Weight-Loss Wonders: Weight Training For Children
Chester J. Zelasko, Ph.D. | July 10, 2008

Many of you have children who want to train to get ready for sports, or on in increasing numbers, to lose weight. Several of you have wondered if lifting weights will stunt a child’s growth. The short answer is no, but that’s not why you read the Bulletin.

In research I participated in with the Youth Sports Institute at Michigan State University, high-intensity training did not appear to affect growth in young wrestlers and runners. In a recent review article, Dr. Robert Malina assessed the results of 22 reports on weight training in pre-pubertal children and adolescents. There were no reports that weight training exerted any negative effects on growth.

I think intensity is the key. Until testosterone kicks in, children can build strength without building size. Therefore, using lighter weights with more repetitions seems to be more beneficial than lifting heavy weights.

Weight lifting is beneficial for all children as they try to manage their body weight as well as developing strength and endurance for sport. Exercise tubes are ideal for this type of training. Get them out of the drawer, stop wondering, and start working out with your kids.

Reference: Malina RM. Weight training in youth--growth, maturation, and safety: an evidence-based review. Clin J Sport Med. 2006 Nov;16(6):478-87.
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