Monday, October 28, 2019

Does Weight Training Stunt Growth In Young Adolescent Kids?

14 yo Miles with Dad Ving Henson at The Pit
I remember clearly being told by my teammates as a young runner at twelve that I should never do weights as it would stop me from growing taller.

This misconception about weight training often comes from fellow teammates, well meaning parents, physical education teachers and even some coaches. Actually, the sport your child participates in (sprinting, jumping or contact sports) will generate greater forces than training in the weight room.

This widely held belief that weight training especially when performed during puberty/ adolescence stunts growth still persist in the present day. Due to this, young athletes and children should only perform body weight exercises and not do any training with barbells, kettlebells or even dumbbells.

Fret not if you're a parent or teacher of a young athlete. There is simply no evidence to support this belief at all. Many studies have looked into this topic and found that weight training has no negative impact on skeletal growth. It will not stunt growth.

Actually, studies show consistent findings that young subjects have increased strength, speed and power, while losing weight, gaining muscle and stronger bones. There is also a reduction in injury rates. Good news for parents if your child keeps getting injured. This is especially true even when the young subjects have not reached puberty.

So it makes very little sense from a bone stress point of view if you stop your child from going to the gym but allow them to participate in sports.

So how soon can your child start weight training? We do not have any suggestions from any local authority but the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association suggest that a child can start weight training at six years old. As long as he/she can follow clear instructions and understand the dangers when training.

If you do send your child/ athlete for weight training, make sure the learn the correct techniques by a good strength coach who has experience working with young athletes. Remember, don't force the young athletes if they are not keen.


Barbieri D and Zaccagni L (2013). Strength Training For Children And Adolescents: Benefits And Risks. Collegium Antropologicum. 37(2): 219-225.

Faigenbaum AD and Meyer GD (2010). Resistance Training Among Young Athletes: Safety, Efficacy And Injury Prevention Effects. BJSM. 44(1): 56-63.

Falk D and Dotard R (2019). Strength Training In Children. Harefuah. 158(8): 515-519.

After seeing 14 yo Miles training above, my 9 yo was inspired to do the same

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