I have posted many times over the years about the health benefits of resistance training for youth. I always support these kind of posts by citing scientific studies and papers. I do this because I want to provide something beyond just an opinion.
The received "wisdom" of the supposed ill effects of kids lifting weights which include, among other things, growth plate fractures and and stunted growth is still pervasive among parents and pediatricians. Given the amount of study given this topic over the years and the evidence supporting the benefits of lifting weights (for all age groups, by the way) anti-lifters are (this is my opinion) analogous to anti-vaccers.
This may be another one of those situations where presenting the facts won’t change minds. (Psychology Today, n.d.) One irony is weight training is orders of magnitude safer than most other sports helicopter parents let their children participate in. (Hamill, 1994) When you consider the high rates of injury in Youth Soccer, Little League and even Track and Field, you are also looking at a pediatric orthopedic surgeon's bread and butter (median salary: $425,000 a year) A second irony is that most of these injuries could be prevented by postponing sports specialization and including a greater variety of athletic activities including a well designed strength program. If you have a kid who is already committed to a sport, weight training is a great way to prevent injury and improve performance. (Faigenbaum & Myer, 2010)
Oh well. I’ll keep throwing it against the wall and maybe some of it will stick.
A compelling body of scientific evidence supports participation in appropriately designed youth resistance training programmes that are supervised and instructed by qualified professionals. The current article has added to previous position statements from medical and fitness organisations, and has outlined the health, fitness and performance benefits associated with this training for children and adolescents. In summarising this manuscript, it is proposed that:
- The use of resistance training by children and adolescents is supported on the proviso that qualified professionals design and supervise training programmes that are consistent with the needs, goals and abilities of younger populations.
- Parents, teachers, coaches and healthcare providers should recognise the potential health and fitness-related benefits of resistance exercise for all children and adolescents. Youth who do not participate in activities that enhance muscle strength and motor skills early in life may be at increased risk for negative health outcomes later in life.
- Appropriately designed resistance training programmes may reduce sports-related injuries, and should be viewed as an essential component of preparatory training programmes for aspiring young athletes.
- Regular participation in a variety of physical activities that include resistance training during childhood and adolescence can support and encourage participation in physical activity as an ongoing lifestyle choice later in life.
- Resistance training prescription should be based according to training age, motor skill competency, technical proficiency and existing strength levels. Qualified professionals should also consider the biological age and psychosocial maturity level of the child or adolescent.
- The focus of youth resistance training should be on develop- ing the technical skill and competency to perform a variety of resistance training exercises at the appropriate intensity and volume, while providing youth with an opportunity to participate in programmes that are safe, effective and enjoyable. (Lloyd et al., 2014)
- Faigenbaum, A. D., & Myer, G. D. (2010). Resistance training among young athletes: Safety, efficacy and injury prevention effects. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 44(1), 56–63. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2009.068098
- Hamill, B. P. (1994). Relative safety of weightlifting and weight training. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 8(1), 53–57.
- Lloyd, R. S., Faigenbaum, A. D., Stone, M. H., Oliver, J. L., Jeffreys, I., Moody, J. A., Brewer, C., Pierce, K. C., McCambridge, T. M., Howard, R., Herrington, L., Hainline, B., Micheli, L. J., Jaques, R., Kraemer, W. J., McBride, M. G., Best, T. M., Chu, D. A., Alvar, B. A., & Myer, G. D. (2014). Position statement on youth resistance training: The 2014 International Consensus. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(7), 498–505. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2013-092952
- Why people ignore facts. (n.d.). Psychology Today. Retrieved September 4, 2020, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/words-matter/201810/why-people-ignore-facts