Tuesday, February 22, 2011 1:12 PM
Over the past decade, there has been a large increase in the number of pre-adolescent athletes participating in weight-training programs. In the past, weight lifting among pre-pubescent athletes was considered ineffective and dangerous for the growing athlete. Recent studies, however, suggest otherwise. While their muscles do not grow in response to weight training, pre-pubescent athletes can become stronger with weight lifting due to increased coordination and function of their neuromuscular system. These gains in strength may prevent injuries and do not appear to stunt growth. Most injuries that do occur during weight lifting are the result of improper technique, weights that are too heavy, and/or inadequate teaching or supervision.
Experts agree that most weightlifting injuries can be prevented with correct supervision by a trained adult.
Overall, strength training in children and adolescents can promote healthy habits and improve performance by improving coordination and motor skills. Self image, self esteem and bone health may be improved with strength training. Children and adolescents who participate in a strength training program should be supervised at all times. Prior to starting a program for a child or adolescent a health care professional such as a pediatrician should be consulted.
As always, it is important to check with your doctor before beginning a strength training program, particularly if you have significant medical problems or physical limitations.
Guy JA, Micheli LJ. Strength training for children and adolescents. J Am Acad Orthop Surg 2001;9(1):29-36.
Faigenbaum AD, Myer GD. Resistance training among young athletes: safety, efficacy and injury prevention effects. Br J Sports Med 2010;44:56-63.
1 comment(s) so far...
By mbmdan on
Monday, April 04, 2011 1:52 PM
Re: Ask the Doctor: Weight Training in Youngsters
Completely understand what your stance in this matter. Although I would disagree on some of the finer details, I think you did an awesome job explaining it. Sure beats having to research it on my own. Thanks
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