The topic of teenagers doing strength training is relatively controversial in the health world. However, since the dawn of the new millennium there has been more research and evidence to prove that weight training can be extremely beneficial to teenagers and adolescence. Appropriately designed programing and supervision can provide a child with strength gains, stronger bones, increased athletic performance, decreases their risk for injury, and has the potential to have a great impact on their psychosocial well being. Child can benefit from strength training as early as 10 years old depending on their development and interest. However, there are common myths that impede teens from getting in the gym.
“Lifting weights stunts growing teenagers and damages their growth plates ”
If a teenage is injured from training, chances are that they had an unqualified instructor and/or a program that was not appropriate for their age. Currently, there is no evidence to support that lifting weights will damage growth plates (Faigenbaum, 2016). Participating in strength training can actually have a favorable influence in growth in any stage of development. However, it is the coach’s duty to minimize the risk of a program while maximizing the benefits.
“Teens will hurt themselves in the gym”
Any risk that is associated with weight training is no more than a child participating in sports or other activities (Faigenbaum, 2016). By attending regular strength training a child’s risk for injury in the gym or anywhere is significantly decreased. With age specific programing and appropriate supervision teenagers can greatly benefit from strength training.
“Young athletes do not need to be in the gym”
Strength training for young athletes can minimize the risk for injury in their sport; however, the reach of the benefits goes far beyond just sports. Strength training increases bone mineral density. This will help develop stronger bones and help offset the potential of osteoporosis (Faigenbaum, 2016). It can also help establish an interest in physical activity for children. As long as the program is made for the appropriate age group and is designed to help build an understanding the fundamentals of exercise techniques children will come out with a better understanding of their body and the joys of physical activity.
Take the time to look into the benefits of strength training that young athletes and non-athletes alike can achieve. Below are several links to studies that examined the benefits of strength training in children.
- Strength Training in Children and Adolescences
- Strength Training by Children and Adolescents Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness
- Youth Resistance Training: Updated Position Statement Paper from The National Strength and Conditioning Association
Wright Training offers Teen Strength and Conditioning class on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:15. A Teen Camp will also begin June 26th, if your child is interested in some of the benefits registration is available now! Click Here to sign up.