training when performed appropriately and with good technique. As a result, children’s bodies become stronger and more resilient, and our bones and joints grow stronger. Additionally, strength training can reduce fracture risk and prevent injuries associated with sports.

The Benefits of Weight Training Among Children

More importantly, many studies show that lifting weights benefits kids’ health. There are numerous benefits associated with strength training, including enhanced mobility, improved sports coordination, increased speed and agility, as well as decreased injury risks. Exercise also promotes bone density, improves self-esteem, and fights obesity.

Considering these benefits, why do so many parents fear and marginalize strength training for their children? We’ll likely pass on our beliefs about strength training to our kids if our parents and coaches teach us that strength training stunts growth. The fear of causing injuries to our kids is enough reason to avoid it, even without evidence. As a result, children and adolescents have been deprived of weight lifting’s health benefits.

Children's Weight Lifting Safety Tips

Because strength training is safe for youth athletes and can reduce their injury risk when used correctly, let’s examine how young athletes can train correctly. 

Needs Adult Supervision

The most important thing when strength training youth athletes is to be supervised by an adult. Lifting areas should be clear of clutter and people so that athletes follow safe lifting guidelines applicable to lifters of all ages, such as racking weights, aligning machines, and taking rest breaks. Furthermore, adults can prevent competitive athletes from lifting weights beyond their capacity to win bragging rights.

Exercise in a Variety of Ways

Young athletes need to train in a variety of ways. Ideally, you should use free weights, machines, and light plyometrics. Children can develop more complex and well-rounded functional movement patterns if they are exposed to various training styles. It is also fun and exciting to alter training styles, which reduces burnout and complacency.  

Ensure sound technique

Athletes of all ages must also train correctly in terms of strength. The first step is to master the ideal form and do bodyweight drills. After completing certain benchmark exercises, such as push-ups, sit-ups, squats with a training stick, and jumps, the athlete can move on to free weights and complex lifts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do kids have a risk of injury from lifting weights?

Whenever one lifts more weight than he or she can control, there is a risk of injury. Thus, the machines and weights can cause direct, blunt trauma. Nevertheless, lifting weights has many health benefits that outweigh its risks. Trainers should accompany children when lifting weights. The benefits of weight training for kids include improved strength, confidence, coordination, psychological well-being, and a healthy weight. Performing weight training increases bone density, muscle mass, ligament strength, and tendon flexibility, reducing the likelihood of injury. 

What are the causes of weightlifting injuries?

Poor form, inexperience, or overexertion are the most common causes of weightlifting injuries. Taking the necessary precautions can prevent them easily. form is important, but why? Correcting your form is valuable for many reasons, including preventing injuries like muscle tears, sprains, fractures, and even breaking bones. Having a proper form is important, but how do you do it? It is best to hire a professional trainer if you want to maintain the correct form.

Will Weight Training Stunt Growth? - Conclusion

As a result of the misconception that weight lifting stunts growth, young athletes cannot develop as individuals on and off the field. The benefits of strength training for young athletes include improved mental health and injury prevention. Resistance training can contribute to long-term growth in young athletes if they find the right program and environment.

Athletes should have their strength programs supervised and regularly evaluated regardless of age, sport speciality, or skill level. Safeguarding athletes with adult supervision is important, and continuous evaluation can assist in identifying areas for improvement.

Mike Horton (head of Weighted Living)

by Mike Horton

Mike is one of the lead editors at Weighted Living and the author of this article. He's become fascinated with weighted products (a bit too much we think) and loves to see all the different ways they can improve our loves. He's written quite a few weighted product guides as well.

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