Quikashell asked in another thread for someone to explain the reasons why lifting does not stunt a child’s growth.
The following appeared on the Supertraining list several months ago:
Someone wrote elsewhere the following message about that age-old horror story
about weight training generally being dangerous for children and adolescents:
< If you look in the book “Designing Resistance Training Programmes” by Fleck
and Kraemer (published by Human Kinetics) there is a section about resistance training for children. It talks about the use of heavy weights and the stress placed on the epiphyseal plates during 1RM (which is definitely not advised for children or adolescents). >
Dr Mel Siff responds:
This is typical physical training mythology. It has never been shown scientifically or clinically that the periodic, non chronic imposition of large forces by weight training on the growing body causes damage to the epiphysial plates, though excessive impulsive loading over aprolonged period presumably may have this effect. It is extremely misleading to focus on the alleged risks of weight training on children when biomechanical research shows that simple daily activities such as running, jumping, striking or catching can impose far greater forces on the musculoskeletal system than very heavy weight training.
As a single example, compare the effects of running with squatting. Suppose that one child runs a few hundred metres a day in some or other sporting or recreational activities. This can easily involve several thousand foot strikes in which the reaction force imposed on the body can easily exceed 4 times bodyweight with every stride. Now let another child do a typical average weight training session with 3-5 sets of squats (say, with 10 reps, 8, 6 and 4 reps), with bodyweight or more for the last set. That bodyweight is divided between the two legs, so that the loading per leg is bodyweight or a little more, while the spine is subjected to the full load on the bar.
Normally, this exercise will be done no more than twice a week, while the
running child will do so every day.
It does not require much scientific knowledge or computational genius to see that the cumulative loading imposed by simple running activities on the lower
extremities and the spine is far greater than the cumulative load of two or three times a week weight training. Does this now mean that we are justified in recommending that children not be allowed to run, jump, throw or catch
because biomechanical research definitely shows that such activities can produce very large forces on many parts of the growing body?
Oh - I did not mention that the forces experienced by any youngster jumping
off a wall or roof (and many kids actually do this) can exceed eight times
bodyweight. There isn’t a human being on this planet who can manage a 1RM (1
rep maximum) which imposes forces that large on the body, yet many parents
and teachers militate against weights for children! Talk about selective
application of science and sports medicine!
Dr Mel C Siff