Saturday, March 15, 2008

Weight Training for Young Athletes

Coaches, athletes and parents often ask about the appropriateness of weight training for young athletes. Is it safe and effective? This is one area of youth sports where there seems to be a number of myths and considerable misinformation. The old story holds that weight lifting will stunt a child’s growth. This myth seems to have been arisen from a 1964 study showing that Japanese children who performed heavy labor tended to be shorter in stature than those who did not. However, the study did not examine other factors such as nutrition which may have affected growth. Also heavy labor is much different than a supervised weight training session. Today there is little reason to suspect that weight lifting as part of comprehensive training program would adversely affect a child’s growth. As it turns out, the overwhelming majority of research evidence indicates that weight lifting in young athletes can be very safe and is very effective in promoting strength, enhancing performance and reducing the risk of injury.

The papar linked below reviews the safety and effectiveness of weight training in children and adolescents. It also describes the benfits gained from resistance exercises and discusses the need for proper instruction and supervision.

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