Welcome to the first of our series of dispelling commons myths surrounding kids and strength training.
Strength training comes surrounded with misconceptions and we hear various things from parents and people observing what we do.
So as experts in our field and coaches passionate about evidenced based practice we have taken it upon ourselves to share what the research actually says and dispel some common thoughts.
Myth #1 – Lifting weights stunts a child’s growth.
The idea behind this is that lifting weights causes injury to the growth plates in bones and therefore stunts growth.
Growth plates are cartilaginous areas of growing tissue at the ends of long bones. They become hardened once physical maturity is reached however during development they are softer and therefore more susceptible to damage.
In fact 15-30% of childhood fractures involve the growth plates. Interestingly most of these occur during participation in sports such as football, gymnastics, biking to name a few.
So now let’s look at some research on resistance training and it’s effects on growth.
First we have Malina RM (2006) who looked into weight training, growth maturation and safety in youth.
This study looked at 22 reports looking at experimental resistance training protocols and looked at the responses of the protocols and occurrences of injury.
Injury rates in the studies were 0.176 and 0.055 per 100 participant hours – much less than football, rugby and other competitive sports. The study concluded well supervised and well planned resistance training did not negatively impact growth or maturation but resulted in significant improvements in muscular strength.
“Faigenbaum (2003) looked at 1RM training for 96 youths aged between 6-12 years of age and found them to be safe as long as appropriate procedures are followed.”
Not one injury was caused during this study either.
Finally Falk B (2003) looked into resistance training, skeletal muscle and growth. His work concluded
” Scientific evidence indicates that resistance training results in increased serum IGF-I and that there is no detrimental effect on linear growth. Finally, numerous studies have demonstrated that with appropriate supervision and precautions, resistance training can be safe and effective for children and adolescents.”
So to conclude and put this myth to bed once and for all
Resistance training actually demonstrates a lower rate of injury incidence than many team sports.
Resistance training when controlled and well supervised has been proven numerous times that it has no negative effect on bones or stunts growth in any way.
We are looking forward to putting to bed more common myths surrounding young people and strength training so please feel free to share this information with anyone who could benefit or would like to learn more.