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Youth Weightlifting and Sports Performance

For years the common myth that many parents have been fed and having been feeding their children is that, "Weightlifting will stunt your growth".

While the damage to growth plates can cause a problem, it is most not to be seen within a GOOD gyms. Such damage is a result of poor programming and improper training however neither is inherent to training with weights.

Fuel has been given to this thought because of the sports natural selection process (Olympic Weightlifting & that of Gymnastics) which tends to favor shorts athletes because of the leverage systems of the body. However the same can be said of that of Basketball Players (I.E. the sport tends to favor taller individuals).

Some of the two most common argument(s) are that,

  • Weight training has been portrayed as ineffectual in improving strength in younger children, as hormonal response is largely absent in preadolescents
  • Injury rates with weight training are a continual source of concern and have been proposed as one of the major rationale for precluding children’s training with weights.

Research points to the loads, volumes, and durations similar to those commonly used in the training of competitive weightlifters to be effective in increasing strength in children. A program’s ability to increase strength appears to be more closely related to the intensity of training than on volume (duration) of training. High intensity programs have been shown to increase strength in preadolescents in 6 weeks or less (Mersch, 1989; Nielsen, 1980; Ozmun, 1991, Wescott, 1979).

Now some of the benefits of weightlifting are very obvious.

  • Strength and power increases with proper training in children
  • Neuromuscular coordination improvement in children has been linked to repetitive practice of the specific skill (regardless of the skill investigated).
  • Weight training is inclusive.

An indication of this relationship can be seen simply by comparing strength norms for the US youth population and performances of weightlifters competing at USA Weightlifting events, high school powerlifting events, and from scientific data demonstrating increases in vertical jump (a measure of power output) following weight training in children (Nielsen, 1980; Weltman, 1986).

How does one get started?

Ideally you would need a good coach to guide your child's progress. No matter what program that is selected, if the individuals is not properly trained then they can be out in a dangerous situation.

If you are serious about helping your child develop muscular strength and overall kinesthetic awareness then schedule a contact with us.

We would be happy to see how we could help him/her establish solid fundamental movement patterns for life!

See you in class,




Nielsen, B. et al. (1980). Training of “functional muscular strength” in girls 7-19 years old. In: K. Berg and B.D. Ericksson (Eds.). Children and Exercise IX. Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL

Wescott, W.L. (1979). Female response to weight training. J. Phys. Educ. 77: 31-33.

 Ozmun, J.C. et. al. (1991). Neuromuscular adaptations during prepubescent strength training. Med. Sci. Sprts Exerc. 23: S32 (abstract)

Mersch, F. and H. Stoboy (1989). Strength training and muscle hypertrophy in children. In: S. Oseid and K-H Carlsen (Eds.).Children and Exercise XIII. Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL.

Sewall, L. and L.J. Micheli (1986). Strength training for children. J. Ped. Orthop. 6: 143-146