YOUTH WEIGHTLIFTING: Its time to debunk some myths!
MYTH: It’s dangerous to lift when you are young.
FACT: A properly structured weight training regimen is not only safe, but highly effective for both children and adolescents! Lifting has a wide range of benefits for youths, including increased bone density, increased energy levels, better sleep, and more coordination. Young athletes who weight train also experience a DECREASED risk of injury in other activities, as their bodies are stronger and better trained for the types of movements performed in sports.
MYTH: Lifting at a young age increases your risk of injury.
FACT: Young athletes who weight train actually experience a DECREASED risk of injury in other activities, as their bodies are stronger and better trained for the types of movements performed in sports. Much of this myth comes from athletes who do not receive proper instruction in weight training early in their career and therefore perform lifting exercises incorrectly (and unsafely). When movements are taught properly and executed safely, the benefits of strength training at a young age are indisputable.
MYTH: Lifting stunts your growth.
FACT: Lifting improves bone density and grow muscles – two vital pieces of the equation for a strong, healthy body as an adult. In addition, lifting helps young athletes maintain healthy weight, build better posture, and increase range of motion, all of which contribute to an overall healthy development into adulthood.
MYTH: Building muscle too young affects your development and will make young athletes “bulky”.
FACT: Pre-pubescent athletes are not in any danger of becoming “too bulky” via weightlifting as their bodies are not hormonally equipped! Instead, lifting as a young athlete will instead positively influence her body chemistry by affecting certain enzymatic functions and thereby increase resistance to diseases.
Adolescent athletes experiencing puberty are more likely to have the hormonal makeup to support higher levels of muscle growth, but a properly planned and executed training plan supplemented with solid nutrition will guide an athlete in the right direction without fear of overtraining.