Does strength training stunt the growth of children? @fit8 put pay to the myths…

Following on from Keiron’s blog last week: here he outlines the five most common myths associated with youth strength training 

Myth 1: Strength training will stunt the growth of children
Current observations indicate no evidence of a decrease in stature in children who regularly perform resistance exercise in a controlled environment. A growth plate fracture has not been reported in any youth strength training study. If appropriate exercise guidelines are followed, regular participation in weight-bearing physical activities, such as strength exercise, will likely have a favorable influence on bone growth and development during childhood and adolescence. Basically common sense should prevail from the instruction given by the coach and or teacher.

Myth 2: Strength training is unsafe for children
With appropriate supervision and instruction, the risks associated with youth strength training are not greater than other activities in which children and adolescents regularly participate. The key is to provide qualified supervision, age-specific instruction and a safe training environment in order to reduce the risk of an accident and or injury.

Myth 3: Children cannot increase strength because they do not have enough testosterone
Testosterone is not essential for achieving strength gains. Women and elderly individuals experience impressive strength gains without high levels of testosterone. When training-induced strength gains are compared on a relative or percent basis, improvements in children are comparable to adolescents and adults.

Myth 4: Strength training is only for young athletes.
Although strength training may enhance the sports performance of young athletes while reducing their risk of sports-related injuries, regular participation in a strength training program may also offer health values to boys and girls who are not involved in sports programs. In addition to enhancing musculoskeletal health, regular strength training provides an opportunity for participants to learn about their bodies and feel good about participating in strength-building activities that are engaging, progressive and fun. Strength training may be particularly beneficial for the overweight youth who is less willing and often unable to participate in prolonged periods of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise without rest thus providing a feel good factor over and above the physiological benefits.

Myth 5: The sport of weightlifting is inappropriate for children
In the sport of weightlifting, athletes attempt to lift maximal amounts of weight when performing the clean, snatch etc.  Current findings suggest that youths can successfully perform these lifts and benefit from participating in this sport provided that the focus remains on proper form and technique and appropriate weights are used in practice and competition. Children and adolescents who want to participant in weightlifting should be encouraged to do so under the qualified supervision of the relevant qualified coach.

Thanks to Keiron from fit8 for this article

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