Most people have concerns about weight lifting safety for children and the right approach to use. People worry about muscle pulls, back injuries, calf and hip injuries from weight lifting.
However, while you can get injured, weightlifting is one of the safest physical activities a kid can do. Your child is more likely to get injured playing football or soccer than lifting weights.
The benefits of lifting weights outweigh the risks if the right procedures are followed. Strength training for children 8 years old and up is a safe and effective way to prevent injuries and improve performances.
This article discusses whether lifting weights stunts growth in children and the right age for a child to start lifting.
Can Weight-Lifting Stunt Growth in Children?
No, bodybuilding doesn’t stunt growth in children. One of the biggest myths about weight lifting is that weight training before puberty stunts one’s growth by damaging the growth plates.
Some people suggest that children should only perform bodyweight exercises and not use any external loading such as dumbbells during this time.
However, no studies have proven that weight lifting inhibits growth. This common belief has zero evidence to support it.
Studies into this topic found that weight training has no negative impact on skeletal growth or maturation.
People believe starting to weight lift early in your life could stunt your growth. For example, some misconceptions exist about lifting fracturing growth plates and halting growth once the injury occurs.
However, there is no evidence that weightlifting fractures the growth plate. Growth plate fractures are also incredibly rare and would require more severe trauma than anyone would get from lifting weights.
It’s also rare to fracture a growth plate if a child is supervised by a professional. Weightlifting is a controlled atmosphere with the proper way to do it.
The training is usually planned with set movement to ensure it is safe. For example, children cannot catch a ball falling from the sky.
While weight lifting requires lifting something heavy such as barbells or dumbbells, resistance training involves exercise bands, bodyweight and free weight. These are all safe and effective options for children.
Children should not lift maximum lifts, but avoiding all forms of strength training as a whole is just counterproductive. Physiologically, a muscle will contract and create a counterforce to any type of resistance.
This is regardless of whether the resistance comes from strength training or vigorous work.
The muscle will respond by getting stronger if this resistance is introduced safely and regularly at the right intensity.
Should Children Do Resistance Training?
Resistance or strength training is a way to build muscle and strength using weight machines, free weights, and a rubber assistant band. Children can do resistance training to improve sports performance, improve their appearance, and prevent injury.
There are many benefits of strength training for children. It can help them build strong muscles and improve their overall fitness and sports performance.
Resistance training can also increase lean body mass, burn more calories, and make bones stronger.
Any child ready to participate in organized sports or other activities such as soccer and gymnastics can start resistance training. This means a child as young as 7 or 8 can safely do strength training if they have good balance and control of their body.
They should demonstrate their ability to follow instructions and do the exercise in good form.
The most important thing is differentiating between a child strength training program and an adult’s weight-training regimen. Kids who are strength trained should learn proper techniques and know how to use the equipment safely.
A child should not use machines and equipment designed for adults.
Resistant training programs are generally safe and won’t damage growing bones when done properly. Most injuries happen when a child is goofing around without supervision.
As with any other sport, these practices should be conducted with the supervision of a professional while using the right equipment and proper technique.
The most important aspects for children weight lifting are exercise technique, supervision, light weights and high repetitions. You can learn the proper technique by doing exercises without any weight.
Once the child has mastered the technique, you can add weight or resistance using exercise bands as long as they can comfortably do the exercise for 8 to 15 repetitions with good form.
It’s important to differentiate between strength training and heavy weightlifting. Resistance training has many health-related benefits, including bone health and sports injury reduction.
If you are an overweight kid, start mostly with cardiovascular exercise and train with light weights.
Normal teens ranging between sedentary and athletic can undertake a more intense program.
At What Age Should Kids Start Lifting
There is no exact age for any particular child to start weight training. Instead, there are a couple of factors to consider, such as an athletic background, maturity level, and a desire to work out.
You can find a nine-year-old child who is mature enough to start weight lifting. They should be mature enough to listen to directions and respect coaches. If a child is not ready to follow directions, they need to wait until a later date.
A child can start weight lifting as early as age 7 or 8 if you show a high maturity level. They should have good balance and control of their body while showing the ability to follow instructions.
Young athletes can begin their strength training program at the same time they begin playing organized sports.
This means a 7-year old child can lift weights if they express an interest and are mature enough to follow directions.
A child’s desire to start lifting weight makes it easier for the coach. This is because a coach’s job can be hard if a kid doesn’t want to be in the sport. You have to make the child understand they are not at a playground.
Also, let them learn about a proper warmup and cool down proper pace, form and technique, and appropriate professionals. The recommended pace is to perform 1-2 sets of each exercise for 12 to 15 repetitions.
In essence, strength training for a beginner is all about building a foundation and not just weight lifting.
The emphasis is on the basics and not getting in the weight room and seeing how much you can lift. The child needs to learn proper movement and techniques before developing the skills, strength, and power for their sports.
At the same time, the age of a child can make a difference in weight lifting effectiveness.
For example, weight training before puberty may not be so beneficial until hormones settle and the child can build muscle and reap the benefits.
Therefore, while children between 9 and 12 can still lift weights, they will not see much benefit. As they get into puberty, they can see the benefits due to the growth plates.
Examples of Kids Bodybuilders
There are many examples of kid bodybuilders around the world. These kids started lifting impressive weights at a young age and gained international recognition from the same. Their training regimen makes them stronger than most adults will ever be.
Here are some of the strongest kids in the world who started as kid bodybuilders.
#1 Richard Sandrak
He was six years old when he was considered the strongest human in the world, pound for pound.
The Ukrainian-born American could bench twice his body weight as an eight-year-old. Sandrak became a Hollywood hero and starred in a few films. Today, he works as a Hollywood stuntman
#2 Jake Schellens
He got into weightlifting since his father was a weightlifter. As an 11-year old, he lifted 175 pounds and became the most dominant lifter in America his age.
Jake has placed great emphasis on the type of foods he consumes while working hard in the gym.
#3 C.J Senter
Senter decided to become a bodybuilder after an injury sidelined him from youth football.
He started creating workout exercise videos that cater for children. The workout kid has helped many children in his hometown curb childhood obesity.
#4 Andrey Kostash
This little Ukrainian started training at five years old to build confidence and muscles.
At 6 years, he completed 3,000 consecutive push-ups that put him in the Guinness Book of World records. He also did 6,000 push-ups in front of a cluster of media and Guinness Record officials.
This young lad hails from South Carolina. He became the youngest lifter in the world to complete a clean and jerk that was twice its body weight.
He lifted 227 lbs at the USA weightlifting national championships as a 14year old, breaking the American record.
#6 Maryana Naumova
Maryana was considered one of the world’s strongest girls in the bench press. She became the youngest girl in history to bench over 70kg at just 12 years old.
This was nearly 1.5 times her body weight. Her dad was a bodybuilder, something that inspired her into a career in weightlifting. She has several world records in weightlifting.
Strength training can become a valuable part of a child’s overall fitness plan as long as they are mature enough to follow directions and finish proper techniques.
The key for parents is to know how and when to let their children begin strength training to lower the risk of injury and long-term damage.
If your child wants to lift, you should first professional in your area. The current research indicates that resistance training can be a safe and effective activity for children and adolescents.
Justin Rodriguez has spent most of his adult life inspiring people to take their fitness more seriously. He is not new to the business of providing practical solutions for those looking to set and smash their fitness goals. From sharing professional tips and tricks to recommending awesome products, Justin Rodriguez helps just about anyone who wants to get the best out of their workout routines.Having gathered a lot of experience both in and outside the gym, Justin Rodriguez uses DSW Fitness as a medium to show you exactly how to get that great-looking body with toned muscles you’ve always wanted.